The beautiful scenery both in and around Edinburgh make it the perfect place to explore on foot.
The heart of the city, a World Heritage Site, is packed with fascinating buildings and a remarkable history. The famous castle sits proud on its rock at the top of the Old Town, a warren of medieval streets and alleyways sweeping down to the Scottish Parliament. At the foot of the Royal Mile sits Holyrood Palace, an oasis of green space encircled by the city and surely one of the most dramatic city parks in the world with the mini-mountain of Arthur's Seat at its heart.
No visit to Scotland's capital is complete without an attempt at scaling the imposing, iconic Arthur's Seat. It may look like a challenge, but the climb is straightforward, depending on what route you take. However, the summit is rocky, requiring the odd scramble and particularly exposed to the wind. In winter the last stretch to the top can be a serious proposition in snow and ice, so content yourself with a stroll around the lower levels of the park. The views from the top stretch from Bass Rock to the east, the Moorfoot Hills to the south, Ben Lomond to the west and the peak of Schiehallion to the north. An alternative is to make the traverse of Salisbury Crags, with rock formations that exude a real sense of the prehistoric. On the southeast side of the park, Duddingston Loch is home to wildfowl and a colony of grey herons that nest on specially-constructed platforms in the trees. Take a circular route around the water via the tranquil Innocent Railway Path and the particularly picturesque village of Duddingston. Established in 1360, the village hostelry, The Sheep's Heid Inn, is Scotland's oldest surviving public house.
Back in the centre of town, the superb Georgian architecture of the New Town and its surrounding districts is the largest concentration of Georgian buildings in the world. Surrounding areas such as Stockbridge and Dean Village are well worth exploring, as is the revitalised Port of Leith. The Water of Leith walkway reveals a cross-section of the entire city, whilst the suburban hills such as Corstorphine, Blackford and the Braids provide superb skylines looking back into the heart of this remarkable city.
Take a stroll along part of the 35-mile route which runs beside the Union Canal in Edinburgh to West Lothian and demonstrates Scotland's rich industrial heritage. This fascinating walk will allow you to take in engineering marvels such as aqueducts including the Slateford Aqueduct which takes the canal over the Water of Leith in Edinburgh, the Almond Aqueduct near Ratho and the 810 ft. long Avon Aqueduct near Linlithgow, the second longest in the United Kingdom. Engineering enthusiasts will also appreciate tunnels, viaducts and bridges encountered along the way. Follow the path out of the city and you will be rewarded with the sight of the beautiful West Lothian countryside. The Union Canal walk also offers a great opportunity to enjoy the tranquil setting of the canal and the wildlife such as herons and kingfishers which make the canal their home.
Further afield in North Berwick
Discover hidden beaches on a walk with lovely coastal scenery in East Lothian, only a short distance from Edinburgh. The charming old seaside town of North Berwick in East Lothian is a lovely place to enjoy an ice cream, a round of golf on the putting green and a doze of sunshine on a sandy beach. But don't get too relaxed - there's a hill to climb. At 613 ft high, volcanic North Berwick Law is a brisk climb with the reward of great views across East Lothian and over to the Kingdom of Fife. Strike out along the coast into a wonderful world of sandy beaches, rocky islets and sandstone cliffs, habited by seabirds. You'll pass by the Glen Golf Club, where you should pause to watch the action at one particularly picturesque hole which involves (hopefully) landing on a green right beside a beach. Further round the coast is the isolated Seacliff beach, which is revered as one of Scotland's hidden gems. Accessed either on foot along the coast, or down a winding track through woods, you'll really feel like you've escaped the hustle and bustle of life. Seabirds wheel above and the surf crashes in over islands and jagged rocks. Just beyond Seacliff is mighty Tantallon Castle, situated in an imposing strategic position on the cliffs looking out over the waves to Bass Rock and the Isle of May. You may encounter the odd horse rider trotting along the tideline, or you may have the place to yourself - just you, the sand, the sea, the sky and hopefully, the sun.