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Top 10 Hidden Gems in Edinburgh

Updated: Mar 12

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track locations scattered across Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is one of Scotland's most visited cities, and with that comes the mass tourists. However, if you explore more, you will see some of the undiscovered beauties hidden in Edinburgh. From waterfalls to beaches, you'll definitely find something up your street.

In this article, we share the top 10 hidden gems in Edinburgh which you need to add to your Edinburgh bucket list this year.

1) Dean Village

If you're a massive Harry Potter fan, you'll love the vibes at Harry Potter! The beauty of this village is so simple yet unique and picturesque. If you're coming in from Waverley Station, its a good 30 minute straight-forward walk and a must-do when in Edinburgh. We recommend visiting early morning so you can spend a good amount of time here.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Dean Village

1) Where is Dean Village located?

Dean Village is nestled in a picturesque valley along the Water of Leith, just northwest of Edinburgh city center in Scotland. It's easily accessible by foot, bicycle, or public transportation.

2) What is the history of Dean Village?

Dean Village has a rich history dating back to the 12th century when it was home to grain mills powered by the Water of Leith. It served as an industrial hub for centuries before undergoing urban renewal efforts in the 20th century, transforming it into the charming residential area it is today.

3) Is Dean Village open to the public?

Yes, Dean Village is open to the public for exploration and enjoyment. Visitors can stroll along the scenic Water of Leith Walkway, admire the historic architecture, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of this hidden gem in Edinburgh.

Image of Dean Village in Edinburgh, Scotland

2) Linn Jaw Waterfall

Described as Livingston's best hidden gems, this gorgeous little waterfall is a true gem. However, due to rude landowners it can be quite difficult to access. Visitors can enjoy listening to the charming crackle of the falling water that stretches to afar.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Linn Jaw Waterfall

1) Where is Linn Jaw Waterfall located?

Linn Jaw Waterfall is situated in the heart of Beecraigs Country Park, near the town of Linlithgow in West Lothian, Scotland. It's easily accessible by car, with parking available nearby, and is a popular attraction for nature lovers and hikers.

2) What is the best time to visit Linn Jaw Waterfall?

Linn Jaw Waterfall is stunning year-round, but it's particularly breathtaking after heavy rainfall when the waterfall cascades down the rugged rock formations with impressive force. Spring and autumn are ideal seasons to visit when the surrounding landscapes burst with vibrant colors.

3) Are there hiking trails near Linn Jaw Waterfall?

Yes, there are several hiking trails in Beecraigs Country Park that lead to and around Linn Jaw Waterfall, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the area's natural beauty. The paths vary in difficulty, making it suitable for hikers of all levels, and provide excellent viewpoints of the waterfall and surrounding scenery.

Image of Linn Jaw Waterfall in Edinburgh, Scotland

3) Prestonpans Beach

A quiet beach in a town surrounded by historic buildings. You can enjoy views over to the Kingdom of Fife as well as the Three Queensferry Bigs. It may lack golden sand, so don't come here for a sandy beach. However it makes up for it with pottery shards, pipework, bricks, famous from the town's industrial past.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Prestonpans Beach

1) Where is Prestonpans Beach located?

Prestonpans Beach is situated in the coastal town of Prestonpans, which lies in East Lothian, Scotland. It offers stunning views of the Firth of Forth and is easily accessible by car, with parking available near the beach.

2) Is swimming allowed at Prestonpans Beach?

Yes, swimming is allowed at Prestonpans Beach, and it's a popular activity during the warmer months. However, visitors should be aware of the tides and currents, especially if swimming with children, and adhere to any safety signage displayed at the beach.

3) Are there any facilities available at Prestonpans Beach?

Yes, Prestonpans Beach is equipped with several facilities to enhance visitors' experience. These may include public toilets, picnic areas, and nearby cafes or restaurants where you can grab refreshments or snacks. Additionally, the beach is wheelchair accessible, allowing everyone to enjoy its beauty.

