Spring is among us, the sun is starting to make an appearance and the days are getting longer! Hoorah! To celebrate, I’ve collated a list of our favourite things to do in Edinburgh on a sunny day.
Edinburgh is a city of green spaces, beaches and beautiful architecture. We really are spoilt. So when it’s sunny I love to head outdoors to explore the best of this city, and here’s how:
Head down to Portobello beach
Portobello beach is just a short bus/car journey from the city centre, so when it’s a nice day I love taking advantage of the fact that we’re so close to the coast. Is there anything better than sitting on a sandy beach, soaking up the sun, and maybe even dipping your feet in the sea? (If you’re brave).
You can pass the hours away in the Amusement centre, fill yourself up on fresh fish and chips from the Promenade, or catch a tipple or two from a great choice of pubs and cafes to pop in to. My personal favourites are the the The Beach House cafe which does lovely food and coffee, and The Esplanade Pub which serves a great selection of beers.
Grab an Ice Cream from Mary’s
Mary’s Milk Bar is famous for serving up delicious gelato. Mary makes her gelato fresh each morning, meaning there are always new and exciting flavours to try.
Mary herself is a gelato graduate, having studied in Italy, and has perfectly captured the essence of a traditional Milk Bar in her Grassmarket premises. This place gets very busy in the summer, but it is worth the lengthy queue, trust me.
Why not enjoy your ice cream in the lovely Grassmarket? Settle down on one of the many benches scattered around and enjoy spectacular views of the castle.
Picnic in The Meadows
Any Edinburgh resident will tell you that when the sun comes out the Meadows becomes a hot spot for students, families, after-workers and every one in between looking for the perfect spot to settle down and soak up some rays.
We’re so lucky to have such a beautiful green space slap bang in the city centre. The perfect spot to enjoy a picnic, read the paper or just enjoy a relaxing moment.
Pitch and Putt in the Bruntsfield Links
Talking about beautiful green spaces, next to Meadows is the adjoining Brunstfield Links. Again, the perfect spot to enjoy a stroll or just sit and relax in serene surroundings.
The Links is also home to what is said to be the oldest golf course in the city. Whether you’re a seasoned golf pro or an absolute beginner (like me!) the Link’s Golf Course is always a bit of fun. With the stunning Arthur’s Seat dominating the backdrop, it really is the perfect setting for a fun game of golf.
Don’t forget to pop into the Golf Tavern pub afterwards to quench your thirst. Full to the brim with traditional charm, it’s the perfect place to refuel.
Climb up to the Roof Terrace of the National Museum of Scotland
I’d recommend doing this whatever the weather, but when it’s sunny it’s that extra bit special. The views from the National Museum Roof Terrace are phenomenal. If you know Edinburgh you’ll know there are no shortage of breath-taking views and vistas. But, the Roof Terrace is renowned for its panoramic views over the city – covering the gems of the Old Town from the Castle down the Royal Mile, right down to the New Town stretching to the sea. On the other side you’ll find the mighty Arthur’s Seat and the Crags and can even spot the Pentlands. It’s truly something else.
What’s more, admission to the museum is free! The Roof Terrace is located on level 7. You can take the lift straight up or use the stairs.
Holyrood Park: Arthur’s Seat and The Crags
If you’re visiting Edinburgh a walk up Arthur’s Seat is a must. Arthur’s Seat is Edinburgh’s famous dormant volcano situated in the heart of the city. It’s not only amazing to look at, you can also walk up Arthur’s Seat for unbeaten views over the city and a good old stretch of the legs. Depending on pace the walk will take you around 2.5 hours.
If you don’t have much time on your hands, take a hike up The Salisbury Crags instead. The Crags are distinctive for their grand cliff face, offering a shorter ascent. It may take more time to walk up but fear not, you’ll still be rewarded with amazing views.
Surrounding Arthur’s Seat and The Crags is Hollyrood Park. Another vast green space in Edinburgh to take advantage of. Being in the Park feels very much like you’ve landed in the countryside. It’s hard to believe it’s in the city centre!
There’s a path you can meander along with lots of spots to take a seat along the away. There are 3 lochs in the park – Duddingston Loch, St Margaret’s Loch and Dunsapie Loch, which are all worth a visit. If you’re lucky you’ll meet the Lochs’ resident swans too.
Finally, head to St Anthony’s Chapel – or the ruins of! It’s the perfect spot to stop for a picture.
Walk through Princes Street Gardens
Another obvious choice, but definitely a thing to do if you’re visiting the capital. Equally, if you’re a resident it can be easy to take this space for granted, so don’t forget to appreciate it, especially in the sun!
Princes Street Gardens span the length of Princes Street. Complete with path, grass and plenty of pretty plants, it’s an area of peace running in parallel with one of Edinburgh’s busiest streets. If you’re in the city centre and the weather permits, why not grab a coffee from the newly opened William and Johnson in Princes Street Mall and go and relax in the Gardens?
Head to up Calton Hill and catch the sunset
There’s nowhere better to watch the sun do down. Calton hill is found on the east of Princes Street. This impressive city centre landmark is home to a replica acropolis, two observatories, Nelson’s Monument and the Dugald Stewart monument.
All that, coupled with fantastic views down Princes Street, towards the Castle, over Arthur’s Seat and the Crags, the New Town, sea and the Pentlands. What’s more, it’s just a mere 5 minute walk from the bustle of Princes Street.
I love heading up here with my camera, watching the sun go down over the city.