Long walks and panoramic views
With almost 18 hours of sunlight a day during the Edinburgh summer, it’s the best season for long strolls and city views. For a vigorous walk, ascend cliff-face Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park to Arthur’s Seat for panoramic views from this famous dormant volcano. Nearby Calton Hill has an assortment of monuments at its gentle peak, including the incomplete acropolis originally built as the National Monument. You can pick up the riverside Water of Leith walkway from the city centre, winding its way through villagey Dean and Stockbridge, emerging into the Firth of Forth in Leith. Don’t leave your Edinburgh hotel without a hat, sun-block, and a jacket for unexpected downpours.
Royal Highland Show
Get to grips with Highland culture at this prestigious agricultural show, going strong since 1822. Top sheepdogs run rings round their woolly charges and prize cattle line up for inspection. Kids will love the playground with giant tractor, and prize-winning beasts being shown off in the animal parade.
Dining alfresco in Leith
Once the downtrodden docks, this northern region of Edinburgh has enjoyed a recent facelift. Take a summer evening stroll along the waterfront walkway and choose a fish restaurant for dining alfresco or a cocktail while the sun sets over the Firth of Forth waters.
Royal Botanic Garden
Founded in 1670, these botanical gardens really come into bloom in summer. The Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden is split into four distinct areas of the world, with plants from Asia, Europe, North America and the southern hemisphere. Look out for special summer events, including guided walks with expert horticulturists and botanical art courses.
Picnics in the park
The dividing line between the New Town and Old Town, Princes Street Gardens are a peaceful oasis even in the frenetic festival season. Buy food from Princes Street food halls for a decadent picnic, alongside locals enjoying a lunchtime break. Further south, and popular with students from the nearby university, The Meadows’ huge swathe of green is dotted with frisbees and footballs and snaked with cycle paths.
Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Pipe bands and Highland dancing take centre stage at this Edinburgh Castle show, but it’s more than just bagpipes, kilts and military costumes. Parachute displays and performers from over 40 countries impress the crowds, with the dramatic lone piper on the castle ramparts the crowning moment.