Image of Prestonpans Beach in Edinburgh, Scotland

4) Jupiter Artland

If you're looking for a magical day out, then Jupiter Artland is the hidden gem you need to put on top of your bucket list! You can enjoy a mixture of wonderful gardens, art and sculptures, and hidden pathways with beautiful walkways. It's great to come here when the sun is shining, so that you can appreciate the colours and panoramic views.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Jupiter Artland

1) Where is Jupiter Artland located?

Jupiter Artland is located just outside Edinburgh, in the village of Wilkieston, West Lothian, Scotland. It's easily accessible from Edinburgh city center by car or public transportation.

2) What can I expect to see at Jupiter Artland?

Jupiter Artland is a unique outdoor sculpture park and art gallery set within 100 acres of woodland and meadows. Visitors can explore a diverse range of contemporary artworks and installations created by renowned artists, as well as enjoy landscaped gardens and natural features.

3) Is Jupiter Artland suitable for children and families?

Yes, Jupiter Artland welcomes visitors of all ages, including families with children. The outdoor setting provides ample space for children to explore and engage with the artworks, and there are often interactive installations specifically designed for younger visitors. Additionally, the park hosts family-friendly events and workshops throughout the year.

Image of Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh, Scotland

5) Lauriston Castle

Lauriston Castle is quite known to locals and is just an ordinary castle, however those outside Edinburgh may not see it as just a castle. There's a cool Japanese garden which visitors can take a look around, and the castle even overlooks Cramond Island. If you're looking for an outdoor walk, we definitely recommend this gem.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Lauriston Castle

1) Where is Lauriston Castle located?

Lauriston Castle is situated in the Davidson's Mains area of Edinburgh, Scotland. It overlooks the Firth of Forth and is surrounded by beautiful grounds, making it a tranquil escape from the city.

2) What can I expect to see at Lauriston Castle?

Lauriston Castle is renowned for its stunning Edwardian interiors, including period furniture, artwork, and exquisite collections of ceramics and glassware. Visitors can explore the lavishly decorated rooms, stroll through the landscaped gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and coastline.

3) Is Lauriston Castle open to the public?

Yes, Lauriston Castle is open to the public for guided tours, exhibitions, and special events. Visitors can discover the fascinating history of the castle and its former inhabitants, as well as participate in workshops, concerts, and other cultural activities hosted on the estate throughout the year.

Image of Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland

6) Longniddry Bents

A quiet gorgeous sandy beach perfect for those walks with your fluffy companion. You can also paddle board at this beach which we definitely recommend! It is only £2 to park here all day, plus there is a really tasty Fish and Chip van at the beach! Pricey, but definitely worth it.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Longniddry Bents

1) What are Longniddry Bents?

Longniddry Bents are a stretch of sandy beaches located in East Lothian, Scotland, known for their scenic beauty and panoramic views of the Firth of Forth. The area is popular for leisurely walks, picnics, and birdwatching, offering a tranquil escape from urban life.

2) Are dogs allowed at Longniddry Bents?

Yes, dogs are permitted at Longniddry Bents, but it's essential to keep them under control and clean up after them to maintain the cleanliness of the beach. Dog owners are encouraged to adhere to local regulations and respect other beach users.

3) Is there parking available at Longniddry Bents?

Yes, there is parking available near Longniddry Bents, with designated parking areas conveniently located close to the beach access points. Visitors can park their vehicles and enjoy easy access to the beach, making it convenient for families and individuals alike.

Image of Longniddry Bents in Edinburgh, Scotland

7) Saltcoats Castle

These castle ruins are definitely worth a visit. Access to the castle grounds may be tricky but it is doable. Unfortunately the castle ruins are being left to rot and collapse, so please do take caution when visiting.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Saltcoats Castle

1) What is Saltcoats Castle?

Saltcoats Castle is a historic ruin located in the coastal town of Saltcoats, Ayrshire, Scotland. It is believed to date back to the 12th century and played a significant role in the region's history. Today, visitors can explore the remains of the castle and learn about its fascinating past.

2) Is Saltcoats Castle open to the public?

Yes, Saltcoats Castle is open to the public, and visitors are welcome to explore the site during daylight hours. While the castle itself is in ruins, it offers scenic views of the surrounding area and provides a glimpse into Scotland's medieval history.

