Seven Hills of Edinburgh
Edinburgh,  Scotland

The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh: A Quick Guide

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Last Updated On 18th July 2021 By Lauren | Wild Lovely World

Edinburgh, the “Athens of the North”, is traditionally said to have been built on seven hills, in an allusion to the city of Rome which was also supposedly built on seven hills.

There are, in fact, well more than seven hills in Edinburgh which makes for a considerable debate over which hills are included and excluded from the seven.

However, the seven in this quick guide are widely considered to be the seven hills, as they are all within the main city centre area and have summits at a high prominence.

In addition, these seven are all listed on the sign on the summit of The Braid Hills (no. 3 below!), so I think it’s pretty safe to say these are the famous seven!

The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh

  1. Arthur’s Seat
  2. Blackford Hill
  3. Braid Hills
  4. Calton Hill
  5. Castle Rock
  6. Corstorphine Hill
  7. Craiglockhart Hill

Seven Hills Race

Annually in June, there is a race called the “Seven Hills” in which participants aim to race up and down all these seven hills as fast as they can, which covers a distance of about 14 miles and 670.5m (2200ft) of ascent/descent.

Well, I’m not sure I’d be up for that, but all seven are really awesome to explore and definitely worth a visit if you’re in the city.

Hiking The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh

I’ve climbed them all (a day at a time) and they make a lovely walk for a couple of hours in a morning or afternoon.

Getting to a higher elevation is also a great way to navigate and get orientated with the city and see it from different perspectives.

Each has it’s own charm, history, nature and surprises so take a look at what’s on offer and see what you fancy.

Quick Guide To The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh

I have written quick guides for all Seven Hills of Edinburgh. These quick guides will give you an overview of all seven hills, how to get there (including by public transport), what to expect and why they’re so special.

1. Arthur’s Seat

arthurs seat hiking viewpoint edinburgh
At the top of Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh. Get a cool photo with the city!

Arthur’s Seat is perhaps the most famous and prominent of all the Seven Hills of Edinburgh.

The extinct volcano of Arthur’s Seat is very accessible from Edinburgh city centre. It is located near to Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament at the end of the Royal Mile.

A hike up Arthur’s Seat is a short, steep challenge. Those who attempt it will be well rewarded with beautiful views of Edinburgh and beyond!

Arthur’s Seat is very popular with visitors to Edinburgh. It is a nice place to go for a short walk.

2. Blackford Hill

fiachra descending blackford hill edinburgh
Fiachra descending Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

Blackford Hill is a really beautiful place to visit. Between Morningside and The Braid Hills, Blackford Hill together with the Braid Hills and the Hermitage of Braid comprises a 149 acre Local Nature Reserve called the “Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve“.

The volcanic nature of the hill and Agassiz Rock are of geological and historical interest. Other highlights are the Blackford Pond and the Hermitage of Braid which is a lovely place to go for an interesting walk. Visit Hermitage House Visitor Centre to learn more about the area.

The Hermitage of Braid is particularly beautiful to visit in the autumn. Check out this post: Autumn In Edinburgh: The Best Places To See Colourful Leaves

Blackford Hill is also home to the Royal Obervatory of Edinburgh.

There are lots of walking tracks in this area and plenty to do for everyone. It’s well worth checking out!

3. Braid Hills

lauren jumping on the braid hills
Lauren jumping on the Braid Hills

The most beautiful of the Seven Hill of Edinburgh has to be The Braid Hills. The pretty hills are a lovely site when covered with the striking, bright yellow flower gorse.

There is a fantastic loop walk which circles The Braid Hills, making it a great spot for a short walk. From the walk, you’ll have excellent views of Edinburgh and beyond.

At the summit of the Braid Hills you will find the Seven Hills Of Edinburgh outlook. From here you can see all the Seven Hills of Edinburgh.

The Braid Hills are popular with horse riders and golf players with the bridal paths and golf course there too.

4. Calton Hill

Calton Hill edinburgh
View from the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh

A popular spot for taking the best views of Edinburgh is on the top of Calton Hill.

This short hill is just minutes from Princes Street in Edinburgh’s city centre.

There are several monuments on the top, as well as a new art gallery in the old observatory building.

The view of Edinburgh from Calton Hill is perhaps the most recognised image of Edinburgh.

It is a must do to climb the short walk up Calton Hill and see this for yourself!

5. Castle Rock

edinburgh castle spring
Edinburgh Castle in spring

Castle Rock is perhaps the most famous hill in Edinburgh as it is the home of Edinburgh Castle*. However, most may be surprised to learn that this is also one of the seven hills – I certainly was!

The volcanic Castle Rock is actually the plug of an extinct volcano. Much of the sedimentary rock surrounding the volcanic rock has fallen away, leaving the black basalt exposed.

The rock has been a strategic position for a hill fort since the Iron Age. Edinburgh Castle has called Castle Rock home for around 900 years. The castle seems as if it has grown directly out of the rock itself!

Castle Rock is a dominating feature in Edinburgh. It has become an iconic landmark. You surely won’t miss it on your visit to Edinburgh!

6. Corstorphine Hill

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Corstorphine Hill Tower on Corstorphine Hill

Corstorphine Hill is somewhat of a hidden gem in Edinburgh. It is located in the west of Edinburgh near to Murrayfield Stadium (the home of Scottish Rugby) and the Edinburgh Zoo.

The beautiful Corstorphine Local Nature Reserve is largely a forested area. This makes it a great place to go for a walk in autumn. Check out my guide to autumn walks in Edinburgh here: Autumn In Edinburgh: The Best Places To See Colourful Leaves

There are several paths that wander through the woodland on Corstorphine Hill. Among other highlights, you’ll discover the historic Corstorphine Tower, a memorial to Sir Walter Scott.

Robert Louis Stevenson also loved Corstorphine Hill and took inspiration from it to write some of his stories.

Nearby to Corstorphine Hill is the Edinburgh Zoo. So don’t be alarmed if you see a zebra or hear a lion roar while walking on Corstorphine Hill!

7. Craiglockhart Hill

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Fiachra at the summit of Wester Craiglockhart Hill

Lastly, we have the Craiglockhart Hills. There are actually two hills that form the Craiglockhart Hills – one of Wester Craiglockhart and one is Easter Craiglockhart.

These hills are perhaps my least favourite of all the Seven Hills of Edinburgh, but they are still a nice place to go for a short walk.

Craiglockhart Pond is a scenic place to spot birds. Craiglockhart woods is a beautiful hide away from city life.

Free Guide Map Of The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh

Check out this free map I made for your showing all Seven Hills of Edinburgh.

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Quick Guide To The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh

I hope you find this guide useful and it inspires you to go for a walk (or run!). If you’ve been up or down any or all of them, please share your thoughts/hints/tips in the comments below – I’d love to hear what you think!

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Looking for more awesome stuff to do in Edinburgh? Check out these posts:

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