Exploring Edinburgh’s Overlooked Neighbourhoods & Hidden Gems
Edinburgh overflows with famous attractions luring swarms of tourists every year. But to truly explore Scotland’s enchanting capital, wander away from the crowded main attractions like the Royal Mile and instead get lost wandering the city’s local favourites.
This insider’s guide reveals how to escape the crowds and explore Edinburgh beyond the major hotspots. It unveils hidden gems even some locals overlook, from the hilltop viewpoints with sweeping vistas rivalling Castle Rock to Leith’s vibrant street art trails offering brilliant photo backdrops you won’t find on any postcard.
Navigating Edinburgh’s Lesser-Known Areas
Venturing beyond the main city centre sites opens doors to explore Edinburgh’s spots that many visitors rarely experience.
Explore Leith: Edinburgh’s waterfront has transformed into a foodie hotspot, with local markets, restaurants, and street murals.
Explore Bruntsfield & Morningside: These quaint areas offer boutique shops and cafes without city centre prices. Walk from one end of Bruntsfield Place to another for a window shopping adventure.
Explore Calton Hill: Edinburgh’s iconic hill rivals Arthur’s Seat for sweeping city panoramas but with fewer crowds. Stroll past monuments and historic sites for Instagram gold.
Chasing Stunning Hidden Views
While Edinburgh overflows with popular lookouts, few tourists know to visit these local favourite vantage points offering postcard-worthy backdrops you won’t get framing the Castle or Palace.
The Vennel’s Perfect Frame: This steep walkway perfectly frames Arthur’s Seat for the iconic summit photo no tourist can capture.
Blackford Hill’s 180 Degree Panorama: Hike up Edinburgh’s hidden gem hill for stunning unobstructed views spanning the city’s spires to the Pentland Hills.
Leith Docks Street Art Haven: The brilliantly coloured murals splashed across buildings here have become Edinburgh’s hottest photo op destination.
When it comes to stunning vistas overlooking Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat undoubtedly takes the top spot. This iconic hill towers over the city, with hiking trails winding up to the summit where breathtaking 360-degree views unfold below. From rocky cliffs and grassy slopes, you can take in Edinburgh Castle perched prominently on Castle Rock along with the Old Town and New Town tenements and monuments sprawling into the distance. For nearly as sweeping panoramas minus the climb, head to Calton Hill – the Atmospheric Observatory here offers a camera-ready outlook over Princes Street Gardens to the castle and sea beyond. Or for a local favourite vista, as mentioned make your way up Blackford Hill in the south; its peak delivers an uninterrupted panorama spanning the city’s spires to the Pentland Hills in one glorious frame. From these elevated Edinburgh viewpoints, be prepared to capture a capital city at its most visually spellbinding.
So trade the tourist traps for local finds as you escape the crowds and explore Edinburgh from exciting new angles! Whatever overlooked corner of Scotland’s capital you uncover, an enchanting surprise surely awaits. And whilst you’re there, why not stay in the heart of Edinburgh with history outside and sleek design inside – Native Edinburgh offers a true home from home aparthotel that doesn’t disappoint – you’ll feel like a local living in the best spot in the city!