Edinburgh’s Best Picnic Spots: Outdoor Dining Delights

Table of Contents

A family enjoying a picnic on a lush lawn in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, with Edinburgh Castle in the background and vibrant flowers, showcasing one of the best picnic places in Edinburgh.

Introduction to Edinburgh’s Picnic Spots

Edinburgh is known for its beautiful parks and gardens. The city offers many spots perfect for a picnic. From the historic Princes Street Gardens to the scenic Holyrood Park, there’s a place for everyone. Locals and tourists alike enjoy spreading out a blanket and enjoying a meal outdoors.

  • Benefits of Picnicking in Edinburgh

Picnicking in Edinburgh has many benefits. First, it allows you to enjoy fresh air and nature. Second, it is a budget-friendly way to dine. You can bring your own food and drinks. Lastly, it is a great way to relax and spend quality time with family and friends.

Top Picnic Areas in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Parks for Picnics

  1. Princes Street Gardens

    Located in the heart of Edinburgh, Princes Street Gardens offers a perfect spot for a picnic. With stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and beautiful flower beds, it’s a favorite among locals and tourists. The gardens are divided into East and West sections, each providing ample space for a relaxing day out.

    Feature Details
    Location Central Edinburgh
    Facilities Benches, Toilets, Cafes
    Accessibility Wheelchair Accessible
  2. The Royal Botanic Garden

    The Royal Botanic Garden is a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Spread over 70 acres, it features a variety of plants and themed gardens. It’s a great place for a peaceful picnic surrounded by nature. Don’t forget to visit the glasshouses and the rock garden.

    Feature Details
    Location Inverleith, Edinburgh
    Facilities Cafes, Toilets, Gift Shop
    Accessibility Wheelchair Accessible
  3. Holyrood Park

    Holyrood Park is a vast green space that offers a variety of picnic spots. With Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano, as its centerpiece, the park provides breathtaking views of the city. It’s perfect for those who enjoy a bit of adventure along with their picnic. There are also several lochs and historical sites to explore.

    Feature Details
    Location Near Holyrood Palace
    Facilities Walking Trails, Toilets
    Accessibility Some areas may be challenging for wheelchairs

Scenic Picnic Spots in Edinburgh

  1. Arthur’s Seat

    Arthur’s Seat is a must-visit for any picnic lover. This ancient volcano offers stunning views of the city. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the top, but the panoramic views are worth it. Pack a light picnic and enjoy the fresh air.

    Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and bring a jacket. The weather can change quickly.

    Feature Details
    Location Holyrood Park
    Best Time to Visit Morning or late afternoon
    Accessibility Moderate hike
  2. Calton Hill

    Calton Hill is another great spot for a scenic picnic. It’s easier to reach than Arthur’s Seat and offers beautiful views of Edinburgh’s skyline. The hill is home to several monuments, making it a picturesque location.

    Did you know? Calton Hill is part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Feature Details
    Location Central Edinburgh
    Best Time to Visit Any time of day
    Accessibility Easy walk
  3. Water of Leith Walkway

    The Water of Leith Walkway is perfect for a peaceful picnic. This 12-mile path runs through the heart of Edinburgh, offering serene spots along the river. It’s ideal for those who enjoy a leisurely stroll before settling down for a meal.

    Fun Fact: The walkway passes by the picturesque Dean Village, a hidden gem in Edinburgh.

    Feature Details
    Location Various entry points
    Best Time to Visit Late morning or early afternoon
    Accessibility Easy to moderate walk

Best Picnic Places in Edinburgh for Families

Edinburgh is a wonderful city for family picnics. With its beautiful parks and scenic spots, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to enjoy a picnic with your family.

The Meadows

The Meadows is a large public park in the heart of Edinburgh. It has wide open spaces perfect for a picnic. Kids can run around and play, and there are plenty of trees for shade. The park also has playgrounds and sports facilities.

Inverleith Park

Inverleith Park is another great spot for families. It offers stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and has a large pond where you can feed the ducks. The park also has a playground and lots of open space for games and activities.

