Edinburgh is a pretty dog-friendly city. As well as some lovely parks for walkies, there are several dog-friendly places to eat and drink. But if you’re looking to swap the hustle and bustle of the city streets for some peace and quiet, there some beautiful spots to be found in and around Edinburgh. Not only are there amazing walks right on your doorstep, but the capital’s great dog-friendly buses and trains make reaching surrounding beaches and hills a doddle.
And remember, if you’re heading out somewhere you can’t take your dog, you can find a loving dog sitter who’ll treat your dog like family on Rover! Or if you’ve had enough walkies for one week but your furry best mate hasn’t, Rover has wonderful dog walkers who’d love to take the little fella out for a wander while you put your feet up.
Here are a few of the best places to go for a lovely walk with your dog in Edinburgh.
Not only does Calton Hill promise breathtaking views across Edinburgh from the top, it’s chock-full of fascinating buildings and landmarks to explore along the way. It only takes about five minutes to get to the top of the hill from a staircase at Regent Road on the south side, and Royal Terrace on the north side.
Calton Hill hosts a number of historic buildings and monuments including two observatories for star gazers, and most famously the unfinished National Monument—a Parthenon-inspired structure built to commemorate the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. Dogs are not allowed to enter Nelson Monument, but they’ll love meeting other good boys and girls on the steep but manageable walk up.
This 7-hectare park located in the Merchiston area of Edinburgh is very popular with dog walkers. In addition to sports pitches, a play area, a cycle path and a formal rose garden, the Union Canal runs along its southern boundary. In late summer the path along the canal is the perfect place to spot bats in the evening. The canal is home to all sorts of wildlife and a wildflower meadow was created by local children in 2013 as part of the Urban Pollinators Project.
If you and little Waffles fancy some sea air, jump on a bus from Edinburgh’s city centre and in half an hour you can be enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of Cramond. The historic fishing village (complete with quaint whitewashed houses) and suburb in the north-west of Edinburgh is ideal for a day out with your dog. The popular dog walking route along Cramond promenade is flat, scenic and just over 4 miles there and back. On clear days you can see Fife across the Firth of Forth as well as the Forth bridges.
You’ll meet loads of dogs running and playing freely on the beach. At low tide you can even walk to Cramond Island—do keep an eye on the tides though because there is only a two-hour window to get there and back before the tide envelops the path again and there is a real danger of getting stranded on the island! There are signs on the beach telling you when it’s safe to cross but you can also check tide timetables or take advantage of a text service to alert you to tides. If you do decide to head over to the island, bring a towel because the walk can be quite muddy and slippery.
For a spectacular view of the city and a good stretch of your legs, venture up Arthur’s Seat. The 251-metre dormant volcano is an iconic landmark situated in the centre of Edinburgh—about a mile east of the castle—and the highest peak in Holyrood Park. The Royal Park is adjacent to Holyrood Palace and comprises 640 acres, so you’ll have your choice of routes to explore—from 15 minute strolls to the summit to hour-long hikes. On clear days you can see all the way across the Firth of Forth to Fife.
Needless to say, you should wear appropriate shoes (especially if you opt for the steeper climb) and take lots of water and a collapsable dog bowl with you! You can choose your route up Arthur’s Seat here.
Situated right next to the Royal Botanic Gardens in the northern part of Edinburgh, Inverleith Park is a picturesque oasis of green in the heart of the city centre. Much like Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill, the park is on higher ground so there are some great views of the city—and the castle—to be enjoyed. There are tree-lined paths as well as a huge expanse of grass that you can let your dog run free in, but you might want to keep an eye on her around the duck pond if she’s a little too into waterfowl. If your dog likes to mingle, she’s bound to make all sorts of new furry friends here.
Residents and visitors alike just love The Meadows. The green expanse in the heart of Edinburgh truly has something for everyone, including tennis courts, tree-lined paths, a children’s playground, playing fields, a cafe, picnic and barbecue areas, and most importantly, plenty of space for your bezzie mate to roll around in off the lead. In June The Meadows Festival even has a dog show! If your dog likes socialising a trip to The Meadows is a must.
Featured image: Kevin Lambert & Emma Kay via BBC