15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

View from Calton Hill

15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

Oil your bike wheels ready for this 15km route, which can be extended by riding around the parks or repeating the route. See fantastic city views from Calton Hill and within the city along this well-paved route.

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Starting on Princes Street, riding towards Scott Monument. At Scott Monument, turn left up South St David Street. This street is a hill, so you can continue straight on Princes Street, but you may want to walk your bike as it gets busy. Pass around St Andrew Square or turn right into the street just before the Square to reach West Register Street and back onto Princes Street. Continue straight until you reach steps up onto Calton Hill; you’ll need to carry your bike for this piece.

Part 1 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle from Princes Street to Andrew Square

Part 1 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

St Andrews Square Field of Lights Installation by Chris Fleming

St Andrews Square Field of Lights Installation by Chris Fleming

One will likely not get a more picturesque viewpoint of the city and beyond than at Calton Hill. Monuments and buildings such as the National Monument, Nelson Monument, and City Observatory are scattered over the hill. The National Monument, meant to resemble the Parthenon in Athens, served as a memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors in the Napoleonic War. However, due to a lack of funds, it was left unfinished, which, in typical Scottish fashion, then developed a few nicknames such as “Edinburgh’s Disgrace” and “Scotland’s Folly”. You will most likely find several people posing for photos between the pillars.

View from Calton Hill after sunset

View from Calton Hill after sunset

National Monument of Scotland

National Monument of Scotland

Walking down from Calton Hill back onto Princes Street, which becomes Regent Road, turn left and follow this road straight to Portobello Beach.

Part 2 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle from Calton Hill down Regent Street

Part 2 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

Part 3 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle to Portobello Beach

Part 3 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

Portobello Beach has two miles of sand for one to enjoy at any time of day. Several of the Georgian and Victorian buildings you see are also protected within the conservation area. Within these buildings are bars and cafes that offer meals, drinks, and, of course, the classic beach treat- ice cream!

Portobello Beach at sunset

Portobello Beach at sunset

Head back up the same road you came from and look out for Meadowbank on your left towards Holyrood Park onto Duke’s Walk, then left into Queen’s Drive.

Part 4 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle from Portobello Beach

Part 4 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

Part 5 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle down Duke's Walk, Queen's Drive to Holyrood Park

Part 5 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

Holyrood Park consists of Arthur’s Seat, the remains of a volcano as its pinnacle, four Dark Age forts, and 360 views of Edinburgh. Any route you take through, up, or down the park will offer unfiltered beauty.

Arthur Seat, Holyrood Park, and Salisbury Crags

Arthur Seat, Holyrood Park, and Salisbury Crags. Credit: Robert Linsdell

Follow Queen’s Drive road until you reach a roundabout to turn left into the next roundabout. Take the second exit onto Holyrood Park Road. At the T in the road, turn right onto Dalkeith Road, then immediately left onto East Preston Street.

Part 6 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle from Holyrood Park to East Preston Street

Part 6 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

At the next T in the road, turn right onto Causewayside. Turn left towards the pathway, which forks at the intersection by Summerhall (on your right). You can turn right straight into the park or left to ride along the main road, then right at the next intersection into Middle Meadow Walk.

Part 7 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle to The Meadows

Part 7 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

The Meadows shares its beauty in every season: cherry blossom trees in spring, foggy mists in winter, lush green grass in summer, and vibrantly colourful leaves in autumn. You can even peep Arthur’s Seat from this park. You may need to cycle slowly as The Meadows can be bustling with students and dog walkers.

The Meadows along the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park cycle

The Meadows

Ride along any of the branches of pathways if you wish to extend the route. Find your way back onto Middle Meadow Walk. Ride towards and pass the Meadows Compass. Continue straight onto Forrest Road, which becomes George IV Bridge Road, then turn left onto North Bank Street. Follow the road curve onto The Mound, where Prince Street Gardens will be on your left.

Part 9 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle to the Mound next to Princes Street Gardens

Part 9 of the 15km Edinburgh Calton Hill and Holyrood Park Cycle

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If you enjoyed this route, see our 11km Tranquil Duddingston, Fisherrow Sands Edinburgh Cycle.

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