Portobello Beach

If you prefer a beach setting, Portobello Beach is the place to go. It’s a lovely sandy beach just a short drive from the city center. Families can enjoy a picnic by the sea, build sandcastles, and even take a dip in the water on a warm day.

Romantic Picnic Spots in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city full of charm and history. It’s perfect for a romantic picnic. Here are three lovely spots you should visit:

Dean Village

Dean Village is a peaceful area by the Water of Leith. It’s like stepping back in time. The old buildings and cobblestone streets make it very romantic. You can sit by the river and enjoy a quiet meal together.

Tip: Bring a blanket and some local treats from a nearby bakery.


Stockbridge is known for its village feel and beautiful gardens. Inverleith Park is a great spot for a picnic. The park has stunning views of Edinburgh Castle. It’s a perfect place to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Tip: Visit the Stockbridge Market on Sundays for fresh and delicious picnic supplies.

The Royal Mile

The Royal Mile is the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. It’s full of history and culture. You can find a quiet spot in the gardens near the Scottish Parliament or Holyrood Palace. It’s a unique place for a picnic with a view of Arthur’s Seat.

Tip: Take a walk along the Royal Mile after your picnic to explore the historic sites.

Picnic Spot Highlights Nearby Attractions
Dean Village Peaceful, historic, riverside Water of Leith, Dean Gallery
Stockbridge Village feel, gardens, market Inverleith Park, Stockbridge Market
The Royal Mile Historic, cultural, scenic views Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Palace, Arthur’s Seat

Outdoor Dining in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Outdoor Eating Spots

  • Street Food Markets

Edinburgh is home to vibrant street food markets. These markets offer a variety of delicious foods from different cultures. You can find everything from gourmet burgers to vegan delights. A popular spot is the Stockbridge Market, open every Sunday.

  • Outdoor Cafes

Outdoor cafes in Edinburgh provide a cozy atmosphere to enjoy your meal. Many cafes have seating areas with beautiful views of the city. Try Princes Street Gardens for a delightful coffee experience with a view of the castle.

  • Restaurant Terraces

For a more formal dining experience, Edinburgh’s restaurant terraces are perfect. These terraces offer a great mix of fine dining and scenic views. The George Street area is known for its elegant restaurants with outdoor seating.

Picnicking in Edinburgh Gardens

Edinburgh is home to some of the most beautiful gardens, perfect for a relaxing picnic. Here are three must-visit spots:

Dr Neil’s Garden

Known as Edinburgh’s secret garden, Dr Neil’s Garden is a hidden gem. Located near Duddingston Loch, it offers stunning views and peaceful surroundings. The garden is filled with colorful flowers, trees, and a serene pond. It’s a great spot to unwind and enjoy nature.

Johnston Terrace Garden

Johnston Terrace Garden is a small but charming garden located near Edinburgh Castle. It’s a haven for wildlife, with many birds and insects. The garden is well-maintained, with beautiful plants and flowers. It’s a perfect spot for a quiet picnic in the heart of the city.

Dunbar’s Close Garden

Dunbar’s Close Garden is a hidden treasure in the city center. This 17th-century style garden offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets. With its neatly trimmed hedges and lovely pathways, it’s an ideal place for a picnic. The garden’s historical charm adds to its appeal.

Conclusion: Enjoying the Best of Edinburgh’s Picnic Spots

Edinburgh is home to many beautiful picnic spots. From the scenic views at Arthur’s Seat to the peaceful surroundings of the Royal Botanic Garden, there’s something for everyone. The Meadows offers wide-open spaces perfect for families, while Calton Hill provides a romantic setting with stunning city views.

  • Final thoughts on outdoor dining in Edinburgh:

Outdoor dining in Edinburgh is a delightful experience. Whether you’re enjoying a family outing, a romantic date, or a quiet afternoon alone, the city’s parks and gardens offer the perfect backdrop. Remember to pack your favorite foods, bring a blanket, and take in the beauty of Edinburgh’s natural landscapes.