Explore Calton Hill in Edinburgh

If you want a good spot to snap some panoramic pictures of Edinburgh, and you don’t fancy hiking all the way up to Arthur’s seat, or you just want a nice space to chill out in Edinburgh, then Calton Hill is a great activity to add to your stack.

What's the best spot in Edinburgh?

Offering some of the best views of Edinburgh, Calton Hill sits a few minutes walk away at the east end of Waverely Station.

There is a clear view of Calton Hill as soon as you exit Waverley station – located a short distance from Edinburgh’s famous shopping street, the usually quiet hill offers a very interesting collection of monuments await you after a short, yet steep walk up the hill. The most fascinating, the National Monument, inspired by Greek architecture and resembling the Parthenon in Athens sits at the centre. Close by is the Nelson Monument, a tower with a free museum and stairs to climb that offer perhaps an even better view of the city. The biggest of the buildings is the City Observatory, which regularly hosts art exhibitions, with a restaurant and viewing terrace which both offer more spectacular views of the city.

Come festival season in August, Calton Hill is host to plenty of events, as well as in April, when you can see the Beltane Fire Festival. Many of Edinburgh’s famous landmarks can also be seen from the hill, such as Arthur’s seat and a fantastic view of Princes Street.

  • Calton Hill is easily accessed by a short walk east from Waverley Station.
  • It takes roughly five minutes to reach the monuments at the top from the south entrance.

 

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What's on in Edinburgh

Charity Garden Opening - Hunter's Tryst

13 - 26 August, 2022
Well-stocked and beautifully designed, mature, medium-sized town garden comprising herbaceous and shrub beds, lawn, fruit and some vegetables, water features, seating areas, trees and an example of cloud pruning. This is a wildlife-friendly garden that has been transformed from a wilderness 38 years ago and continues to evolve. In 2017 two raised beds were added to the front garden. This hidden treasure of a garden was featured on The Beechgrove Garden in June 2015 and on The Instant Gardener in June 2016. As we were unable to open in 2021 due to serious house damage, it is particularly exciting to be able to welcome everybody back in 2022. This is a fundraising event for the open garden charity Scotland’s Gardens Scheme which raises money for hundreds of local charities.

Charity Garden Opening - 14 East Brighton Crescent

13 - 26 August, 2022
Roughly two-thirds of an acre suburban garden, developed over 40 years. People have said the following about it: 'A little bit of countryside in the town', 'Booming with green', 'A bosky bower' and 'There is such a wide range of plant material and every little corner holds a new gem'. This is a fundraising event for the open garden charity Scotland’s Gardens Scheme which raises money for hundreds of local charities.

Curious About Edinburgh

13 - 26 August, 2022
Heritage walk through historic Edinburgh, with an optional treasure hunt.

Edinburgh Art Festival

13 - 26 August, 2022
Scotland's largest annual celebration of visual art offers work by the best contemporary Scottish artists as well as exhibitions of the most important international artists and movements of the 20th century and other historical periods. This year, ten artists from previous Edinburgh Art Festival editions will present their work online to mark the dates of what would have been the 2020 event.

Edinburgh International Festival

13 - 26 August, 2022
Bringing world-class arts to the capital since 1947, the EIF sets the standard for classical concerts, opera, dance and theatre, while it's recently also added an excellent contemporary music strand.

International Comedy Jam

13 - 26 August, 2022

Psycho Capital: Calum Craik

13 - 26 August, 2022
Calum Craik’s new installation for Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop's street front gallery, examines the current neoliberal capitalist landscape through the lens of the objects and imagery it produces. The viewer is invited to navigate through a stage set of construction debris, precarious worker uniforms, defensive architecture and AirBnB rentals to arrive at a psychological space as much as a physical one. His sculptural vocabulary uses discarded materials and everyday items to examine labour, class, changing economies and complicity. 

Late Show Great Show

13 - 26 August, 2022

MaX-XiM

13 - 26 August, 2022

Dandelion -- Unexpected Garden: Edinburgh

13 - 26 August, 2022
28 April-11 September Situated to the north west of Edinburgh city centre, this Unexpected Garden is based in a truly remarkable location. Lauriston Farm is neighbour to Lauriston Castle, with dramatic views of the North Sea, surrounded by the communities of Silverknowes, Muirhouse and Cramond. A small mound has been landscaped into a gentle amphitheatre, filled with coastal planting and wild crop relatives, that will give a vantage point from which to take in the 100 acres of Lauriston Farm, where Edinburgh Agroecology Cooperative has been working hard to transform empty fields, marking out plots for community allotments, creating wildflower meadows and planting over 9,000 trees. A welcoming place to gather amidst this evolving setting, the Unexpected Garden will feature an earthen event and workshop space, built over the summer, where all comers are invited to help create large-scale puppets, banners and costumes celebrating the local community, food production and biodiversity. Don't miss the resulting musical procession - supported by North Edinburgh Arts - at a harvest event on 10 September. Events: Open Day- 25 June 2-5pm Please visit Dandelion.Scot for the most up to date information about the events at the garden.

Leon Morrocco: Long Road Home

13 - 26 August, 2022
This summer the Royal Scottish Academy will present Leon Morrocco: Long Road Home. Timed to coincide with the artist’s 80th birthday, the exhibition will position Leon Morrocco RSA as one of the most important Scottish painters of his generation. Although Morrocco was born in Edinburgh he has not lived in Scotland since 1979. This substantial survey exhibition charts the ‘long road home’ to showing in the Scottish capital this summer. Morrocco is one of the RSA’s longest standing members, having been elected an Associate of the Academy in 1971 at the age of 29. Highlighting lesser-known aspects of Morrocco’s long career, the exhibition will provide an insightful look at the practice of this celebrated, influential artist.

Zippos Cirque Berserk

13 - 26 August, 2022
Combining contemporary cirque style artistry with adrenaline fuelled stunt action, this astoundingly talented international troupe includes over thirty jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers, and daredevil stuntmen showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills. Don’t miss the world’s most hair-raising act – the legendary motorcycle ‘Globe of Death’, live in the circus ring.