Located on the west coast of Scotland, the capital city of Edinburgh is an ideal destination for those who love exploring vibrant neighbourhoods, discovering historical architecture and ruins, and taking in beautiful views. From wandering Old Town’s cobbled streets to connecting with Edinburgh’s culture in the West End to watching panoramic sunset views from Arthur’s Seat, this diverse city has plenty of charming backdrops to capture your memories. Let’s walk through the top ten places to take photos in Edinburgh you won’t want to miss on your next trip to the UK.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Scotland’s most famous landmark, Edinburgh Castle, is a national monument set atop picturesque Castle Rock. With a long and rich history as a royal residence, Edinburgh Castle comes alive when you hear its many exciting tales. This iconic landmark is prominently placed on one of the highest spots in the city, so as you explore, you’ll find it appears whenever you turn a corner. The view never gets old and provides countless photo opportunities throughout your visit.
If history isn’t your thing, the view from Edinburgh Castle is worth a visit alone! Enjoy panoramic views overlooking Princes Street Gardens and the Edinburgh skyline in the distance. While the castle is beautiful to visit at any time of the day, we recommend timing your visit at sunset so you can enjoy the benefit of the gorgeous golden hour lighting shining over Edinburgh. ✨
2. Royal Mile
The bustling Royal Mile is a lively and vibrant street based in Edinburgh’s Old Town. As you wander through cobblestone streets lined with colourful buildings, you’ll quickly understand why this is the most famous street in all of Edinburgh. 🏙️
Connecting two royal residences, the Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House, this area is historically and culturally significant. It is also home to many local businesses including pubs, cafes, and quirky retail shops. With all of this to offer, it’s no wonder this is our most popular photo route in Edinburgh!
3. Arthur’s Seat
Arthur’s Seat is one of the most famous landmarks in all of Scotland, and for good reason! One of the best views of Edinburgh’s skyline is seen from Arthur’s Seat, as its location provides the ideal vantage point for panoramic views of the city and beyond. Located in Holyrood Park, found at the end of the Royal Mile, this large, grass-covered hill is the remains of an extinct volcano – a truly unique location. ⛰️
Arthur’s Seat is popular with locals and tourists alike, as it is relatively easy to climb. For those who enjoy rock climbing, Salisbury Crags, located at the spur of the hill, has historically been a rock climbing venue with routes of various degrees of difficulty. This is a great place to enjoy living like a local at one of the best places to take photos in Edinburgh.
4. Calton Hill
Set atop a hill in Edinburgh’s city centre, this UNESCO Heritage Site offers sweeping views of the entire city. From Edinburgh Castle to Arthur’s Seat to St Mary’s Loch, you can see it all! Nicknamed ‘Edinburgh’s Acropolis,’ this historical site is home to a handful of Scottish monuments, including the Dugald Stewart Monument, designed by Scottish architect William Henry Playfair. Some of these buildings are still actively used by the government to this date.
Aside from its historical significance, Calton Hill is a popular spot for picnics and casual leisure activities, so pack a lunch, enjoy exploring the architecture, and settle in for a picnic lunch overlooking Edinburgh. If you’re more of a morning person, you’re in luck! Calton Hill is known to have the best sunrise views, so be sure to snap some stunning photos of Edinburgh during an early visit. 📸
When asked to describe Edinburgh, a common descriptor that comes up is ‘fairytale,’and if you visit Stockbridge, you’ll understand why! Cobblestone streets, elegant architecture, serene parks, and luscious gardens all come together in one seriously instagrammable location. 😍
Located just a 15-minute walk from the city centre, this charming corner of Edinburgh has a delightful village feel. Browse locally-made crafts, food, and jewelry at the Stockbridge Market or window shop at the specialty shops and thrift stores that line the streets. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to take in the spectacular sights at the Royal Botanic Garden, a wonderful place for a stroll.
