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Walk Edinburgh’s 7 Hills this Winter

Sunday 24 September 2023

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Did you know that Edinburgh, like the city of Rome, is said to have been built on seven hills? Though locals still debate which particular hills this refers to, as Edinburgh has more than seven, it is clear that Edinburgh is a hiker’s paradise. Getting to know the city means getting to know its hills, so CrossCountry has put together a guide to the best hill walks in Edinburgh.

Getting to Edinburgh by train:

If you’re travelling from further afield to enjoy some hiking in Edinburgh, simply hop on board your most convenient CrossCountry service to Edinburgh Waverley or Haymarket stations.

View of Edinburgh from Arthur’s Seat, with the grassy cliffside pictured in front of the city skyline.

Arthur’s Seat

One of the most well-known walks in Edinburgh, climbing Arthur’s Seat is on many hiker’s bucket lists. Hiking to the top of this extinct volcano in Holyrood Park offers panoramic views across the cityscape, and there are a number of routes for you to choose a level of difficulty that suits you. It can be windy at the summit, so make sure to wrap up if you’re hiking in winter!

Getting there: The starting point to climb Arthur’s Seat is a 10-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley station.

Calton Hill

Calton Hill offers a slightly gentler walking route than Arthur’s Seat and you will still find excellent views at the top, so it’s the perfect starter hike in Edinburgh. This route is a UNESCO World Heritage site, as the hill sits opposite Edinburgh Castle and overlooks the ancient structures of Edinburgh Old Town. At the top, you will find the iconic National Monument of Scotland; a memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died in the Napoleonic Wars.

Getting there: The walk starts at the western end of the hill next to Regent Road. This is a 10-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is probably one of the most frequently trodden hills in Edinburgh, even if most people aren’t there for the hill itself. Topped by the spectacular Edinburgh Castle, the rock rises through the heart of Edinburgh, carrying the Royal Mile along its classic crag-and-tail formation right down to the Palace of Holyrood. Along this route, you will pass several major attractions including the Castle, the Camera Obscura, and you can also find the Scotch Whisky Experience for a quick tipple. Once you reach the top, you can enjoy the views of the city and visit Edinburgh Castle.

Getting there: Start your walk at Corstorphine Hill nature reserve, located close to Edinburgh Waverley station.

Blackford Hill

Blackford Hill offers a peek at the Scottish countryside within a bustling city. This is a muddy woodland walk in the hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill nature reserve. From the summit of this walk, you can expect to enjoy a 360-degree view over the city skyline, including Arthur’s Seat and Pentland Hills. This is a relaxed hike with a local feel to it, so if you’re looking for an Edinburgh walk away from the crowds, this might be perfect.

Getting there: Walking to the nature reserve from Edinburgh Waverley takes just under an hour, or you can get there quickly via bus.

Braid Hills

 Out beyond Blackford, the Braid Hills are a small range to explore rather than a single hill. The highest summit is Buckstone Snab, which has a view indicator pointing to all seven hills of Edinburgh. If you’re climbing them all, make sure to leave this one until last so you can see what you’ve achieved!

The Braid Hills are largely occupied by golf courses and the main trail goes all the way around the hills. The views are simply stunning, offering panoramic views over the city and all the way out to the sea.

Getting there: Your starting point is Braid Hills golf course, which is around a 30-minute bus ride from the station.

Craiglockhart Hill

Kill two birds with one stone with Craiglockhart Hill, which is technically comprised of two hills – Easter and Wester hills. Thankfully, it is easy to climb both hills in the same excursion. From the Morningside Clock, you will walk along to the Craighouse grounds, through woodland, and to the Craighouse pond. The woods are truly magical – especially in winter when a touch of frost adds a sparkle to the scenery. From the pond, you can take the steady climb up both Wester and Easter Craiglockhart Hills and enjoy scenic views across Edinburgh and beyond.

Getting there: Starting at Morningside Clock, you can get to this route from Edinburgh Waverley in around 25-minutes.

Corstorphine Hill

The most westerly of Edinburgh’s seven hills, Corstorphine offers a thoroughly enjoyable woodland walk with unparalleled views looking out over the city. The park is one of Edinburgh’s largest green spaces and has been awarded a Green Flag since 2010, so you’re in the right place for enjoying Edinburgh’s natural scenery. Edinburgh Zoo sits on the southern slopes of the hill, so why not couple your hike with a visit to one of the best zoos in the UK?

At the summit you will find Corstorphine Hill Tower, a memorial to Edinburgh’s romantic novelist Walter Scott. When the tower is open to the public, it offers magnificent views of the city. If you’re visiting in snowy winter, this is the perfect place to sled.

If you’re planning to take one of Edinburgh’s best walks, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Julia

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