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Edinburgh 2 day Outdoor Itinerary

Edinburgh has some fantastic attractions to view throughout the city, from the historic Edinburgh Castle to the informative Museum of Scotland. However when the sun is beating down upon the city (which in Scotland is usally not a frequent occurrence!) it is important to make the most of some good weather and therefore we have developed this itinerary for the best outdoor attractions in the city. Enjoy a relaxing 2 days in the city and maybe even get a sun tan.


  • Calton Hill (Free)
  • Botanic Gardens (Free)
  • Edinburgh Zoo (£15.50)
  • Scott Monument (£3)
  • Royal Botanic Gardens (Free)
  • Total Cost: £18.50 (Adult)


    Day 1: Calton Hill / Edinburgh Botanic Gardens

    The first day starts in the city centre at the popular Calton Hill which can be seen from many viewpoints throughout Edinburgh in the backdrop of Arthurs Seat.  The area is a little hidden from the main sights in the city centre, but it is only a short walk from Princes Street (walk east past The Balmoral hotel away from Princes St and follow the road for around 2mins, the entrance to Calton will be on your left handside).

    At Calton hill there are a couple of walks which join up together that go around Calton Hill and these give you some fantastic views of each part of Edinburgh including the New Town and Old Town sections of the city.  There are many picturesque parts of Calton Hill so make sure you have a Camera with you!

    After a couple of hours at the hill the next stop is the Botanical Gardens which are situated to the North of the city.  If you want to have lunch there are numerous good restaurants in the city centre, the Dome has a fantastic menu and the Garden Café there has outdoor seating.  Alternatively you can have lunch at an outdoor café at the gardens.

    The Botanic Gardens can be reached on foot from Calton Hill, it is around a 30 minute walk through the city or you can get the No 29 bus from North Bridge to North West Circus Place and then it’s a ten minute walk along Deanhaugh Street, onto St Bernards Row and continue north to the gardens.

    The Botanical Gardens are a huge site spread over hundreds of acres of grounds and there is a great variety of plant species on display from all over the world.  There are different themed sections of the gardens and you can easily spend the rest of the day exploring them all.  The gardens are free to visit but if you want access to the tropical glasshouse section then there is a small admission charge.

    Day 2: Edinburgh Zoo / Scots Monument / Princes Street Gardens

    The second day of the itinerary starts at Edinburgh Zoo which is in Corstorphine to the west of the city centre.  There Zoo is 4 miles from the city centre and it is around a 15 minute drive along the A8 or there are multiple buses which run from North Bridge to the Zoo (No 38, No31 and Airport Bus 100).

    The most popular attraction currently at Edinburgh Zoo is the Pandas which are on loan to Edinburgh from China.  If you plan on seeing these then it is best to arrive at the zoo early as there are a limited amount of tickets available to see them each day.

    Other highlights at the zoo include the daily Penguin Parade which takes place at 2.15pm and the Hilltop Safari bus.  There are over 1,000 animals at the zoo and it can take several hours to see everything.

    Next stop is Scots Monument which is back in the city centre at Princes Street Gardens East which is opposite Princes Street.  The monument was erected in honour of Sir Walter Scott and it is the tallest monument to a literary figure in the world.  There are 287 steps to the top viewing deck although there are sub decks along the way and when you reach the top you get one of the best views in Edinburgh with fantastic panoramic views of the entire city.

    The final stop today is Princes Street Gardens which is below the monument, take a book or grab a picnic and relax in the gardens which are always filled with a mix of tourists and locals on a sunny day in Edinburgh.  If you feel like further exercise then Arthurs Seat is around a 30 minute walk away at the bottom of the Royal Mile and there are some nice views of Edinburgh from the top.