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8 best photo spots in Edinburgh

best photo spots in Edinburgh
Written by Roel Kerkhof

Edinburgh is one of the most photogenic cities we’ve visited recently. With a compact city center and most attractions close to the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s main historic thoroughfare, you can see a lot in just a couple of days. With the help of others we found some of the best photo spots in Edinburgh and we thought we’d share them with you too. These were our eight favorites:

1 The Vennel

best photo spots in Edinburgh

best photo spots in Edinburgh

One of the best photo spots in Edinburgh to capture Edinburgh Castle is the Vennel, a staircase leading from Grassmarket to Lauriston Place. From here you have an excellent view of the castle with the staircase in the foreground. It’s also a good spot to take pictures in the evening. We got there much too late for some nice photos with the Vennel and the castle illuminated. We arrived just before 9.30 PM when the castle illumination was switched off.

2 Tolbooth Tavern

Located along the Royal Mile the Tolbooth Tavern takes you back to the old days of Edinburgh. The current tavern is part of the original Canongate Tolbooth which was built in 1591. The tollbooth, collecting toll from travelers, also served as a courthouse, jail and meeting place. It’s a great photo spot both day and night. We’re not very skilled at night photography but were very pleased with the picture we took here.

3 Calton Hill

For the best panoramic view of the city it’s best to climb 100 meter high Calton Hill just to the east of the city center. It’s especially popular at the end of the day as it is considered one of the best photo spots in Edinburgh to see the sun set behind the city’s skyline. We hoped for that too, but sadly there were too many clouds. Scattered across the top are some memorials, most dating back to the early nineteenth century. By climbing Nelson Monument you can even get a better view. We arrived just after 5 PM Sunday, when it had just closed for visitors. Bad timing. The other days of the week Nelson Monument is open until 7 PM.

4 Dean Village

Just northwest of the city center is incredibly picturesque Dean Village. We passed it following the Water of Leith Walkway all the way from the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art to Leith. Dean Village was founded as a milling community in the twelfth century and still has a rural village feel to it, a world away from the busy center of Edinburgh just a 10-15 minute walk away.

5 Circus Lane, Stockbridge

Undoubtedly one of the prettiest and charming streets of Edinburgh is quiet Circus Lane in Stockbridge, a suburb at the northern edge of Edinburgh’s New Town. Like Dean Village it’s only a 10-15 minute walk from the city center and has something of a village atmosphere. The curvature of Circus Lane makes for great photo opportunities.

6 Salisbury Crags

Most people know about Arthur’s Seat looming over the city and make the hike there for the expansive views of Edinburgh and its surroundings. Instead of following the path to the left near the parking lot next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, we – like many other people – missed the sign and took the path to the right. It’s a longer and tougher hike to get to Arthur’s Seat this way but it also led us past the Salisbury Crags, a series of 46-meter cliffs. The city views from here were far better than from Arthur’s Seat and the hike much shorter (if we’d stopped there…).

7 White Horse Close

Leading off the Royal Mile are countless alleyways and courtyards, known in Scottish as closes. These closes can provide great photo moments. Some of the best closes for a nice pic are Milne’s Court, Barrie’s Close and Advocate’s Close, but by far the most interesting is White Horse Close at the western end of the Royal Mile, near the Palace of Holyroodhouse. We visited both during the day and just after sunset, when it was even prettier with the lights turned on.

8 Victoria Street

With some colorful shop fronts, an elegant curve in the road, historic architecture and an upper-level terrace overlooking the street below, Victoria Street is our final suggestion for the best photo spots in Edinburgh. It’s located between Grassmarket and the Royal Mile so easy to fit into your personal city walk.


If you like this blog, then our other blog about Edinburgh might also interest you:  Things we liked in Edinburgh

We visited Edinburgh in September 2016


About the author

Roel Kerkhof

Restless wanderer, retired cyclist and triathlete, geographer and writer. Man with a mission impossible: to visit all countries in the world.


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