Getting a little respite

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There’s a long weekend ahead for all staff thanks to the University’s respite days on Good Friday and Easter Monday. This is expected to coincide with the transition from the current Stay at Home order to Stay Local on 2 April, giving everyone a little more freedom to move around while remaining within their own local authority area.

If you’re hoping to go for a change of scenery and somewhere a little different to relax, exercise, or just get a breath of fresh air, bulletin has you covered. We asked a handful of contributors to suggest their favourite, perhaps lesser known but no less highly recommended, outdoor spots and greenspaces.


Cammo Estate

This large wilderness park in the north-west of Edinburgh, with its landmark tower, is a local nature reserve comprising woodland and grassland areas around the focal point – the safe ruin of Cammo House.

Why our contributor recommends it: “I think I like it because it seems to be less well known. It always feels like a relatively quiet spot. It has open spaces for my kids to run but also hills and trees to explore and climb.”


Craigmillar Castle Park

This natural heritage park has Green Flag status in recognition of it being a quality greenspace. The mixture of open parkland and Hawkhill Woods is a haven for wildlife, and there are a variety of walking, cycling and jogging routes.

Why its recommended: “A surprisingly large park with open bits, woody bits, bits with paths, bits that are steep, others that are flat, conker trees and a castle too. What’s not to like?”


Drum Estate

The landscape of this 80 hectare country estate south east of Edinburgh is believed to have been designed by William Adam. Its original structure and vistas remain today, including woodland and parkland features, gardens, and a canal.

Why its recommended: “Literally on my doorstep. A cute, whimsical entryway through green doors which open up into fields with horses, sheep and lots of pheasants. The grand looking house emerges as you walk along the path – you’d never know it was there. I’ve walked or ran this route almost daily since March 2020 and I’m not bored yet!”


Dundas Castle

With extensive grounds, including woodlands and a loch, the Dundas estate offers beautiful walks and a variety of wildlife – including a small herd of llamas.

Why its recommended: “My favourite walking spot, which I am very lucky to say is very close to my house! Always interesting in any weather, the highlight is the lake that teems with swans, geese, ducks and moorhens. A gem hidden between Kirkliston and South Queensferry.”



The picturesque harbour and lighthouse at Newhaven, with views of the Firth of Forth, can make a pleasant stop on a longer waterside walk.

Why its recommended: “I think folk get as far as the harbour and stop. There’s a really good walk to be had along the foreshore from Western Harbour at one end to Granton Harbour at the other and even out onto the breakwater itself. On a warm, clear day, the views across the water to Fife and down to the bridges are spectacular.”


Roseburn Park

Nestled in the shadow of Murrayfield stadium and bordered by the Water of Leith on its north edge, Roseburn Park offers visitors playing fields, a children’s play area and access to local walking routes.

Why its recommended: “I love walking in this park because there is always so much life to see – dog walkers, families, snowball fights in winter, sunbathers in summer, teens on skateboards. It brings back a sense of normality during these strange times.”


South Queensferry

Best known for its superb views of the three Forth bridges, the pretty town of South Queensferry makes an ideal destination for a breath of fresh air and also provides access to coastal walks including the John Muir Way and our contributor’s personal favourite.

Why its recommended: “My favourite place for a spot of exercise is the old freight railway walk. It starts next to the Scotmid car park, which sits on The Loan, passes under the stone arches of the Forth Bridge and ends at Dalmeny village. It takes about 25 minutes to walk one way. The first half has views across the Forth and, as it’s surrounded by trees and bushes, is quite sheltered on windy days. I once spotted a deer crossing my path in the evening!”

Outside Edinburgh

East Lothian

Seacliff Beach and harbour, a few miles from North Berwick is a little-known gem. It’s worth making the effort to find the private access road, just past Tantallon Castle, for the sandy beach and fine views of Bass Rock.

Why its recommended: “Part of the joy of visiting ‘the secret beach’ is bumping down the dirt track in the middle of nowhere, to find an incongruous and slightly mouldy car park barrier into which you must drop golden pound coins to continue. Once through the barrier, you’ll discover an almost always empty sandy beach – pretty shells, soft dunes, the best rock pools, great views and the tiniest sandstone harbour known to beachcombers.”



You’re as spoilt for choice in Fife as you are in Edinburgh but our contributor’s pick is the scenic and historic village of Aberdour. Two beaches, a picturesque harbour and grand views of the Firth of Forth make this a fine spot to take in the fresh air.

Why its recommended: “My favourite spot in Fife is Aberdour. The views of the water are incredible – it’s like the Costa del Sol on a hot day! It’s part of the Fife coastal path and has a cafe doing takeaway coffees and food so you can spend a bit of time there.”


South Lanarkshire

Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton lies along the Avon gorge. It offers visitors 10 miles of walks along the riverside and through ancient woodlands.

Why its recommended: “An ancient gorge carved in the ice age, miles of scenic country walks, dramatic views of the area, the Duke of Hamilton’s 18th century hunting lodge, ancient oaks and the ruins of a 16th century castle all minutes from my doorstep.”




The UNESCO world heritage site of New Lanark is a purpose-built 18th  century mill village set in a picturesque landscape near the spectacular Falls of Clyde. The Falls themselves are part of a mixed woodland nature reserve and the Clyde walkway offers a long route passing all four falls and ending at Bonnington Linn.

Why its recommended: “Social history in abundance, a unique sense of place and time, scenic walks along the upper Clyde accompanied by the roar of the water, with the final payoff of the Falls of the Clyde which has entranced visitors and artists for centuries.”

We’re fortunate to benefit from living somewhere with such a wealth of outdoor public greenspaces that no article could encompass all the options. Apologies if we’ve neglected your favourites but, arguably, there are benefits to keeping them to yourself!

With thanks to contributors Russell Bartlett, Sara Campbell, Sara Colegrove, Susan Halcro, Kathryn Hood, Heather MacBain, Barbara Morgan, Steven Ross, and Stuart Tooley.

Photography: Getty Images / contributors’ own.