Best Viewpoints in Edinburgh
November 30, 2023
Edinburgh offers many beautiful sites and viewpoints waiting to be discovered, in any season. We’ve highlighted some of our dearest spots in the city to snap a beautiful photo for your grid or soak in the stunning views of the city.
If you’re looking for more activities and sites to see in Old Town during your visit to Edinburgh, read our blog post on all the wonderful things to do on your trip.
Casting a comforting blanket over the city, Arthur’s Seat is an iconic peak in Edinburgh. Just ten minutes from the city centre, the popular walk is part of Holyrood Park and sees many hikers, both tourist and local, don their waterproofs and boots to enjoy a hike up the peak.
For keen ramblers, it’s not a challenging hike, and you can be up and down within an hour and a half if you have minimum stops along the way. The view from the top, however, is well worth every step. From the top, admire Edinburgh as you’ve never seen it before as it sprawls out before you in all its gothic glory. Cathedral spires, world-famous buildings and winding cobblestone streets offer an awe-inspiring view that will dazzle any visitor. Atop, it’s one of the best photo spots in Edinburgh.
Although a self-guided climb, the path to the top is very clear. You start from the Holyrood Park Road entrance, just along from the Commonwealth Pool. Head across the grass to the end of Salisbury Crags, where an obvious path goes through a low point in the cliffs. The start of the track up to Arthur's Seat is clear once you cross the Crags. If you’d like more information on the way, there are plenty of guided tours available!
No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a trip up Castle Hill and to Edinburgh Castle. Perched high on ancient volcanic rock, the castle is a symbol of Scotland's rich history and a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the beautiful city of Edinburgh. With its dramatic setting, captivating tales of battles and royalty, and stunning panoramic views of the city, Edinburgh Castle offers a unique and enchanting experience for visitors. Visitors can also expect museums, artefacts and some cafés for some light bites.
For those making the trip to the top of Castle Hill, why not make a day of it and make a reservation with us and enjoy fresh, local seafood and more in our two iconic dining rooms? Make it extra special and indulge in a stay in our suites with four-poster beds for the ultimate trip to the capital.
St Giles’ Cathedral
Visit this historic and beautiful chapel and enjoy the magnificent views of the city that are on offer. Nestled along the historic Royal Mile, St Giles' Cathedral stands as a testament to time, exuding a serene grandeur that's impossible to ignore. With centuries of history etched into its very stone, this iconic church in Edinburgh offers a journey into the past. Stepping inside, visitors are greeted by a visual feast of stunning stained glass windows and intricate architectural wonders. However, it's the charming secret 'green man' carvings hidden along the cathedral's ceiling that capture the imagination of many. But there's more to St Giles' than meets the eye.
This cathedral, often overlooked as a viewpoint, offers breathtaking vistas of the Royal Mile and the city beyond. During a guided tour, visitors can ascend to the roof and bell tower, providing a unique perspective of Edinburgh's Old Town. Just remember to cover your ears when the bell rings!
The Scott Monument
The Scott Monument, a colossal tribute to the renowned Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, is a towering masterpiece dating back to the mid-19th century. Standing at an impressive height of over 60 metres, this gothic marvel is not only one of the largest monuments in the world dedicated to a writer but also one of the city's most distinctive landmarks.
Often affectionately referred to as the 'Gothic rocket ship' by locals, its remarkable stature can be admired right in the heart of town, offering panoramic views from within the bustling city. To reach the summit and savour the scenery, visitors must ascend spiral stairs, which, at times, can feel a bit tight. While there's an affordable entry fee, the experience is undoubtedly worth every penny. Situated midway between Old Town and New Town, the Scott Monument promises both literary and architectural grandeur to those who venture to explore it.
More Beautiful Viewpoints in Edinburgh
The Nelson Monument is a revered Edinburgh landmark that pays homage to the legendary Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson and his triumph at the Battle of Trafalgar. Offering a remarkable blend of history and breathtaking views, this early 19th-century tower beckons explorers to ascend to its heights. From the vantage point of Calton Hill, the city unveils itself in all its splendour. As an extra treat, an observation platform stands ready to provide a bird’s eye view of the monument and its surroundings, making the journey to this iconic site an unmissable experience just north of Holyrood Park.
