Spring is among us, the sun is starting to make an appearance and the days are getting longer! Hoorah! To celebrate, I've collated a list of our favourite things to do in Edinburgh on a sunny day.
Edinburgh is a city of green spaces, beaches and beautiful architecture. Unfortunately we don't get to utilise her outdoor spaces that often, so when it's sunny I love to head outdoors to explore the best of this city, and here's how:
Head down to Portobello beach
Portobello beach is just a short bus/car journey from the city centre, so when it's a nice day I'd definitely take advantage of being so close to the coast. I'm sure many others will have the same idea, but what's better than sitting on a sandy beach, soaking up the sun, and maybe even dipping your feet in the sea? (If you're brave). You'll find an Amusement centre, a fish and chip van parked up on the Promenade, an Ice cream vendor and a few pubs and cafes to pop into. My favourite cafe is The Beach House which does lovely food and coffee, and The Esplanade Pub- you can sit outside either, if there's space!
Mary's Milk Bar is my favourite place for top quality ice cream and milkshakes. Mary makes her ice cream fresh each morning, which means there are always exciting, new and changing flavours on offer. Mary herself is a gelato graduate, having studied in Italy, and has perfectly captured the essence of a traditional Milk Bar in her Grassmarket premises. This place gets very busy in the summer, but it is worth queuing. Why not enjoy your ice cream in the lovely Grassmarket? There are a few benches scattered around, plus great views of the Castle.
Picnic in The Meadows
When the sun comes out a large flock of students appear in The Meadows. The Edinburgh University Main Library looks out on to this large beautiful green space, so, who can blame them?! They've got the right idea. When the weather's nice, I love to take advantage of having this space in the city centre, and pack and picnic and rush down. Tip: head to the Bruntsfield Links which can be a wee bit quieter.
Pitch and Putt in the Bruntsfield Links
Talking of the Links… It's the perfect place to play a short hole game of golf, even if like me you don't usually play or have any interest in golf! Pop in to The Golf Tavern pub to grab your equipment, and get playing on what is apparently the oldest golf course in the city. You don't have to be a pro, a lot of people of all levels go to play for fun in the sun. The Links are a stunning space, with views over to Arthur's Seat and surrounded by towering tenements and the charming shops of Brunstfield. Don't forget to pop in to The Golf Tavern afterwards for a drink, a great pub with lots of traditional charm.
Climb up to the Roof Terrace of the National Museum of Scotland
I'd actually recommend doing this whatever the weather, but when it's sunny it's that extra bit special. The views from up there are phenomenal over the Old Town, down to the New Town and the sea, across to Arthur's Seat and The Crags and to the mighty Castle. Admission to the Museum is free, an added bonus!
An obvious choice, but a great one no less. Climb Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh's distinct volcano in the heart of the city, for unbeaten views and a nice walk. If you don't have that much time on your hands, I'd recommend walking up The Crags instead. You'll still get amazing views when you reach the top, with less of a walk up. If walking up hills isn't your thing, just relax in Holyrood Park instead. This is the space that surrounds and encapsulates Arthur's Seat and The Crags, and is vast. There's a footpath you can follow around, or just find a nice space to sit! There are 3 Lochs in the Park, Duddingston Loch, St Margaret's Loch and Dunsapie Loch, which are all worth wandering to.
Walk through Princes Street Gardens
Another obvious choice, but definitely a thing to do if you're visiting the capital. Equally, if you're a resident it can be easy to take this space for granted, so don't forget to appreciate it, especially in the sun! Princes Street Gardens span the length of Princes Street, and are a wonderful green space and walkway parallel to one of Edinburgh's busiest streets. There's a path you can follow, with benches along the way, and lots of grass to sit down on and enjoy your surroundings. This space is always beautifully kept, with colourful flower beds to brighten your day.
Head to up Calton Hill and catch the sunset
Another of Edinburgh's spectacular spaces! Where else do you get a hill in the city centre bolstering up a replica acropolis (which actually never got completed after building began in 1816 due to funds ceasing but nevertheless impressive), two observatories, a tower built to commemorate Nelson and another Greek inspired monument in memory of Dugald Stewart? All that, coupled with unbeaten views over Princes Street and the city centre, Edinburgh Castle, Arthur's Seat and the Crags, the New Town, out to the sea and finally the Pentlands, make Calton Hill a must for all visitors and residents. Situated at the East End of Princes Street, only a 5/10 minute walk up, I find Calton Hill is a great place to end your day and catch the sunset over the city.