3) Is there an admission fee for Saltcoats Castle?

No, there is no admission fee to visit Saltcoats Castle. The site is open to the public free of charge, making it accessible to all visitors interested in exploring its historic significance and enjoying its picturesque setting. However, donations to support the maintenance and preservation of the castle are always appreciated.

Image of Saltcoats Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland

8) Yellowcraig Beach

A beautiful beach filled with dunes and a forest behind it. Visitors can enjoy amazing views of Fidra Island as well as the inspiration behind Treasure Island. A lovely stretch of white sand and a peaceful atmosphere waits for you when you visit Yellowcraig Beach.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Yellowcraig Beach

1) What is Yellowcraig Beach?

Yellowcraig Beach is a stunning stretch of coastline located near North Berwick in East Lothian, Scotland. Known for its golden sands, rugged dunes, and scenic views of the Firth of Forth, it's a popular destination for beachgoers, walkers, and nature enthusiasts.

2) Is Yellowcraig Beach suitable for families?

Yes, Yellowcraig Beach is suitable for families and offers a range of amenities, including parking facilities, toilets, and picnic areas. The shallow waters and expansive sands make it ideal for children to play and explore, while adults can enjoy relaxing strolls along the shoreline.

3) Are dogs allowed on Yellowcraig Beach?

Yes, dogs are allowed on Yellowcraig Beach year-round. It's a dog-friendly beach where your furry friends can run off-leash and enjoy the fresh sea air. However, please remember to clean up after your pets and be mindful of other beachgoers.

Image of Yellowcraig Beach in Edinburgh, Scotland

9) Portobello Beach

Known as Edinburgh's best beach, you will more than likely find more crowds than normal at this beach. However, on some days it'll be quiet and you won't find every man and his dog there. If you are going (and it happens to be a weekend), we recommend getting there early.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Portobello Beach

1) What is Portobello Beach known for?

Portobello Beach is a charming seaside retreat located near Edinburgh, Scotland. Known for its long sandy shore, scenic promenade, and historic Victorian swimming pool, it offers visitors a delightful coastal experience just a short distance from the city center.

2) Is Portobello Beach suitable for swimming?

Yes, Portobello Beach is suitable for swimming during the warmer months of the year. The beach is regularly monitored for water quality, and designated swimming areas are marked for the safety of visitors. However, it's essential to be cautious of changing tides and currents.

3) Are there facilities available at Portobello Beach?

Yes, Portobello Beach offers various facilities to enhance visitors' experience. These include public toilets, cafes, restaurants, and shops along the promenade. Additionally, there are ample parking spaces nearby, making it convenient for visitors to access the beach.

Image of Portobello Beach in Edinburgh, Scotland

10) Haugh Road Beach

A beautiful and tranquil beach, much quieter than the West Bay Beach. Visitors can enjoy amazing views and a clean sandy beach which you visit this hidden gem. Head to Haugh Road Beach when you want to escape the crowds in Edinburgh.

FAQs/Things to know before visiting Haugh Road Beach

1) Where is Haugh Road Beach located?

Haugh Road Beach is situated in North Berwick, a charming coastal town in East Lothian, Scotland. It offers a serene and picturesque setting for visitors seeking a relaxing day by the sea.

2) Is Haugh Road Beach suitable for swimming?

Yes, Haugh Road Beach is suitable for swimming, particularly during the warmer months of the year. The clear waters and sandy shoreline provide an inviting environment for beachgoers to enjoy a refreshing dip.

3) What facilities are available at Haugh Road Beach?

Haugh Road Beach offers various facilities to enhance visitors' experience. These include public toilets, nearby parking options, and easy access to the town's amenities such as cafes, restaurants, and shops. Additionally, lifeguards may be present during peak seasons to ensure the safety of swimmers.

Image of Haugh Road Beach in Edinburgh, Scotland

We hoped you enjoyed discovering the local finds and less known places which are scattered around Edinburgh. We are confident that visiting some of these hidden gems will make your Edinburgh trip even more memorable!

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