With a mix of rolling hills just outside the city, and a range of tourist attractions within, Edinburgh has all the ingredients for a perfect walking holiday. And here are the places we’re sure will get you the most excited to pull on your walking boots.
You don’t even have to leave the city to summit an actual volcano, even if it is admittedly dormant. Arthur’s Seat is one of the peaks that make up Holyrood Park. Approach from the east for the easiest ascent, past Dunsapie Loch, and enjoy spectacular views over the Scottish capital from the top. Combine it with a one-mile hike to Edinburgh Castle to appreciate impressive architecture and a history lesson to boot.
Where to stay: The city has an array of places to stay to suit all budget, just be sure to book ahead especially during the summer.
Pentland Hills Regional Park
About half an hour’s drive south of Edinburgh you will discover an area of rolling peaks boasting 100km of walking trails and routes – the Pentland Hills. As well as a variety of paths waymarked by the Natural Heritage Service for the more seasoned hiker, you’ll find a selection of shorter, circular routes that also take in the best bits of scenery, such as the Great Glen Mystery (2.7 miles) and the Harlaw Woodland Walk (2 miles).
Where to stay: There’s still time to get back to the city centre, but there are a couple of select bed and breakfasts in the immediate area such as Braidwood Farm and Patieshill Farmhouse.
Just under 50 minutes west from the city centre is the town of Bathgate, an ideal starting point for a day hill hiking and exploring the deep valleys left behind by seismic movement that dates back 330 million years. One such peak, Petershill is now a nature reserve that’s ripe with wildlife, while further out, Cairnpapple Hill was once a burial mound and site of Bronze Age rituals.
Where to stay: The Gables is a small and comfortable guest house in Bathgate that promises to leave visitors refreshed after a long day in the hills.
Perhaps the most famous of Scotland’s lochs is located just two hours from Edinburgh’s busy city streets. Easily reached via the M9 or A811 the “bonnie banks” are perfect for a tranquil stroll, with picturesque villages to discover along the way that provide bed and board throughout the year.
Where to stay: The Lodge on Loch Lomond provides a stunning view of the waters, and that it is in ever-increasing demand as a quaint wedding venue speaks volumes.
Whether you are a high-energy rambler, general moocher or simple stroller, judging by the number of trails in and around Scotland’s capital it’s well worth hiring a car in Edinburgh and getting out to explore.