6. Grassmarket & Princes Street Gardens
If you’re looking for a bit of greenery, Princes Street Gardens is a must-visit! The most famous park in Edinburgh, the Princes Street Gardens are an oasis amidst the bustling energy of the city. Enjoy picturesque views of the castle above as you pass by Ross Fountain, the Sir Walter Scott Monument, and the stunning greenery around every turn. 🌿
After you’ve taken in the sights at the gardens, make your way toward Grassmarket, a collective of designers and artisans. Located at a historical former livestock market, the Grassmarket is bursting with some of the best shopping Edinburgh has to offer. And a bonus? It has one of the best photo spots for capturing the Edinburgh Castle from afar: the Vennel Steps. These steps are located down a tiny alleyway tucked behind Grassmarket. Climb to the top for a fantastic view and picture-perfect scene.
7. Circus Lane & St. Stephen Street
One of the most photogenic locations in the city, it’s no wonder Circus Lane is known as one of the top places to take photos in Edinburgh. With its enticing shopfronts and charming cafés, this hidden gem makes for a captivating escape from the busy city streets. Take your time wandering through – there are charming details everywhere you look and you’ll want to soak them all in! 🌸
Explore a little longer and stroll along St Stephen St toward the Water of Leith, the main river that flows through Edinburgh. One of many beautiful places located in Stockbridge, you’ll feel like you’re living in a fairytale, which isn’t far from the truth!
8. West End
If you’re one to follow the locals, you’ll likely find yourself at another one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems, the West End Village. This quaint village is known as the cultural heart of Edinburgh, and for good reason! The West End is home to countless art venues and historic architecture, as well as many of Edinburgh’s much-loved pubs, restaurants, and stylish boutiques. You don’t want to visit Edinburgh without exploring the West End – it holds the key to many authentic Scottish experiences, like whisky tasting and highland dance. Between shopping, dining, and the arts, there’s certainly no shortage of things to explore in this captivating neighbourhood! 🎭
9. Dean Village
Located just minutes away from iconic Princes Street, you can find Dean Village, a beautiful oasis right by the Water of Leith walkway. Historically, the was the area of Edinburgh that held water mills, so throughout the village, you will come across mill stones adorned with bread and pie carvings – a truly unique sight! 🥧
Follow Dean Path and Damside toward the heart of the village, where you will find Well Court, the most iconic building in the area. Well Court was built in the 1880s and housed local mill workers.
From here, round out the day with a visit to Dean Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Both buildings were refurbished to be used as art galleries, and are well worth a visit for the architecture alone.
10. St. Margaret’s Loch
Located near Holyrood Palace, you will find St. Margaret’s Loch, a lovely pond perfect for wildlife spotting. Once a boggy marshland, the loch was formed in 1856 as part of Prince Albert’s improvement plans for the area surrounding the palace. In the past, the loch has been used for boating but is now home to many ducks, geese, and swans. From the loch, you can spot St Anthony’s Chapel Ruins and an incredible view of Arthur’s Seat, a breathtaking scene worthy of capturing! 🦢
Capturing memories in Edinburgh
There’s no doubt about it – Edinburgh is a truly unique destination. No matter what you choose to do, the Scottish capital will leave you in awe with its stunning landmarks, fascinating historical sites, vibrant neighbourhoods, and captivating arts and culture. From wandering through the streets to having a pint at the pub, you will find many things to do and places to take photos in Edinburgh. Book a Flytographer shoot to capture your memories in this lively city full of history and wonder. ✨
“Kim was an absolute delight to work with! She made us feel comfortable and captured our candid moments beautifully (even the heel click!). The streets of Edinburgh were gorgeous, and she was able to give us the gift of beautiful photos to remember our trip by, and even bring out my husband’s inner dancer. Thank you!”
“Shay was the absolute best! We did not get our luggage in time for our photoshoot. Shay was amazing in helping us navigate where to get some essentials so we could be ready for our early morning photoshoot. She took us to the best spots throughout Edinburgh and beautifully captured my daughter with the city backdrops. She also gave us tips and ideas on where to visit, eat and things not to miss. She was an absolute delight to work with and I highly recommend using her for all your photography needs in Scotland!”
“Kim was incredible! From the moment we met, she made us feel comfortable and safe to be ourselves in front of the camera. As we went through our shoot, we talked like we were friends. She let us do our thing while taking beautiful candids, but she also gave us guidance for some gorgeous posed (but natural) shots. This shoot was one of the highlights of our trip and we’ve been telling everyone about it and how amazing and professional Kim was to work with! Hands down a must-do experience and if you can shoot with Kim, you won’t be disappointed!”