When spring exploded this year — in a patchwork blanket of bright colour, little leaves unfurling like party poppers — it felt new. To me, at least. I had no deja-vu; I couldn’t recall the same season in my Edinburgh memories from last year. It could well have been due to other distractions at the time but — whatever it was — spring seemed more vivid this time round.
A few Saturdays ago I had the afternoon to myself following a brilliant brunch with friends at Piecebox. Afterwards, I decided to go on the hunt for blossom, walking from the south of the city home via the city centre. En route I snapped some of Edinburgh’s best blossom spots and I wanted to share them here. There’s also a Google Maps route below — happy hunting!
A large grassland near Edinburgh University, the Meadows is one of Edinburgh’s best-known blossom spots. During spring, the park lanes erupt in pale pink, the trees that line the tarmac multiplying flowers as far as the eye can see. It’s a popular park, with students, families and professionals alike having weekend picnics, playing sport or even salsa dancing on the grass. Weave your way through the blossom and there’s even a Soderberg heading north towards the campus.
I didn’t expect this to be a blossom spot but — standard Edinburgh! — even the graveyards are beautiful. Although Greyfriars is the resting place of many famous Edinburgh natives, nowadays its more famous for Thomas Riddle’s grave (the alleged inspiration for Voldemort in Harry Potter). I’d reached the Grassmarket and wandered into the kirkyard on a whim, discovering several blossom trees overhanging the worn cobbles. Thought it made a pretty picture (is that a paradox, given the gravestones?!) Nearby, you can find Mary’s Milk Bar and Lovecrumbs coffee shop.
Weaving round colourful Victoria Street and onto the tourist-clogged Royal Mile, I headed for Ramsay Garden and its views over the New Town and to Fife. This is a quiet corner off Edinburgh’s busiest thoroughfare and I love the terracotta bricks and wild staircases of these upmarket apartments. From here, there’s a sharp descent to the Mound and then you find yourself in the Georgian New Town.
Princes Street Gardens
I’m not sure there’s anywhere more colourful than these gardens — which split the Old and New Towns — in spring. From the bold red and yellow tulips to the new green leaves and pink blossom, this is a perfect spot to admire nature in the heart of Edinburgh. Plus, it boasts some of the best views of the city. From here, you can spot the front of Ramsay Gardens (see above), the Balmoral, the Scott Monument, the line of tenements forming the Royal Mile and — most iconic of all — Edinburgh Castle. Beat that!
The last stop on my whistlestop walking tour is (I think) one of the nicest ways to finish off a day in Edinburgh. From the east end of Princes Street, I climbed a quick few flights of stairs and — surrounded by other sunset chasers — found myself on Calton Hill. With this guidebook-perfect view and an array of monuments to eyeball, you can quite easily spend a few hours up here watching the clouds colour the sky and noticing the first signs of spring unfolding below you.