The Best Views in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, is always high on the list of beautiful cities around the world and it is no wonder why. The breath-taking skyline takes in the towering Edinburgh Castle, the ancient volcanic Arthur’s Seat, jarring architecture of the UNESCO heritage sites of the New and Old Towns and the sweeping Pentland Hills off to the south. Edinburgh is a photographer’s dream and we’d like to give you some tips on where to go to capture the best views of the city during your visit.

Calton Hill
The Scottish Seabird Centre offers a number of boat trips out to the Bass Rock and other neighbouring islands to explore the vast array of seabirds that call the area home. Puffins are a highlight and can be seen from April through to August. The long list of seabirds resident in the area include cormorants, guillemots and razorbills. These boat trips are a must for anyone with an interest in wildlife, the scenery is spectacular too.
Blackford Hill
Standing at 538 feet, this hill lies between the residential areas of Morningside and Braid Hills to the south of the city. Looking north you will see Edinburgh sprawling out in front of you and across to Fife, to the south are dramatic views of the Pentland Hills. There are plenty of paths which make this a great walking route, a little off the beaten track.
Costorphine Hill
This woodland hill offers a relaxing, peaceful walk to the north east of the city in the quiet suburb of Corstorphine. Look out for the zebras as one path snakes behind the zoo! The ‘rest and be thankful’ viewpoint offers a spectacular tree lined view across Murrayfield Golf Course and Arthur’s Seat in the distance. At the top of the hill stands Corstorphine Hill Tower, a memorial to Sir Walter Scott.
Pentland Hills
A range of hills stretching for around 20 miles south west of Edinbrugh, this is a great place to get out into the open air. There are a range of different walks available from short two mile strolls to lengthy hikes over the many peaks. Breath taking views are guaranteed no matter what length of walk you decide to take. You will be able to see the entire expanse of Edinburgh, the famous Forth Railway Bridge to the west and south into the Scottish Borders. Midlothian Snowsports Centre (formerly Hillend Ski Centre) lies on these hills if you fancy skiing on the dry slopes while taking in the views.
Arthur's Seat
The most iconic part of Edinburgh’s skyline (apart from the castle) is this extinct volcano. This 250m high ‘mountain’ in the middle of the capital city is relatively easy to climb and a very popular activity for tourists. Once you reach the peak you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views of Edinburgh. An uninterrupted 360⁰ vista, it’s the ideal opportunity for those sweeping city shots as well as a selfie or two.

Food with a view

All that walking and fresh air will help build up an appetite.  There are some places to fuel up that offer spectacular views across the city as you dine.

The Forth Floor Restaurant
The Forth Floor at Harvey Nichols comprises of a high quality brasserie, restaurant, bar and chocolate bar and as the name suggests, offers phenomenal views across the Forth.
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Chaopraya is a Thai restaurant on Castle Street which boasts excellent views of the castle as you dine from its perch on the fourth floor.
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A place to relax

After a day of hiking around and taking in glorious views of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, you will want somewhere welcoming and comfortable to relax for the night. Edinburgh First offer two great hotels and some superb self-catered apartments that are perfect for any stay in Scotland’s capital.

Located in peaceful landscaped grounds adjoining Holyrood Park (in the shadows of Arthur’s Seat) is Salisbury Green Hotel and Bistro. You can choose between the recently refurbished rooms of Masson House or the more traditional 18th Century Mansion House next door. This hotel is within easy walking distance of the Old Town and the city’s other major attractions.

KM Central boasts modern and stylish rooms, perfect for relaxing after a day of fresh air and walking. Based even closer to the centre of town with Princes Street and the Royal Mile just a short walk away this is an ideal hotel for any sightseeing trip.

Next door to KM Central are our Richmond Place Apartments offering studio and one-bed apartments. Perfect for longer stays, they offer more space, freedom and flexibility than a hotel.

Our recommendations combine great walks, fresh air and wide landscaped views but walking around the Old and New Towns can also provide some fascinating photographic opportunities that you will not want to miss. The history, the architecture and the surrounding landscape make Edinburgh a dream destination for any keen photographer.