Whether you are going on a de-stress walk to unwind, having coffee with friends, or planning your summer barbecue, parks are the ultimate centre to outdoor city life. Edinburgh has some of the best parks in the UK. Its range includes massive hills to flat-land blossom lined pathways, which gives everyone a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the city. So next time you’re looking to impress a visitor, or wanting to unwind in a local green space, here are the best parks in Edinburgh to head to.

Holyrood Park

parks in Edinburgh
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Edinburgh is known for being a unique city, not in the least due to the extinct volcano in its heart. Holyrood Park not only boasts Arthur’s Seat, which is a good afternoon hike for anyone looking for panoramic views of the city, but also the Salisbury Crags, whose cliff-like structure sits at the base of Arthur’s looming seat. These two walks provide a fantastic rest-bite from city life, transporting walkers to spacious, countryside-like peace within the middle of the capital city.

Duddingston Loch and St Margaret’s Loch also provide opportunities for duck and otter spotting! Additionally, any history enthusiasts will enjoy the old church ruin overlooking St Margaret’s Loch, which you can visit.

The Meadows

the meadows best parks in edinburgh
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A popular running location for locals, the Meadows is an Edinburgh favourite. Situated between Newington, Marchmont and Bruntsfield and leading onto the Bruntsfield Links, The Meadows provide a refreshing walking area. The best time to visit is during the Spring, when blossoming cherry trees line the walkways up and down the park, making for a beautiful, picturesque stroll.

Princes Street Gardens

parks in Edinburgh
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Directly on Princes Street in the city’s main shopping district, you will find Princes Street Gardens. A popular summer picnic location, Princes Street Gardens bring out the best in Edinburgh architecture. Featuring the Scott Monument and stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, the Gardens are an ideal park to enjoy a coffee or crepe from Sir Walter’s café.

Calton Hill

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The site of the old Calton Hill Observatory and many other monuments, Calton Hill overlooks Edinburgh’s coast, with undisrupted views to the horizon. With many different historic sites to visit and close proximity to the city centre, Calton Hill is a must-see walking destination within the city.

Royal Botanic Gardens

parks in Edinburgh
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Although not strictly a park, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh are a visual paradise and botanist’s dream. Enjoy a flower framed stroll around the gardens, with nods to Edinburgh’s history as well as plants from around the world. After an intriguing walk, you could venture into the East Gate Coffee Bar for a traditional afternoon tea. Despite not being an official park, the Royal Botanic Gardens are a world away from the hustle and bustle of central city life, allowing a peaceful escape to walk and contemplate.

Once you’ve had your fill of strolling in the park, check out some of the other best things to do in Edinburgh.