It’s getting to that time of year again, when you might feel like you are just living in the library. It can do your head such good, however, to get out and get some fresh air. I love the Meadows, but if you find yourself getting bored of it, as you walk up and down Jawbone Walk four times a day, there are plenty greater green spaces to try in Edinburgh. It is, after all, the greenest city in the UK!
Holyrood Park is only a short walk from campus and is one of the largest areas of greenery in Edinburgh. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb Arthur’s Seat for the fantastic view. However, the road around the Seat is an easier walk and scenic. You still get a gorgeous view, but you will also pass some lovely lochs where if you’re lucky, you’ll spot an otter. You can even get yourself an ice cream from the little van near the car park.
Princes St Gardens
Princes St Gardens is the perfect place in Edinburgh to relax. It is a quiet haven right in the busiest part of town. Ross Fountain, found in the west of the gardens, was restored to its full glory in 2018 and is one of my favourite local landmarks. Its cast iron frame is a bright turquoise blue and intricately decorated with gold in a classical style. Why not sit with your back to Princes Street watching the water flow through it with the splendid backdrop of Edinburgh Castle behind?
The Union Canal
Starting just off Tollcross, the canal is a perfect place for a walk or cycle. Wander past beautifully decorated boats, one of which you can even get a smoothie from. Stretching all the way to Falkirk if you’re a cyclist or a long-distance runner, the canal provides a flat path along a route that just gets greener and greener after the first kilometre.
The Botanical Gardens
Edinburgh’s botanical gardens are the furthest location on this list but well worth the walk. The gardens are beautiful at all times of the year but are at their best in the summer. Yet when the nights are at their darkest in December, the Christmas light show will delight you. The £20 ticket can seem quite pricy, but it is well worth seeing once in your time at uni and can make the perfect date-night. Don’t ignore Inverleith park on your way to the gardens. It is open all year and is centred around a gorgeous pond with swans.
My favourite spot in Edinburgh, however, is Blackford Hill. The walk up is steep but short and unlike Arthur’s Seat, the top isn’t teaming with tourists. It wins the award for the best view in Edinburgh in my books as you can see everything from the sea to St Giles’ Cathedral to Arthur’s Seat (you can probably even spot your flat if you live near central campus). One of my favourite memories of second year was climbing it with my friends to watch the sunset with some tinnies. The city was painted in a golden gaze and had never looked better.
Photo Credit: image provided to The Student by Eden Kersse, used with permission