blackford hill summit edinburgh
Edinburgh,  Scotland

Blackford Hill & The Hermitage Of Braid In Edinburgh – Quick Guide

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Last Updated On 6th February 2024 By Lauren | Wild Lovely World

In this post, discover everything you need to know about Blackford Hill, Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Pond in Edinburgh in this quick guide.

Blackford Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Edinburgh. It is located in the area of Blackford between Morningside and the Braid Hills in Edinburgh. Blackford Hill is 164m (538ft) high, and together with the Braid Hills and the Hermitage of Braid, comprises a 149-acre Local Nature Reserve called, funnily enough, the “Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve“.

Blackford Hill was formed 400 million years ago by volcanic rocks in a similar fashion to its buddy the Braids. But its formation is different from the volcanic plugs and intrusions which created the other five hills of Edinburgh.

Agassiz Rock, close to the disused Quarry below the hill (within the nature reserve) is also of geological and historical interest. It was the first evidence of the action of glaciers to be found in Scotland and is named after the Swiss-American geologist Louis Agassiz. He made the discovery of the rock and its significance in 1840 on a trip to study Scotland’s hills. Pretty cool!

In this post, we take a deep dive into the Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve. We look at the best things to see and do in the area, including Blackford Pond, Hermitage House and the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh. There are plenty of interesting walks to do in the reserve too. This guide also explains the best ways to travel to Blackford Hill by public transport and by car.

Blackford Hill is No. 2 in our Quick Guide to The Seven Hills of Edinburgh series. Check out the full series here: The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh: A Quick Guide

Quick Guide To Blackford Hill & The Hermitage Of Braid In Edinburgh

Edinburgh Travel Inspiration:

fiachra descending blackford hill edinburgh
Fiachra descending Blackford Hill, Edinburgh – © Wild Lovely World

Location Map Of Blackford Hill

Here is a Google map of the location of Blackford Hill and the Hermitage of Braid in Edinburgh:

Walks & Hiking At Blackford Hill & The Hermitage Of Braid In Edinburgh

Blackford is a great little hill to climb in Edinburgh. It isn’t very high or particularly difficult but is full of gorgeous and diverse terrain. You’ll cross open grassland, see wild flora and fauna and explore dense woodland (30 acres of it!).

Blackford Hill offers lovely views of Edinburgh, the Braid Hills, Arthur’s Seat and the Pentlands (bigger hills/mountains south of the city).

It has many great and well-maintained tracks and trails some of which are paved, and there are also steps which go up to the summit (check wheelchair accessibility here on this trail map).

You can do this hill easily with trainers if you stick to the tracks.

A walk around Blackford Hill can easily be combined with the Braid Hills as it is directly opposite. The Hermitage of Braid is also a beautiful walk to do in autumn in Edinburgh.

You can follow the route map at WalkHighlands for a good 1.5-hour walk of the Hermitage of Braid and a loop around Blackford Hill.

Related Reads:

view of arthurs seat and edinburgh from blackford hill
View of Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh from Blackford Hill – © Wild Lovely World

Royal Observatory Of Edinburgh

On Blackford Hill is the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, a large radio transmitter and a meteorological station.

The Royal Observatory buildings are architecturally lovely. However, the observatory can’t be accessed unless you book one of their visiting events. Check here for more information on what’s on at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh Visitor Centre.

blackford hill summit marker
Blackford Hill summit – © Wild Lovely World

Blackford Pond

Close by is the Blackford Pond, a lovely little spot with benches, ducks and swans and a small play area for kids.

There is a nice walking trail that goes by the pond with information signs about local wildlife.

ducks and swans at blackford pond edinburgh
Blackford Pond – © Wild Lovely World

The Hermitage Of Braid

The Hermitage of Braid is a pretty little walk along the river Braid Burn. It is one of my favourite places for a short walk in Edinburgh. The area is especially nice in the autumn to see the beautiful colourful leaves! If you follow the path along the Braid all the way to the end it will eventually lead you to Blackford Hill.

Also at the Hermitage of Braid are some cool historic sites, including a walled garden with gorgeous flowers, a doocot, an ice house and the Hermitage House. The house was built in 1785 and designed by architect Robert Burn. It gives the area its name.

There is a Visitor Centre inside the Hermitage House, so you can go in and take a look. Within the area is a permanent orienteering course. You can buy maps at Hermitage House for £2 or print your own.

Related Read: 9 Beautiful Autumnal Walks In Edinburgh To See Colourful Scenery

hermitage of braid edinburgh river autumn walk leaves
A walk along the Hermitage of Braid in autumn – © Wild Lovely World
hermitage house edinburgh
Hermitage House, Edinburgh – © Wild Lovely World

How To Get To Blackford Hill & The Hermitage Of Braid In Edinburgh

Getting To Blackford Hill & The Hermitage Of Braid By Public Transport

To get to the Hermitage of Braid, take Lothian Bus services 11, 15 or 15A to Comiston Road and start at the entrance to the Hermitage on Braid Road (just past a little coffee shop).

To get to Blackford Pond, take Lothian Bus service 41 to Cluny Gardens.

Getting To Blackford Hill & The Hermitage Of Braid By Car

There is plenty of free parking along the main road at the entrance to the Hermitage of Braid.

You can also drive up the hill and park in the car park at the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh.

Quick Guide To Blackford Hill & The Hermitage Of Braid In Edinburgh – Thanks For Reading!

I hope that this post has given you useful insight into the best things to see and do at Blackford Hill and the Hermitage of Braid Local Nature Reserve. I wish you all the best for your time in Edinburgh! – Lauren x

Blackford Hill is No. 2 in our Quick Guide to The Seven Hills of Edinburgh series. Check out the full series here: The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh: A Quick Guide

wild lovely world thanks for reading end of blog post
Thanks for reading! 🙂 – © Wild Lovely World

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Lauren is a coffee and cat obsessed travel writer from the U.K., specialising in solo female, couple travel and budget backpacking. She has previously lived in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, England and Scotland. Follow her adventures around the world on her blog WildLovelyWorld.com

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