5 best hill walks in and around Edinburgh

If you’re keen to get some fresh air and exercise while on holidays in Scotland, head to Edinburgh.

The Scottish capital has become a popular destination for city breaks as it is home to a range of world-class cultural institutions and shopping facilities, the city and its surrounding areas also provide plenty of opportunity to go hill walking. Read on to find more about the best places to go on walking holidays in Edinburgh.

The city’s historic architecture has seen it bestowed the nickname of the Athens of the north and going on a walk through Edinburgh’s Old Town district could be the best way to find out how it received such an accolade.

Taking this route sees you follow the Royal Mile and incorporates some of Edinburgh’s most well-known sights. At a distance of 3.5 kilometres, the walk can be completed in less than 90 minutes, although you may find it takes longer due to the many captivating things there are to distract you!

Start by leaving Waverley – the city’s main train station – and turning left on to the Royal Mile. As you walk you will uncover Edinburgh’s most famous attractions on your way, including the Camera Obscura and the National Museum of Scotland.

You will also come across the forecourt area in front of Edinburgh Castle, which is used as the location of the annual Military Tattoo.

Finishing near the City Art Centre on Market Street, just a short distance from the starting point at Waverley, the urban walk should be suitable for most travellers. However, many parts of the Old Town are steep and as the route involves a height gain of 86 metres, you may want to stop off at a cafe halfway for a breather and bite to eat.

Alternatively, why not trek through the Blackford and Braid hills? Starting from the Morningside district of Edinburgh, the seven kilometre route sees you walk through the Hermitage of Braid woodland.

The path consists of a steady upward climb along the Howe Dean Path to Braid Hills, where upon reaching the highest peak you’ll be afforded fantastic views of the city. With a height gain of 250 metres, the walk is ideal for experienced hikers and after reaching the summit you will go on a steep and sudden descent before arriving back at Morningside. It should take you around two hours and 30 minutes to complete.

Rail enthusiasts may want follow the Innocent Railway Path, which runs from Holyrood Road in the Old Town out to Musselburgh, east Lothian. Starting at the historic Engine Shed, which contains a cafe and bakery, you then walk along the Tunnel that was one of Scotland’s earliest railways. The Edinburgh-Dalkeith route was known as the Innocent as its trains were drawn by horses, as opposed to steam engines, which were quite dangerous at the time.

The path takes you past the Duddingston Loch, Brunstane Burn Community Woodland and the Newhailes House owned by the National Trust for Scotland. After viewing the historic home, you can retrace your steps back to the city centre or head to Brunstane Station to take the train to Waverley.

You can also walk up Corstorphine Hill, named after the suburb of the same name. While the lower slopes largely contains residential properties, as you ascend you will walk through a greater amount of forestry. At the summit you will find Barnton Quarry – which was the site of a Cold War nuclear bunker – and a tower dedicated to novelist Sir Walter Scott.

Whatever time of year you visit Edinburgh, make sure you go for a walk in Pentland Hills Regional Park. With a number of routes to choose there will be something for everyone.

And if you love nature take the Glencorse View walk, which begins at the Flotterstone Visitor Centre. From here, follow the heron-marked posts down to Glencorse reservoir and keep an eye out from some fantastic bird life on the way.


Outdoor Clothing You Might Need

It gets quite chilly when it comes to Scotland (especially in the winter time). This means that to ensure you enjoy your walk you’re going to have to wrap up really well. The list below will highlight some of the things you’ll need to consider at your next hill walk in Scotland.

Waterproof Jackets

Waterproof jackets may be an obvious one but they really do help to keep you dry and warm. Besides that, there is no reason why you can’t stack extra layers underneath while the jacket keeps you warm. As a tip you should find jackets with Gore Tex as it’s one of the most advanced technology in the outdoor niche. Check out some of Berghaus’ waterproof jackets if you’re looking for some reliable gear.

Walking Boots

Walking around Scotland with wet feet isn’t the most appealing thought on the planet. These Berghaus walking boots are a good place to start if you’re looking to get some suede or Gore Tex materials.