Blackford Hill provides a distinctive perspective on the city, offering a captivating view from its outskirts rather than its heart. Here, the cityscape sprawls out before you, revealing not just its grandeur but also neighbouring landmarks like Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill. This viewpoint is a favourite among outdoor enthusiasts who relish the journey as much as the destination. The hike to the summit, characterised by scenic vistas and a relatively easy path, takes around an hour and a half, making it a perfect adventure for those seeking a closer connection with nature. Blackford Hills is situated to the south of the city, near Greenbank.
Victoria Street has become an iconic spot in Edinburgh’s Old Town for shopping and snapping some wonderful photos. One of the highlights of Victoria Street is the myriad of unique stores that flank its narrow walkways. These establishments boast an array of eclectic merchandise, ranging from traditional Scottish crafts and souvenirs to modern, trendy fashion boutiques. Gift shopping becomes a delightful adventure, with each store showcasing a distinct personality, adding to the overall allure of the street.
For those with an appreciation for the past, Victoria Street offers a treasure trove of antiques and vintage finds. Antique shops with their charming window displays invite collectors and history enthusiasts to peruse a curated selection of artefacts, from classic furniture to nostalgic trinkets. Each piece tells a story, adding another layer to the rich tapestry of Edinburgh's history.
Nestled along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh, Dean Village is a hidden gem offering a tranquil escape. The 19th-century buildings, remnants of its industrial past, and the riverside setting create a charming atmosphere. Cobblestone streets, quaint cottages, and the Dean Bridge add to its timeless appeal.
Dean Village's connection to the Water of Leith provides a serene ambience, making it a peaceful retreat just a short walk from the city centre. With a mix of history and nature, the village offers a scenic path along the Water of Leith Walkway for walkers and cyclists.
Where is the best view of Edinburgh?
It comes as no surprise that Arthur’s Seat offers the best views in Edinburgh. Not only does the hike make for a refreshing day out but the views from the top are well worth the effort.
Where is the highest point in Edinburgh?
The ancient dormant volcano, Holyrood Park, is Edinburgh’s highest peak at 823 ft (251 m) tall. Arthur’s Seat is a part of these hills and stands as its most famous and vital peak.
What is the most beautiful street in Edinburgh?
Circus Lane is genuinely considered to be the most beautiful street in Edinburgh. The curved street is dubbed an extension of New Town and is as pretty as it gets in the city. With its picturesque winding street, it’s a must for those hoping to take advantage of the city’s many gorgeous spots for photo ops.
What is the famous viewpoint in Edinburgh?
Once again, Arthur’s Seat offers the best views across the city from orange sunrises to salmon sunsets with a panoramic view of the whole city as it comes to life below you.
What is the most colourful street in Edinburgh?
For those looking for the chance to snap some pretty pictures, Victoria Street is the place to be. Not only is the street dotted with interesting and charming stores, but it’s also the perfect place to explore the beauty of Edinburgh. Located in Old Town, it makes a wonderful place for a stroll, in any season. Read our blog post all about how to enjoy Edinburgh on rainy days for more inspiration.
What is the famous hill overlooking Edinburgh?
The famous hill is named Arthur’s Seat and is a popular spot for the perfect view over the city. Our sister property, Prestonfield House, can be seen from the top of the climb.
Where are the colourful houses in Edinburgh?
A vibrant street in Edinburgh, Victoria Street is the city’s most eye-catching street and is painted in various colours. The stores that line the street are charming and unique and give you the chance to explore every nook and cranny of the city. Victoria Street is located in the beautiful Old Town area of Edinburgh.
What is the most historic street in Edinburgh?
The Royal Mile is considered the most historic street in Edinburgh and is a popular spot for tourists. Its name comes from the two royal residences located at either end of the street, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, and its length, which is approximately one Scottish mile.
Along this street, you can find many historic closes, iconic restaurants and hotels, including The Witchery, where we stand as esteemed neighbours to Edinburgh Castle.