Five of the best viewpoints in Edinburgh

Salisbury Crags as seen from Braid Hills
. Picture: Neil Hanna
Salisbury Crags as seen from Braid Hills . Picture: Neil Hanna
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With one of the most magnificent skylines in the world, it’s worth going the extra mile – or flight of steps – to see Edinburgh in all its glory from a different viewpoint. Classic views of the cityscape can be enjoyed from old favourite’s such as Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill and the Scott Monument, but

here are five ways of getting a bird’s-eye view of the city that you might not have considered.

Salisbury Crags

A view Camera Obscura
 during Edinburgh Festival in August. Picture: Alex Hewitt

A view Camera Obscura during Edinburgh Festival in August. Picture: Alex Hewitt

Arthur’s Seat might be the highest point in Edinburgh, but the enjoyment of its views across the city and over to Fife can be hampered somewhat by the fierce winds and crowds of other people jostling for position at the top. Salisbury Crags are closer in to Edinburgh and offer a more detailed view of the Old Town, New Town and beyond. The hike up is less demanding than Arthur’s Seat, the winds aren’t quite as strong and there is enough space along the lip of the cliffs for everyone to enjoy the views. And as a bonus, you can look back and enjoy the view of the old volcano itself – and the hordes on top of it.

National Museum of Scotland

Home to some of Scotland’s most treasured artefacts, the free-to-enter National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street is one of the Capital’s must-visit attractions for tourists and locals alike. But as well as being the place to see the likes of the Lewis chessmen, the St Nina’s Isle Treasure, some fine Sir Eduardo Paolozzi sculptures and the remains of Dolly the Sheep, the museum boasts another, slightly less well-known treasure. Its seventh-floor roof garden – often missed by visitors – affords superb 360-degree views of Edinburgh’s city-centre skyline, providing an unusual perspective on landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill, McEwan Hall and Arthur’s Seat.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions

Edinburgh Zoo is good for views too . Picture: Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is good for views too . Picture: Edinburgh Zoo

With tickets costing £10.50 for children and £14.50 for adults, a family visit to Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura at the top of the Royal Mile isn’t cheap. But with six floors of puzzles, mazes, optical illusions and the delightfully discombobulating vortex tunnel, the attraction manages to be both fun and educational for children – and it’s hard to put a price on that.

On top of it all – literally – is the camera obscura itself, providing 360-degree views across Edinburgh, and the rooftop terrace. The terrace is equipped with telescopes for vistas across to Fife, north to the Pentland Hills and Royal Observatory or detailed views right down the historic gullet of Edinburgh’s oldest street, the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh Zoo

The pandas and other endangered species might get most of the attention as people queue to see them, but Edinburgh Zoo is also a great place to admire rare views of Edinburgh. For a somewhat surreal picnic, wait for a sunny day, pack some sandwiches and take a walk on the wild side – or the free Hilltop Safari ride – to near the top of Corstorphine Hill, where the zebras, antelopes and gazelles roam on the south-facing slopes and western Edinburgh stretches out across the Lothian plains to the foothills of the Pentlands.

National Museum of Scotland. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

National Museum of Scotland. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

SkyBar Edinburgh

They say that good things come to those who wait, and that’s certainly true of the SkyBar. The floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass transforms Edinburgh’s skyline into an almost cinematic experience, with the view dominated by nearby Edinburgh Castle. But one does not simply walk into this modern rooftop suite atop the Point Hotel on Bread Street – public opening hours are limited to the first Thursday of every month, from 6pm to midnight. The views are well worth the wait.