In our latest gallery we feature urban walking routes taking in the best of Scotland’s seven cities – or was that eight?
Scotland’s capital has recently been voted one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and with its combination of stunning architecture spanning the centuries and its dramatic landscape, it’s the perfect city to explore on foot. We feature routes that explore the wonders of both the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town, but be sure not to miss areas like Dean Village, or the Botanic Gardens. The Water of Leith provides a cross-section through the whole city, the John Muir Way ploughs its own route across the Meadows just south of the centre, and the Scottish National Trail even makes a fleeting visit. But above all, of course, there are the hills, including Calton Hill (pictured) and the best known Arthur’s Seat. Here’s our complete list of Edinburgh walks.
By far the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow has delights to entice any keen urban explorer. Our city centre and Glasgow Green route may help you get your bearings, but gems like the fabulous Necropolis or Pollock Park well repay further exploration. The city is packed with fabulous Victorian architecture, but it is the buildings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh that are most renowned – visit many of them on our Mackintosh’s Glasgow walk. The city has changed completely over the last few decades, and few routes demonstrate this better than the early stages of the Clyde Walkway – with sights such as the Zaha Hadid’s Transport Museum and the Clyde Auditorium standing where once all was shipyards.
Aberdeen stands at the mouths of the Rivers Don and Dee and offers easy access to some stunning countryside, including the Cairngorms National Park. But the city itself is well worth exploring too, whether its the iconic Granite buildings of the city centre, the fine sandy beach and the medieval Old Aberdeen, or the atmospheric old fishing village of Footdee at the harbour. Dolphins are sometimes spotted from the Girdle Ness walk, whilst Aberdeen has some truly magnificent parks, especially Duthie and Hazlehead.
Our city walk in Dundee takes in many of its main attractions, beginning with Shackleton’s ship Discovery at the ambitious new and ever expanding waterfront development, which will eventually also host a new V&A museum. The walk leads through the centre past sights from Desperate Dan to the old jute mills at the Verdant Works; the climb up to Dundee Law reveals the finest views across the city.
The capital of the Highlands is not just a jumping off point for Scotland’s mountains – or the end point for the Great Glen Way. Promoted to city status to mark the millennium, Inverness is threaded by both the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal, and these two great waterways are combined to make this superb circular city walk. For a view out from the city into the Highlands, Craig Phadrig provides a good short walk from the suburbs.
Perth has a stunning setting astride the mighty River Tay, and the Kings and Queens of Scotland were crowned at Scone on its northern fringe, so justice was done when its historic city status was officially restored in 2012. Our city walk here is packed with interest, from shops to art, from beautiful parks to historic buildings – and a poetic menagerie. Don’t miss the ascent to the tower on Kinnoull Hill – surely amongst the finer viewpoints you can visit on a short walk from a city centre.
Stirling is another city to have only recently regained this status – this time in 2002. Although small, it styles itself as the Heart of Scotland – and the reasons are not merely geographic. The great castle here has helped to give Stirling a key place in Scottish history, with great Scots victories such as the Battles of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn fought in its shadow. Today the iconic Wallace Monument and the distinctive outline of Dumyat complete a unique landscape. Our city walk here takes in the castle, the old heart of the city and follows paths across its hills; it is packed with history and the views are superb.
Historically Elgin was a Cathedral city and a Royal Burgh – even the football team is Elgin City FC – but officialdom has it that Moray’s capital is now a town. No matter, our Elgin Explorer walk begins in the heart of the town, taking in the High Street, the ruined Cathedral, and the banks of the River Lossie before finishing with a visit to the prominent monument to the Duke of Gordon, giving a view over the whole…. (you decide).