3km Relaxed Circus Lane and Princes Street Gardens Run
This short 3km run is all paved with a quick detour down a beautiful cobble-stoned street. This route is also mostly traffic-free and can be extended by repeating the route or running around and through Inverleith Park and Princes Street Gardens.
You can find Inverleith Park just opposite the Botanical Gardens, which offers free entry to visitors. You can walk around the Botanical Gardens as a warm-up (they don’t allow runners or cyclists), then continue and start your run at Inverleith Park. Right next to the Inverleith Pond is the sundial garden. The sundial was restored in 2018 to mark 150 years since the company it represents (Kinloch Anderson) was founded. You can lap this park as you like.
Exit at Arboretum Place towards Inverleith Terrace onto Arboretum Avenue. Follow the curves of the road, then turn sharp left onto Bridge Place or St Bernard’s Place and turn almost immediately right onto the Water of Leith Walkway (you will see the sign on a lamp post).
Look out for the staircase leading onto the bridge to turn left onto Deanhaugh Street. Turn left onto St Stephen Street, follow the curve, then turn right onto Circus Lane.
Circus Lane is one of the most photographed spots in Edinburgh; it’s easy to see why. Lovely ivy-covered walls, colourful roses, and cobble-stoned streets. This street is usually emptiest in the early mornings before 9 am and the afternoons around 4 pm. Built in the 1700s, it was fashionable to have curvy streets, and of course, the affluent wanted mews houses there. You can still see reminders of what Circus Lane was once used for: a service street where coaches and horses were kept. St Stephen’s Church, overlooking the Lane, apparently has Europe’s longest pendulum in the clocktower.
Exit Circus Lane and then turn right. At the end of the stone wall on your left, turn right by the short stairway leading up onto India Street. Turn right onto Gloucester Place, which becomes Doune Terrace.
Follow Doune Terrace onto Moray Place to exit onto Forres Street. At the end of Forres Street, turn right onto St Colme Street.
Turn left onto Glenfinlas Street and continue straight to pass Charlotte Square.
Charlotte Square is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Gardens are private, but you can walk around it. However, for three weeks every year, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is the world’s largest of its kind, takes place at Charlotte Square. Fun Fact: Alexander Graham Bell was born not too far from here in South Charlotte Square.
Go around Charlotte Square to turn right onto South Charlotte Street, which takes you to Princes Street. There is an entrance into West Princes Street Gardens in front of you across the intersection.
Princes Street Gardens is split into East and West. The East Gardens (the smallest of the two) have access to the Scott Monument, a clear view of the Balmoral Hotel, as well as access to the Royal Scottish Academy and National Galleries of Scotland: National. Arguably more picturesque, the West Gardens has the Gardener’s Cottage, the Flower Clock, memorial statues, Ross Fountain, and a brilliant view of Edinburgh Castle. This garden is beautiful in any season and is the perfect spot to end your run and cool down.
If you enjoyed this route, see our 5km Scenic City Run.