For a city that evolved as a collection of villages, modern day Edinburgh still has a high concentration of green spaces in which to recreate. When the weather forces even the hardiest of locals to stay undercover, there are still of plenty of ways to keep active indoors.
For first-timers to Edinburgh, the five-kilometre circuit up Arthur’s Seat is a must-do. Run or walk one of several routes for fantastic views over The Castle and city, or get lost in Holyrood Gardens or Calton Hill.
Limber up for the challenging rock climbing, bouldering and abseiling at one of Europe’s largest indoor climbing centre; Ratho. For those less keen on rocks and ropes, do a fitness class or tone up in the gym.
Regardless of the weather skiers are guaranteed downhill action all year round at the Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend. Rent all the gear, take a lesson or experience a twilight run on Europe’s longest artificial ski slope.
Experienced golfers are spoilt for choice at Edinburgh’s myriad of golf clubs. For novices wanting to try out Scotland’s oldest game, head to Bruntsfield Links where anyone can play the short hole course for free. Hire clubs from the nearby Golf Tavern.
Visit the city’s many parks or explore walking trails along waterways and into the countryside. Or head to the city outskirts and The Pentland Hills, a sprawling network of sign-posted paths with spectacular views of the Midlothian countryside.
The Commonwealth Leisure Centre has three pools, gym and the popular Aquarun inflatable obstacle course. In the shadow of Arthur’s Seat and boasting a recent refurb, the Commie is a popular indoor option for locals.
Try your hand at this traditional Scottish sport played on ice using flat stones and brooms; think a cold version of lawn bowls. The Edinburgh Curling Club runs occasional try-out sessions and they’re a hoot.
Explore Edinburgh on two wheels via a network of cycle paths and off-road routes tracing redundant nineteenth century railway lines. The Inner Tube is a locally produced map detailing routes and places to stop en route.
Hire sea kayaks and paddle the magnificent Forth estuary amongst seals, dolphins and sea birds (if you’re lucky you might even spot a puffin). For inner city aqua adventures, Bridge 8 Hub rent kayaks, SUPs and other craft for exploring the canals and waterways of South West Edinburgh.
In summer the locals head to North Berwick, Portobello or Crammond beaches for sand castles, swimming and strolls along the beach front. Don’t miss the seaside amusement arcades and fish and chips. The Turkish Baths at Portobello are a treat.
The area around Edinburgh is one of the top Scottish destinations for sea and inland fishing. Cast a line in the River Almond or off the waters of Leith. Local tackle shops and tour operators are a rich source of knowledge.