From old castles and natural beauty spots, to quirky architecture and cute cafes, there are tons of incredible Instagram spots and photography locations in Edinburgh.
This blog highlights 23 of my favourites. How many have you ticked off?
Instagram-Worthy Spots in Edinburgh
The Edinburgh Grand
I’m not gonna lie, I was a little bit nervous about strolling into the luxury hotel for the purpose of a photo. The team eyed me suspiciously as I ran between floors (some of them are locked to guests only) and I recommend you pop in for a cocktail on the top floor as a buffer if you’re not feeling ballsy.
White Horse Close
The White Horse Inn was a well-known watering hole and stopping place back in the 17th-18th century. It closed its doors long ago, however, when accommodation was built around the close in which it stood, the original design was kept. The crawling vines and architecture here is beautiful and every time I visit, a resident has popped their head out to tell me a new tale about the area.
Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags
Most visitors to Edinburgh don’t realise that the old volcano sat quietly in the center of Edinburgh is actually made up of two parts, not one: Arthur’s Seat & Salisbury Crags. Contrary to popular belief, the Crags are actually the better spot (in my humble opinion) to catch an inspiring shot across Edinburgh
Would you believe these are people’s homes!? The bright red stairways of Ramsay Garden, set against Edinburgh’s old town brickwork, make for a detailed snap!
The Writers Museum
Whilst you’re up at Ramsay Garden, it’d be rude not to swing down the road to the Writers Museum. The building is a free museum that plays host to rare books and personal objects of famous poets and writers, including the likes of Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson.
A super easy uphill walk that will not only give you fantastic views all the way down Princes St, but also a cool shot of the controversial National Monument of Scotland.
Carlton Terrace Mews
Often overlooked for Circus Lane, the cobblestones, communal garden, and old horse stables of Carlton Terrace Mews take Edinburgh visitors back to old-timey Scotland.
Alongside some of the other more obvious ones, I’m almost ashamed putting this in the post – there’s nothing I hate more than a blog that just gives you the same info that everyone else’s did. However, it felt wrong not to include this well-known insta-famous lane.
There are loads of perfect little photo opportunities in the Stockbridge area, so it’s worth the stroll down there.
I’m not a Harry Potter fan, but if I had a pound for every time I heard someone call this street Diagon Alley, I’d be a very rich woman. Regardless of whether you’re into the HP franchise, this cobblestone street is impressive. Its colourful fascias and double-height old-town architecture is pretty magical – day or night!
Unusual Instagram locations in Edinburgh
The Cactus House
The new-town houses running the length of Henderson Row are all quite special in their own right, but there is one in particular that puts a smile on the face of everyone who goes past – the Cactus House. The couple that own the property adorn the front door with peculiar plant displays: armchairs sprouting succulents, bicycles filled with flowers, and troll dolls neatly tucked into prams.
Newhaven was once a separate village and harbour on the waters spilling in from the North Sea. Besides the city’s obvious hilltop spots, this is one of the best places to capture a sunset across Edinburgh – with views right across the Firth of Forth and over to the The Forth Bridges.
The Heart Wall
Exploring the closes that run off the Royal Mile can take up a good morning if you’re committed. Be sure not to miss this charming little corner where the residents have maintained a heart shape crawler.
There are cycle paths all over Edinburgh that connect little districts together like a pretty little spiders webs. The jungle-like vines & tall trees of Trinity Path are my favourite, complete with old tunnels and a botanic-garden-like feel right in the heart of the city.
St Bernard’s Well
The locals discovered the natural spring here in 1760. It was rumoured to have healing powers, an excellent source for people’s health and well-being. Designed by Artist Alexander Nasmyth, the structure built around it was named after a saintly monk from the 12th century. It’s beautiful interiors are open to the public on special days of the year.
The Colinton Tunnel
If you’re up for a really good walk, you can follow Edinburgh’s famous Water of Leith all the way out to Colinton and its (now very popular) tunnel. The art work/graffiti on its walls was funded by Creative Scotland and crowd funding; transformed as part of a community project. The full mural, designed to brighten up the abandoned old railway tunnel, was completed in 2020.
Leith Graffiti Walls
The Marine Parade Graffiti Wall is the longest of its kind in the UK. It’s a free space and artists can show up as they like to add their creations – however, there’s no guarantee that someone won’t come along and paint over it the next day. Many of the artists using the walls are regulars, tagging their pieces and gaining enough respect form the local community to ensure that their work lasts longer.
Edinburgh Castle Instagram
Quite understandably, most tourists looking to get that almighty Edinburgh Castle photo will head straight up the Royal Mile to the castle itself. However, up close, the solid simple-shaped front is difficult to turn into an inspiring photo (from the ground). Whilst some opt to solve this with a capture from Princes Street Gardens, you’ll find a brilliant angle at The Vennel.
Most Instagrammable restaurants in Edinburgh
I recently wrote a blog piece about Plant Bae after a couple of visits for their EPIC waffles. Although cute, the location itself is quite small and difficult to get a shot in, but if you’re looking for ‘insta-food’, there’s no better place!
Tattu Restaurant Edinburgh
Get your credit cards out, this one’s pricey! Asian inspired Tattu creates meals (and drinks) resembling pieces of art. Expect lots of dry ice, cool lighting and crazy cocktails.
Instagrammable cafes in Edinburgh
Another food shot location. Considerat create the most magnificent looking donuts you’ve ever seen (or tasted). They often theme flavours and designs to seasons or holidays, and they’re right next to the Meadows Park – ensuring your donut gets a nice backdrop during its close up.
Plants and coffee – the perfect combination. Resting in a corner unit of an old Edinburgh building, this little jungle in the city is packed full of foliage and serves coffees and cake. I challenge you to leave Grow Urban without buying a plant!
Bonus locations …
Still Edinburgh, but a fair walk. The old castle, featured in Outlander, dates back to the 1400’s and is one of my favourite in terms of how much there is to explore. Winding narrow passageways and a labyrinth of stairways bring you out in magnificently preserved halls and can keep you occupied for ages. Both the number 33 and 49 buses run close by and start from the center of town.
I included Portobello Beach as an extra as I can just hear the locals grumbling about the fact that its not technically Edinburgh. However, it can be done as a (long) walk and a bus will take you about 20 mins. British seaside feels, complete with ice-cream, chips, coffees and orange sunsets.
If you’re looking for even more to do in Edinburgh, check out my post: 100 Free things to do in Edinburgh.