A man wearing a fitted hooded top, leggings and a woolly hat jogs on a footpath along a canal in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, with the sun on his face while he carries water

Volcanos, castles and beaches: Scenic running routes in Edinburgh

Excitement is in the air, as May brings thousands of visitors to the city who have been in training for the iconic Edinburgh Marathon. The first event took place in 1982, and since then it has become the second largest marathon in the UK behind London.

The scenic Edinburgh Marathon route meanders through the city centre, taking iconic sights and heading towards the picturesque east coast, across to Gosford House, and then doubling back to finish in Musselburgh. Not only is this one of the most popular marathons, it’s also one of the fastest in the world.

You can find the full Edinburgh Marathon route on the official website.

So, as Edinburgh is abuzz with inspiration and motivation, we wanted to share the best scenic running routes that the city has to offer, whether you’re just starting out or in training for your next marathon.

Edinburgh city centre running routes

Portobello Beach run4 miles
Just a four-mile run from Holyrood Park is the bustling Portobello Beach. Here you can enjoy a scenic run alongside the miles of sandy beaches, before rewarding yourself with an ice cream at one of the many parlours and cafes along the promenade. If you’re planning to visit this popular beach on a Saturday, make sure you join the hundreds of other runners at the fun 5k Portobello Parkrun.

Arthur’s Seat view – St Margaret’s Loch loop from Pleasance – 5.08 mi
New visitors to the city often ask us, “Can you run up Arthur’s Seat?” The answer is yes! In fact, it’s one of the most popular central running routes amongst locals. For the more adventurous runner, scaling an ancient extinct volcano should be top of your list!

Arthur’s Seat, in the heart of the city, is the main peak of a group of hills in Edinburgh. Once you complete its challenging three-mile ascent, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the city. If a tough climb uphill sounds a little too strenuous, but Arthur Seat is still calling, opt for this circular route around its base instead. Find the full route map and photos of key viewpoints during the trail here.

Cramond Beach run – 5k (with the option to follow the route back for 10k)
Sunset runs don’t get any better than at Cramond Beach, with picturesque views of the sea and Fife across the waters in the distance. This route is particularly flat, making it a great option for those trying to build their stamina or for family runs. Find clear instructions on this simple route on the Meadows Marathon website.

Can you run along the Water of Leith? – 19.6 km

The Water of Leith is a popular walkway that follows the main river flowing through Edinburgh. While it can become quite busy during weekends and sunny days, it provides a peaceful running route in the mornings and evenings. Its waters and pathways wind past a fascinating mix of urban structures and historical talking points. Be sure to spot the statues in the Water of Leith, St. Bernard’s Well, Colinton Tunnel and Saughton Park along the way. With many entry and exit points, you can make this run as long or as short as you desire. However, if you’re looking for route inspiration, this Water of Leith route page provides and up-to-date weather report, alongside photos from runners.

For further running route ideas, we find Komoot’s guides to be particularly helpful. From the overview of their runs, you can click in for maps, more details and personal tips and photos uploaded by other runners. There’s 20 trails to choose from!

People running at the base of Arthurs seat for the Great Run, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, Scotland

Tour Scotland’s capital with The Bonham’s tailor-made run

Exploring the city in your running shoes is a wonderful way to see all the must-visit sights Edinburgh has to offer.

Calton Hill is an excellent place to start. The 1.3km ascent is worth it not only to take in the fine collection of monuments, but for its panoramic views of the city below.

From here, you can race along the peaceful Princes Street Gardens towards The Mound, a road connecting Edinburgh’s Old and New Town’s, where you can stop for a breather when you join The Royal Mile at the top.

Sprint along this iconic cobbled street all the way to the famous Edinburgh Castle, which stands proud on Castle Rock.

To clock in those extra kilometers, follow the Royal Mile back down towards the Scottish Parliament building and enjoy a joyful jog around Holyrood Park.

If you’re looking for some company, Go! Running Tours offers a guided tour, blending sightseeing with the satisfaction of running. A great option that allows you to choose the day and time, and offers distances for all levels of runners.

Where to stay in Edinburgh

The Bonham is the perfect base to explore the city. After a day of discovery, you’ll need somewhere special to kick off your running shoes and relax. Dinner and drinks will be waiting for you in our No.35 Restaurant, and a luxurious room will be ready for you to rest and recharge.
Avoid the middle-man and book our online ‘Direct and Save’ special offer to enjoy 18% off our room-only rates.

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