Edinburgh is one of those places that is not only stunning during any season, its full of magic. You can wander the streets that inspired Harry Potter, you can climb an extinct volcano or go deep underground through the haunted closes’s of the old town.
I get asked a lot about the best spots in Edinburgh to visit, so I’ve put together a list of my favourite spots for those amazing instagram shots you see on @MyLittleEdinburgh. All the hidden nooks and wee gems around the city. Get your camera ready…
Few wee tips:
*If you want quieter shots you’ll need to get up a little earlier. Edinburgh starts to come alive with locals and tourists from 8am.
*If you don’t like the Scottish weather, wait 30 minutes, and it’s likely to change. – Raymond Bonner. ALWAYS carry a brolly or some kind of waterproof. Edinburgh can give you blazing sunshine and within a few minutes the skies can go dark and you can find yourself soaking wet and looking for a cafe for a little shelter.
*Wear comfortable footwear. A lot of Edinburgh is up hills, or steps and the place is covered in cobbles, so wearing something sensible is a must.
*If you plan on doing a couple of self portraits or family shots I highly suggest wearing something bright, in reds or yellows if you want to stand out against the historic buildings.
Dean Village is a must see if you get a chance to visit Edinburgh. It’s one of those spots in the middle of the city that feels like you are somewhere else. It’s just 5 minutes from Princess Street and is a scenic walk along the Water of Leith to the picturesque village and you no longer hear the sound of the traffic from the city.
A sweet little lane just off Stockbridge’s main street, filled with foliage, a lovely row of Mews and cobbles. It’s an instagrammers dream and probably one of the most photographed streets in Edinburgh. It only takes a few minutes to walk through and if you wait a few minutes you are almost guarenteed an empty shot. It’s beautiful all year, full of flowers in the spring and foliage in the autumn.
If you ever wanted a beautiful view of Edinburgh, this is one of the spots. It’s the perfect spot to watch sunset and you get one of the best views the city has to offer. Calton Hill over looks most of Edinburgh and gives you a stunning view of Arthurs’s Seat. You can see the Old Observatory House, and the City Observatory when you reach the top, as well as the Acropolis which is an unfinished monument initiated in 1816 a year after Napoleons defeat at Waterloo, and also Nelson’s Monument.
The Vennel – meaning ‘little street’ is little staircase hidden on the Grassmarket takes you to Lauriston Place. Tucked away by Marys Milk Bar, if you make your way up all the steps you are treated to one of the loveliest views of Edinburgh Castle herself. It’s a treat to visit during every season.
One for the Harry Potter fans, Victoria Street is JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley. A row of colourful buildings down a winding cobble street. You’ll find rows independent shops down an elegant curve, it’s several centuries of architecture mixed into one with each shop displaying a different colour of facade. The top leads straight to the Royal Mile and the bottom to the Grassmarket.
The Royal Mile
Bit of a given right? The Royal Mile is the heart of Edinburgh and connects the Castle and Arthurs Seat. But, off the Royal Mile you have some of the best little nooks. The Royal mile itself is bustling with tourists, Scottish themed shops and every wee close has a little magic tucked away behind it. You’ll find John Knox house, The Tollbooth Tavern and other delightful stops along your way along the cobbles.
Another little winding street just off the Royal Mile, with sweet independent shops and cafes, leads you straight to the Waverly Station. Home to one of my favourite cafes – The Milkman, its a little treat to wander and take a few shots.
Chessels Court A heart made from ivy on the wall, white bricks and looks beautiful in any season, it’s a little corner of an instagram dream. Chessels Court is another gem just off the Royal Mile and makes for a sweet photo stop along the way.
Just a tiny enclosed courtyard at the bottom of the Royal Mile filled with sweet houses, yellow doors and plants. It’s not a well known spot, a wee hidden gem, but deserves to be on the list, it’s barely visited by tourists because it’s so well hidden.
Arthur’s Seat & Sailsbury Crags Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano that sits in the middle of Holyrood park at the foot of the Royal Mile. Climbing to the top is a bit of a workout but when you get there you get a 360° view of Edinburgh that will take your breath away as soon as you’ve caught it.
The Writers Museum Just off the Royal Mile you’ll find this little spot within Lady Stairs Close. Inside the museum is free to visit and you’ll find a collection of works, portraits and personal objects belonging to 3 of Scotlands greatest literary figures; Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.
Visiting early in the morning is always best if you’d like a clear shot with the lampost, it’s a favourite of ours to stop for a snack!
New College | The Edinburgh University Right next door to The Writers Museum and straight out of a Harry Potter novel, this little bit of Edinburgh always gets overlooked but is such a dramatic and beautiful space. It was established in 1843 and is ranked in the world’s top 20 universities for theology, divinity and religious studies.
*It’s worth noting that the college gates are only open week days, so if you visit over the weekend it will be closed.*
Just off the Grassmarket this is another little hidden gem. I quaint little book store with skewing bookcases and smells like a vintage bookshop should. It’s like a little magical maze when you go inside and you could spend hours browsing the shelves.
We ended up leaving with a handful of books for the kids and could have spent much longer just wandering around finding little lost gems.
I realise I said 10 and actually shared 13 but there are so many spots you just can’t miss! I love a wandering around Edinburgh and I hope you’ve loved this little tour too, I can’t wait to share more with you over on @mylittlewildlings Instagram when lockdown here in Scotland ends! You can also follow my Edinburgh Instagram @MyLittleEdinburgh too.