Top ten Dog Walks Edinburgh

Edinburgh is brilliant for our favorite four legged friends with loads of great parks and hills both in the city centre and nearby for a walk to blow the cobwebs away.

Here are some of our favorite places for a donder and some fabulous views of Auld Reekie too!

Salisbury Crags dog walk

  1. Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags

One of the seven hills in the city and the most impressive with the looming Salisbury Crags cutting through the skyline, Arthur’s Seat is definitely one of my favorite walks. The views from the top are stunning looking west to Edinburgh Castle and the Forth Road Bridge and East to East Lothian and Berwick Law. There are many routes up to the top – the easiest is probably to park at Dunsapie Loch or Park round at the Palace of Holyrood and do the full walk past St Anthony’s Chapel and up to the summit. Your dog can run wild through the ponds between the crags and the summit and tire them out properly with a hike to the top!

If it is sunny a nice pint in the beer garden at the Salisbury Crags pub is highly recommended! (no dogs inside unfortunately)

  1. Blackford Hill and The Hermitage of Braid

The Hermitage walk is absolutely beautiful with a gentle stream bubbling along beside the path and it and is accessible for wheelchairs, prams and bikes too leading to the Hermitage visitors centre. There are many paths around the stream that lead up to Blackford Hill (Observatory Hill to some) which has a fabulous view of the whole city as well as to Arthur’s Seat. Dogs love paddling in the stream and chasing rabbits up the hillside. Wild garlic is in season in spring and grows in the glen!

Hermitage of Braid

It is an important part of Edinburgh’s natural heritage, and is classified a Local Nature Reserve. Blackford Pond and the surrounding wetland are important for water birds such as swan, little grebe, heron, pochard, mallard and tufted duck. Moorhen and coot nest at the edge of the pond amongst the reeds. Friends of the Hermitage often organise tours to learn more about the flora and fauna – more information here.

After your walk head along Morningside road for lots of lovely pubs and coffee shops – almost all of them are dog friendly.

  1. Cramond Island

Edinburgh is right on the coast making for some fabulous walks all along its coastline. Portobello beach is great for dog walkers in the winter months for a brisk stroll and then a warming hot chocolate in the Espy. It’s a great day out to wander along to Cramond Island. It is a tidal island in the Firth of Forth that can be reached at low tide by a causeway from the village of Cramond. There is a noticeboard at the landward end of the causeway setting out the times when it may safely be crossed.

A text service introduced last year may also be helpful.

Members of the public can text the word CRAMOND to 81400 and the RNLI will reply with safe crossing times for the tidal causeway which leads to the popular tourist attraction.

This new initiative follows a five year period (2008-2013) when nearly 600 people were rescued from Cramond Island by Queensferry lifeboat.

Cramond Island is a fascinating place, and also a very popular one. The island offers a touch of wilderness almost on Edinburgh’s doorstep: though the liberal application of graffiti to most standing structures and remains of camp fires suggest it is not as respected by all its visitors as might be hoped but this does not dampen the spirits of the many visitors and their pups!

The walk to Cramond

Take note, and make sure you allow yourself the time you need to explore an island that turns out to be larger than it looks, and the time to get back along the causeway before the waters close over it.

  1. Corstorphine Hill

The hill is only 531 feet (161 metres) high. However, from all angles it presents a long low wood-covered ridge, rising above the western suburbs of Edinburgh: Corstorphine, Blackhall Murrayfield and Balgreen. Corstorphine Hill is readily identified by its distinctive Tower with many walking routes criss-crossing over it you are sure to find something new every walk!

We love wandering up behind the Zoo for a glimpse of some more exotic animals. Look out for zebras, ostriches and antelopes in the African Plains enclosure of the Zoo. Closely spaced are fine view points to the north, east and south, the latter known as Rest-and-be-thankful, where travellers paused to take in their first glimpse of Edinburgh and before the last leg of their journey.

  1. The Union Canal and Water of Leith

The towpath on the Union Canal forms a great route for regular walking in the city, to get to work, to walk the dog or get some exercise. It’s 32 miles along the Union Canal from Edinburgh Quay and it con with the Water of Leith. A perfect way to escape the city streets for a while and enjoy a new perspective on the city.

The Water of Leith walkway passes through many areas of interest including: Colinton Village and Dell, the Union Canal, Saughton Winter Gardens, Murrayfield Stadium, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Village, Stockbridge, the Royal Botanic Garden and Leith. Ideal for family and doggy walks, the walkway is a delightful afternoon’s stroll, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The route is suitable for cycling and is accessible in part by wheelchairs and even on horseback.

Inverleith Park Reeds

Inverlieth Park is a great place for a detour where a huge expanse of grass is waiting for your dog and his frisbee, spectacular views of the castle from the North side and a great place for watching fireworks (without your dog!).

Just outside the city:

  1. North Berwick

Just a short 30 minute train journey (or drive) away from Edinburgh and is a fabulous little seaside town with some of the best fish & chips or lobster & chips in Scotland, and some cosy seaside dog-friendly pubs and a great ice cream shop.

North Berwick Town

Lobster and Chips

North Berwick has a long stretch of beach as far as the eye can see so you can stretch out the walk as long as you’d like. We usually walk up the beach past the golf course for about 2 hours before turning around and heading back to the centre for lobster and chips at the Lobster Shack (and penny sweets too!). The beach is extremely clean and tidy and again is a very popular walk with other dog owners, especially if they are fond of a good splash in the sea.

Beach Walks with Dogs

Nearby Tyninghame, Yellowcraigs and Gullane Bents are also brilliant dog walking beaches.

  1. Pentland Hills Regional Park

Head out the Southside of Edinburgh and you will find the Pentlands – a fabulous place for a walk with the dog! With 100km of waymarked routes that are suitable for all levels of fitness, there is something for everyone.

View from the Pentlands

When planning your trip to the Pentlands be aware that many places become busy very quickly, in particular, Flotterstone, Harlaw and Threipmuir car parks so get there early! I love the walk up from the Flotterstone pub along the ridge and back by the reservoirs and so does our dog! Don’t forget to look up on your climb and take in the lovely views.

Glen

Watch out for sheep though it is lambing season and the farmers can get annoyed if your dog is prone to sheep worrying.

Any suggestions for more?!

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