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Blog - The Top Green Spaces in Edinburgh

Posted on 17/03/2014

Edinburgh is a city which is blessed with many things and one of those is the multitude of green spaces it offers to residents and visitors. Considering the size of the city Edinburgh is awash with municipal parks and gardens which can be enjoyed by the public. Now spring is slowly making itself known it’s the perfect time to get out and explore some of these green spaces and plan some summer picnics.

Princess Street Gardens

Edinburgh’s best known park has to be Princess Street Gardens. They have the highest number of visitors both in terms of residents and those visiting the city for a break. It is home to the Ross Bandstand where many concerts are held and the annual Festival Fireworks Concert. Princess Street Gardens sit at the centre of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, with parts in both the New Town and Old Town areas. It is held in high esteem for its natural beauty but also for its geological and botanical scientific value. Above the western end of the gardens stands the majestic rock that houses Edinburgh Castle. This is one of those sites that all visitors should ensure they see.

The Meadows

The Meadows is one of Edinburgh’s largest public parks and sits to the south of the town centre. It’s an open plan green space with tree-lined paths and also the general amenities residents look for including a children’s playground and tennis courts. There’s even a croquet club. The Meadows is also popular with students and is bordered by the University of Edinburgh’s George Square campus.

Holyrood Park

Holyrood Park is also known as Queen’s Park or King’s Park, depending who’s on the throne. It’s a royal park which sits in central Edinburgh and has a fascinating landscape complete with glens, ridges, cliffs, hills and lochs. It has a very wild and natural feel compared to some of the other parks in the city and is closely associated with the royal palace, Holyroodhouse. Holyrood Park also has an interesting history, formerly a private royal hunting estate in the 12th century but then turned into a park when James V was on the throne in the 16th century. Now it’s popular with those looking for a bit of rural Scotland in a busy city.

The Hermitage of Braid

The Hermitage of Braid is a 149 acre parkland that sits between the Braid Hills and Blackford Hill. It became property of the city in 1937 and has since been made part of the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Nature Reserve. The site was home to a castle until the 18th century when the castle was replaced by the present house – known as Hermitage House. It was built in the castellated Gothic style and shows influence from Scotland’s finest architect Robert Adam.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a scientific centre which focuses on plant and botanical study. It is of course open to the public and a popular tourist attraction too. It was initially opened in 1670 as what was known as a physic garden, designed to grow plants for medicinal purposes. The modern day gardens are spread over four sites and there are over 13,302 different species of plant and over 3 million herb species in the current living garden.

Charlotte Square

Charlotte Square is often heralded as Robert Adam’s finest work. It is believed to be where the developments for Edinburgh New Town began and Adam designed everything from the housing to the expanse of leafy greenery in the centre of the square. It is often the site of festival exhibitions and tents, especially during Edinburgh International Book Festival and though Adam sadly didn’t live to see the square completed he would surely be proud of it.

Photo credit: Aicyss