Cooking Experiences

Top five picnic spots in Edinburgh

Caroline reveals her favourite picnic spots in and around Edinburgh… As a born and bred Scot I have to disagree with Charlotte’s comment that picnics in Edinburgh are best eaten in your accommodation! Sure, you rarely get the same temperatures that you do in the south, but then again you don’t get the airless humidity that southerners have to suffer either. If you’re in Edinburgh and looking for somewhere to have a picnic, why not try one of my top five ideas? 1) You can’t get anywhere more central than Princes Street Gardens and with great views of the castle you can forgive the traffic noise and crowds. Either take a rug and find a quiet spot on the grass or alternatively bag yourself one of the many wooden seats. An added bonus for families is the good play area at the west end of the gardens. 2) If you want somewhere less busy than Princes Street Gardens then the Botanics (or the Royal Botanic Garden to give it its proper name) is a pleasant walk or a short bus ride from the centre of Edinburgh. Sadly picnics are only allowed in the designated picnic area so eat first and then enjoy the rest of the 72 acres. Entry is free and even on a nice day it is always possible to find a peaceful spot to sit with a book or soak up the beauty of the surroundings. When we were there last week there was a spectacular display of rhododendrons and azaleas.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Fabulous flowers

3) A little further out of town (but easily reached by bus from the centre of Edinburgh) is the picturesque suburb of Cramond which lies at the mouth of the River Almond where it meets the Firth of Forth. Cramond Island lies a mile off-shore and can be reached by a causeway at low tide. Tide information is displayed on the notice board so take careful note if you don’t want to end up stranded! 4) For a more extensive beach environment Gullane in East Lothian takes a bit of beating. The sweeping bay and sand dunes make a great picnic spot and being only 20 miles out of Edinburgh it is easy to get to by car or bus. If you don’t like sand in your sandwiches then you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of picnic tables!

Gullane

Scotland’s coastal beauty

5) If you’d rather have hills than sand dunes why not head south to the Pentlands? Either get the bus or drive and park at the Flotterstone Visitor Centre. There are all sorts of walks that you can do there suiting all levels of fitness – through woods, by a stream, hilly or flatter, paved (good for pushchairs) or bumpy track. One of our favourites is from the car park up to Loganlea Reservoir. The scenery is beautiful and you would never guess that you’re only ten miles from the city.

Flotterstone

Flotterstone shows its beauty

Wherever you decide to take your picnic, enjoy it!

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