Holyrood Park was originally a royal hunting estate and is most famous for being the home of the natural rock formation known as Arthur’s Seat, which is shaped like a crouching lion.
The park is also home to the Salisbury Crags (a series of cliffs) and three lochs. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk if you want to escape the city of Edinburgh and you can download a leaflet featuring a number of walking routes from the web site below.
Green idyll below the bustle of the city centre. Benches, nooks and little havens for reading and relaxing, and the greenhouses for when the weather's not so friendly.
Good tablet in the shop at the main gate too.
Queen Mother's memorial is spectacularly kitsch - walk into the little stone hut and look up. You'll wonder why anybody thought that was a good idea...
No visit to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to the top of Arthur's Seat - the large volcanic hill in the centre of town.
The views are amazing. Sturdy shoes are a must.
While there make sure you go on a pilgrimage to Hutton's section, the place where one of the great heroes of the enlightenment, geologist James Hutton, deduced in the 18th century that the world must in fact be millions of years old: "there is no vestige of a beginning nor prospect of an end".
On the coast south of Edinburgh, the beaches of East Lothian are wonderful. Choose from Aberlady Nature Reserve (bird watching), Gullane (also good for golf), Yellowcraigs, Tyninghame and the John Muir Country Park at Dunbar. Lovely dunes, yellow sand, interesting bird life and lovely small villages and towns with excellent coffee shops and home baking!
The main East coast rail line runs through East Lothian.
To get out of the city (though not necessarily away from the crowds on a hot day!), head to Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside. The sandy beach, with a promenade, is about a mile long, clean, and reasonably wide when the tide is out. The bustling High Street has various cafes and pubs, and the Dalriada pub on the prom has a beer garden looking out to sea.
The High Street is served by bus no. 26 from city centre, then head for the shore;
Dalriada: 77 The Promenade, Portobello;
tel: 0131 454 4500;
Make a stop at the Scott's Deli en route to the Meadows Walk. It's a simple deli - top value snacks, cheap and fresh coffee - smiling staff and an array of fresh pastries til' late on in the day. That do not come from a chain shop.
10, Gillespie Place, EH10 4HS (by Bruntsfield Place, opposite pitch & putt links course and next to The Meadows;
tel: 0131 228 5200
Take an al fresco jaunt with chilled drinking vessels to The Meadows. Get great views of the city skyline on raised grassy knolls where beer and good company can enjoy the respite in Scottish summer weather - welcome global warming (just kidding)!
It’s a popular and well-known area of green in the centre-south of the city - 5 minutes from the George IV Bridge and student area – a 10 minute walk from Princes Street.
From outside the Dean Gallery looks like what it used to be: a hospital. Not the orphan hospital it actually was, but more a retreat for Victorian gents with gout, set as it is in opulent grounds. But it’s all about the beauty on the inside. Surrealist art (including works by Dali and Man Ray), a recreation of Sir Eduardo Paolozzi’s haphazard studio, a shop packed with fascinating books, and a buzzing café in which locals and visitors share their love of art over steaming cups, all combine to make it an unusually vibrant gallery experience.
Not quite so lively is the Dean Cemetery, located at the side of the gallery. But it’s still wonderful to stroll through the trees and read the names of forgotten scholars and captains of industry on mossy mausoleums and gravestones.
Old and new melted into one another. Dali might have liked it.
The Dean Gallery it located directly opposite the National Gallery of Modern Art, Belford Road, Lothian. Number 13 Bus from Georges Street; entry is free; www.natgalscot.ac.uk
Whilst the gardens are free, and it’s a pleasure to walk in the huge park overlooking the Firth of Forth, the castle is by guided tour only. However, there are also arts events organised in the castle. It is a really nice and relaxing place with astonishing views.
There is also a restaurant at the back of Lauriston Park called Lauriston Farm, which is run by Brewer's Fayre, so the meals are pretty low priced and the quality is OK, though the menu is a bit mainstream. Pub is quite child friendly, and has a nice beer garden and huge parking space.
It is also situated near the famous seaside promenade by Cramond, and near the community golf course. Lots of sheep and cows in the fields, too.
Lauriston Castle. 2a Cramond Road South, Edinburgh, EH4 5QD; tel: 0131 336 2060;
For more information see: www.information-britain.co.uk/showPlace.cfm?Place_ID=740;
For pictures see: www.flickr.com/photos/idleberry/sets/72057594130404977/
A hidden formal garden with little box hedges, herbs and stone benches. It’s just opened to the public. A lovely place to chill out and eat a sandwich on your way down from the castle to Holyrood.
On the left-hand side of Cannongate as you walk down towards Holyrood, about halfway down the Royal Mile;
Nearest station: Waverley
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