Are you a fan of the gram? I definitely spend way too much time on Insta, however, saying that, I do find it a great source of inspiration for trips and travel. So if you’re looking for some photography inspiration for your trip to Edinburgh, this is the post for you.
Here, we share some of the best instagrammable spots in Edinburgh – from Instagram-worthy landmarks, to photogenic buildings, picture postcard views and some of the best (secret) photo spots. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to photo opportunities in the Scottish capital.
Nothing says Edinburgh like the capital’s iconic castle and no matter where you are in the city, you can’t miss this famous landmark. Whether you’re down in Princes Street Gardens, up Arthur’s seat or Calton Hill, you’ll get a view of the castle. You can also get some great snaps within the grounds of the castle – Mon’s Meg, views down Princes Street or across to Fife.
>> Check out this post for some top tips if you’re planning a visit to Edinburgh castle <<
The Vennel is in fact one of these great vantage points where you’ll get a superb view and photo opportunity of the castle. You’ll need to head down to the Grassmarket and walk towards the north end of the street. You’ll find a small passage on your left with many stairs. Climb up the stairway and you’ll get a great view of the domineering fortress that is Edinburgh Castle.
Fondly known as the street that inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter, this pretty curving street filled with pretty brightly coloured shops – including a slighly eccenctric Harry Potter shop – makes a great insta shot.In fact, this is probably the most instagrammed street in Edinburgh – there were 50k pics with the #victoriastreet hashtag when I last checked! This narrow hilly street dates from around 1830 and is a little like descending down a giant spiral staircase on your way down to the Grassmarket.
The views you get from Calton Hill have Instagram written all over them! Despite the fairly steep climb to reach the top of the Hill, the views you get of the city are among some of the best. Calton Hill is also home to several unusual monuments.
We love the National Monument for taking fun family snaps. This monument looks like it was built by the Romans although it was in fact built in 1826 and is in memory of soldiers and sailors that died in the Napoleonic wars. It was never finished as funding dried up before it was completed.
GETTING THERE >>> The easiest way to access Calton Hill, is to reach it via Regent Road. Simply head eastwards along Princes Street, past the Balmoral and cross the street. You’ll spot Rabbie’s Tours shop on your right (on Waterloo Place). Take the small path on your left [it’s well signposted] and follow the staircase to the top. It’s a fairly short 10 minute walk to the top of Calton Hill.
The Water of Leith
This is somewhat off the beaten track and well worth the detour. The Water of Leith is Edinburgh’s main river which runs for 35 km (22 miles) from Balerno to the Firth of Forth. You can join the river walkway (20 kms or 12 miles) at various points within the city.Some of the photo highlights of walking the Water of Leith include Stockbridge, the Shore at Leith, Modern Art Gallery, Dean Village, Royal Botanic Gardens and Canonmills. Our favourite stretch of the Water of Leith Walkway is the section from picturesque Dean Village to Stockbridge where you’ll find the St Bernards Well pictured above. We also recently discovered an audio trail which you can pick up via QR code on your phone. It’s full of interesting information about the landmarks along the walkway to Dean Village.
>> For more off the beaten path destinations, check out this post! <<
This is such a great Edinburgh photography location. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time when you reach Dean Village. This ancient mill village is just a few minutes walk from the capital’s city centre but will seem like a world away. You will feel that you have gone back in time, surrounded by buildings of a forgotten age, when water had the power to fuel industry.
Modern Art Gallery & Dean Gallery
Head to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Dean Gallery for some fun pics of both the exterior of the buildings and the beautiful sculptured gardens. The Galleries are located to the West of the city, about 15 minutes walk from the West end of Princes Street – either along main roads or along the Water of Leith for a more scenic journey.The gallery exterior has a very classical look with its massive Romanesque stone pillars, however, the sculptured gardens give away a few clues that all is not as it seems. And indeed, once you enter the building and are surrounded by the creations of Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miro, Tracy Emin and Salvador Dali, you realise that it’s perhaps more cutting edge than you first thought.
I went on a photography walking tour a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed discovering some new photo-worthy hidden gems in Edinburgh. One of these places was the *back* of the Scottish Parliament which is located at the end of the Royal Mile. The design of the windows is really quirky and lends itself to some great insta shots.
I returned recently and was surprised/saddened to discover some very high thick concrete walls with metal spikes surrounding the back of the building – evidence of the world we live in today. I still recommend checking it out and seeing what fun shots you can capture. The lines and modern design at the front of the parliament are also great for some classic gram shots.
Circus Lane, a very popular spot for instagrammers, is one of the most charming streets in Edinburgh! This pretty cobbled street, lined with small stone mews cottages, is located in the Stockbridge neighbourhood.
Stockbridge is essentially a village within the city and is full of excellent independent shops, cafés and restaurants. You can even stay in one of the mews cottages via Airbnb!
>> Check out our post for other off the beaten track neighbourhoods! <<
There’s some incredible architecture in Edinburgh’s New Town. Despite its name, this area was built between 1767 and 1850 to deal with the overcrowding in the Old Town. It’s situated to the north of Princes Street, was designed and constructed in Georgian times. With its curves, lines, rows of Georgian townhouses, this neighbourhood is perfect for photography enthusiasts.
>> Make sure you check out one of Edinburgh’s tiniest bars in this neighbourhood. Here’s our guide to the capital’s quirky & unique bars! <<
You get some of the best views of the city from the top of Arthur’s seat. This extinct volcano also offers up some great insta-worthy views and landscapes – from the Salisbury Crags, to Saint Anthony’s Chapel, to the view across the city and the Firth of Forth in the other direction.
>> Arthur’s Seat should definitely feature on your Edinburgh Bucket List. Check out our full guide on must-visit sites in the capital. <<
The Forth Rail Bridge
Okay not technically in Edinburgh per se but it’s a pretty short drive to get to the picturesque village of South Queensferry. It’s the perfect place to get some fab pics of the mighty iron beast. Train spotters eat your heart out!
>> Looking for more ideas for Edinburgh day trips from Edinburgh? Head here for our top suggestions! <<
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I loved your list, I visited Edinbirgh two years ago and sadly did not get to visit all of these.. The Parliment building looks so cool. Will just have to go back and see more next time!
Edinburgh is definitely an amazing option if you’re wanting to bring the camera for shots for instagram!
I can’t wait to go back and visit more amazing spots! Thanks for your list!