Grand old Edinburgh is steeped in history. From the old town, perched upon the hillside, up to the castle crowning the rock, then down past the monuments, through the gorgeous Georgian architecture and into the bustling streets and shops of New Town. Thousands flock to the city every year, to soak in the history, sample the culture and knock back a few healthy measures of Scotch. But there’s also some fantastic dog walks in Edinburgh.
With so much to see and do, it’s understandable why the natural wonders nearby are overlooked. But it’s also a shame. Edinburgh’s parks and surrounding countryside offer as much as the city itself. If you’re a local dog owner, or you’re just on holiday don’t confine yourself to plodding the city streets, get out into the country, and explore the wild and rugged beauty just around the corner.
Here are our top picks that your dog will love!
First on the list of Dog Walks in Edinburgh is Inverleith Park. North of the city, next to the Royal Botanic Garden is this green sanctuary near the heart of the city. Inverleith Park has stunning views of the castle and is particularly popular with locals on Hogmanay, as it offers a sublime view of the fireworks.
There’s plenty for your dog to discover, including a large pond with its own sculpted marshland. Look out for the Sundial garden – the dial itself dates back to 1890 – as well as the Four Winds art access centre. There’s plenty of open green for an afternoon with the frisbee or a jog with your dog.
Also, pop over the road, and explore the smells and sights of the botanical gardens. The vast glass hothouses are a must-see!
Car park available.
Portobello is a tale of two beaches. When the tide is in, this quaint seaside stretch is ideal for an afternoon amble along the promenade framed by the tall townhouses, and the epic view which opens across the bay. Little wonder the beach is award-winning, including a grand Victorian swimming pool with its own Aerotone and Turkish baths.
But, when the tide goes out, the beach sprawls on and on and on. Now, your dog can run wild, across the expanse of golden sand. Here you can do truly epic throws, but if you really want to get your pooch moving, try out the Chuckit! A launcher toy designed to maximise your throw, without doing your back in. So, no more slobbering balls to pick up, just scoop and chuck.
Also, if you’re wondering, the beach is open to dogs all year round.
Car park available.
Next, we’re venturing out of the city, down to the Pentland Hills, a 20-mile range of breath-taking Scottish countryside. Over the years, walkers have plotted out loads of different trails, for all levels of ability. The hills have so many beautiful locations; it’s hard to single out anyone, however, Flotterstone, Harlow and Threipmuir are favourite for a reason – Flotterstone even has a pub! From Flotterstone, head up onto Scald Law, for fantastic views of the surrounding area.
Sheep are a common feature of the hills, so remember to keep your dog under control or on a lead. Especially in the lambing season, as the local farmers can get quite annoyed.
Car parking variable.
If your hunting for an epic view across the entire city, you’ll struggle to find a better vantage point than up on Blackford Hill. Stare out across the rooftops, and pick out the landmarks amidst the leafy streets. You can also see the looming mass of Arthur’s Seat, towering over the city. At the summit, there’s an ancient hill fort, with the circular foundation of houses.
The hill also boasts the Royal Observatory, the popular Blackford pond – great if your dog fancies a dip – and 12-acres of woodland to roam.
Great for an afternoon hike, get there just in time for a dazzling sunset.
Car park available.
At first look, the beach is a thin perimeter of sand hugging the land. But as the tide ebbs, a causeway emerges from out the waters, providing access to Cramond Island – a small, uninhabited outcropping. Text CRAMOND to 81400 and the RNLI will provide safe crossing time for the tidal causeway.
Cramond has a calm and gentle atmosphere but can be quite muddy. Make sure to bring a towel. We recommend the Wooflinen microfiber pet towel – an ultra-absorbant, double-density, machine-washable towel for dogs. Its microfiber material dries quickly and lasts longer. Plus, every purchase includes a donation to help rescue or foster dogs!
Car park available.
Almondell and Calderwood Country Park
The enormous 220-acre country park is perfect for a day out with the pooch. It’s rated a 4-star attraction by Visit Scotland for a reason. Almondell Park is well-developed with a range of footpaths weaving through the Almondell Estate. While the Calderwood Estate is little wilder especially in the ancient woodland.
If you’re a nature lover, the park is ideal, hosting a variety of wildlife, including roe deer, foxes, herons, otters and even woodpeckers. Or else, join your dog, exploring the undergrowth as your root out the fantastic fungi or the bluebells, snowdrops and azalea which grow throughout the year.
The River Almond goes through the Almondell Estate and is a popular trail with dog walkers.
Car park available at the visitor’s centre.
Last but certainly not least, is the crowning glory of the city, the ever-present peak on the horizon, the legendary Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s seat is the most famous of all Dog Walks in Edinburgh. Many cities boast a park, a few even host a mountain, but no others can claim the wreck of an extinct volcano on their doorstep. The seat’s summit offers a 360-degree panorama of the city and surrounding landscape, but getting up there is excellent for stretching out your four-legged friend.
As you head down, make a beeline for the historic Sheep Heid Inn – the dog-friendly pub nestled in the shadow on the mountain. That’s if you can pry yourself away from the view across the Fife.
No trip is complete, without a hike up Arthur’s Seat!
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