Just in time for the weekend, the end of National Picnic week and what seems like a mini heatwave hitting the city, I give you – The Best Picnic Spots in Edinburgh.
Now, Edinburgh isn’t short of a green space or two, it has the most green spaces of any UK city, there are some fantastic spots throughout Edinburgh that are just perfect for a picnic. So, grab your blanket and your favourite sandwiches and off we go!
Starbank Park One of my favourites, Starbank park. A little hidden nook just 15 mins from the city centre in Newhaven. It’s filled with blossom tree’s in the spring, gorgeous flowers in the summer and a view of the sea at all times. It’s looked after by Friends of Starbank park and even if you aren’t picnicking, its one to visit! Tip: There’s a borrow book library for kids and adults, as well as a fairy garden, bring something you’ve already read to swap.
Princes Street Gardens Some say the grass in Princes street gardens is so luscious, because it was once the Nor Loch. The gardens are split into and run the length of Princes Street. It’s what separates old town from the new and is the perfect place to set up a picnic for the afternoon. Tip: There are public toilets on sight, a cafe and a park for the kids.
Inverleith Park Situated right next to the Botanical Gardens, Inverleith Park is a huge open area, with football pitches, an allotment and a great space to sit for a few hours. There’s ponds and a boardwalk, it even has a view of the Castle. You can visit the swans, take a wander or just sit and enjoy the views. Tip: There’s a tennis court, so if you have some bats take them along and have a friendly tournament.
Arthur’s Seat & Holyrood Park Arthurs Seat a bit of a hike but SO worth the climb for the views of the city. You can see views of Edinburgh Castle and it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset on a summer evening. Tip: If you are climbing with kids, the Salisbury Crags area is MUCH easier to climb than Arthur’s Seat itself.
Botanical Gardens One of Edinburgh’s most beautiful green spaces the Botanical Gardens, 72 acres of gorgeous plants, a greenhouse and a duck pond. It’s home to one of the largest plant collections on earth. It’s one of our favourite days out with the kids, you can spend the entire day there and still not get around the entire gardens. Tip: There’s a brilliant little gift shop filled with fun nature products and you can buy squirrel food to feed your wee pals on the way round.
The Meadows During the months of April & May the Meadows bloom. The blossom tree’s line the park and pops of pink are hard to miss. There’s a coffee & ice cream van and so much space for the family to run around. You can bring a BBQ and make an entire day of it. Tip: There’s public toilets on site for the kids.
Portobello Beach Beach picnics are some of the best kind. You can roll up first thing in the morning, have a dip in the sea (hello freezing Scottish water), set up camp and spend the whole day on the beach. You can pack a picnic in a cool bag, grab ice cream from the van and enjoy the entire day by the sea. Perfect. You can picnic in the winter too, with a flask of hot chocolate! Tip: Liquid talc takes sand off feet better than anything I’ve found.
Dunbar’s Close You’d never know it was there unless you really looked. What seem’s like a tiny close like the others, actually keeps a secret garden, hidden in plain sight. Filled with ‘pocket garden’s’ you’ll be able to find a cosy wee nook to have a spot of lunch, read a book and enjoy the gorgeous flowers! Tip: Check opening times before visiting, there’s a locked gate and opening times vary during seasons.
Lauriston Castle Delightful historical grounds, close to Crammond beach. Lauriston Castle is a 16th Century tower house that overlooks the Firth of Forth. It’s free to visit and you can not only wander the grounds, but visit inside the castle too. Get up early, wander the Japanese gardens and stop for your picnic with a beautiful view. Tip: There’s a cupcake shop on the grounds. You are welcome.
Calton Hill Windy and a work out for the legs, but worth it! Calton hill has beautiful views of the city and is one of the BEST spots in the city for a sunset. Take a wander round before you settle, there’s some brilliant historical information dotted around the area. Then sit back and enjoy the view! Tip: There’s a free gallery at the top, worth a pop in.
Saughton Park & Gardens Blooms in the summer and is a perfect wee spot that’s quite often overlooked. Playparks, orchards and a skatepark, it’s a perfect day out to suit a family with kids all ages. You can even spot bats, birds, otters and butterflies! Tip: Don’t forget to visit the Winter Garden’s.
Blackford Hill A wee walk from Morningside, a quick stop for some bread and cheese at JI Mellis then you can take a hike up Blackford Hill. One of Edinburgh’s 7 hills, it’s a given that it has incredible views! There’s a cafe close for a treat or two. Enjoy! Tip: Take some water, it’s a good hike.
St Andrew’s Square This is one of those spots right in the middle of a busy city that makes you forget you are in one. It’s got some gorgeous flowers, the blooms in spring are stunning and is a busy little walkthrough for shoppers. But, it’s framed by a fence and is a great spot to sit with kids, it’s enclosed so you know they aren’t going far! Tip: There’s a coffee shop in the park.
Dalkeith Country Park 1,000 acres to choose from, an adventure park and a cafe to get a good cup of tea. While this one technically isn’t Edinburgh centre, it’s not far. Bluebell season is something else and you can make an entire day of it on the grounds.