I'm a working mum writing about life in Edinburgh (and anywhere else we go) with two curious, adventurous, and imaginative children. Visit my blog at www.linzertortes.blogspot.co.uk. Follow me on Twitter: @LinzerLaw
Published September 28th 2012
Picnic in the park with the best views of the city
At 55 acres, Inverleith Park isn't just one of the biggest parks in Edinburgh, it's one of Scotland's largest urban parks. There are so many things that make this park special, and we set out on a lovely Saturday in September to explore them.
A view towards the castle, over the rugby grounds.
For many years the park has been a popular place to watch Edinburgh's fireworks displays, and there's a reason that this park is used for the family viewing area for the Edinburgh Festival Fireworks concert. I could go there for the vistas alone, because it offers a view of the city that is hard to match.
However, while it makes pleasant picnic spot, there's much more to the park than just sitting on the green grass and staring out over the city.
There are playing fields, which were brimming with shouts and calls from local rugby teams. There are wide pathways through tree-lined avenues, which wind invitingly through the park. The paths were busy with dogs taking their owners on long walks and children on bicycles, tricycles and buggies.
Lots of inviting smells in the grass.
We started off by exploring a large pond. It's been built up with a reed bed and a wooden walkway, which the children enjoying walking through and peering over the edge to spot lurking wildlife.
There are lots of interesting things to spot in the water in amongst the reeds.
The ponds is full of all the birds you would expect: moorhens, coots and swans. Although the swans weren't actually in the water when we were there. They were too busy enjoying the warm sun on the path, and scaring toddlers as their parents ran the swan gauntlet with their buggies.
We weren't sure whether the swans realised that the path was for walking, not snoozing.
As well as the ducks and swans, there were plenty of opportunistic pigeons and sea gulls on the hunt for easy food, and we even spotted one magpie. It seemed to forget it couldn't swim as it swooped down to pick up a piece of bread.
Although we spent most of our time in the South end of the park, up in the North there's also things to see and do. The North corner is given over to private allotments, and over by the gate opposite the entrance to the Botanic Garden there are tennis and basketball courts, a play park, and playing fields.
I'd never been to Inverleith Park in all the time I've lived in Edinburgh, but it really is a lovely spot to have a walk, a play, or a picnic, or perhaps all three.