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Countryside in the City
Visiting Edinburgh and want to get away from the busy side of the city? There are loads of green spaces to explore.
Water of Leith - the walkway runs from the leafy suburbs of Balerno all the way to the Port of Leith, some 11 miles. There are various places to get onto the walkway if you don't want to walk the full way (a number 4 or 44 bus will get you from Princes Street to Balerno).
A great way to see some of the best central section is to start at Roseburn. You find the walkway from Roseburn cliff and it wanders down past the back of the Menzies Hotel & the Modern Art Gallery at Belford Road (the latter is well worth a look if only for the land art form at the front or a visit to the sun trap cafe if modern art isn't your thing). You can then walk on down through Dean Village, an interesting maze of old mills and mill worker housing, now done up and gentrified. Then, you'll pass under the Dean Bridge - much better view of this huge bridge from underneath than from above - and walk down past the backs of the old town crescents to Stockbridge. From here it's only a 10 minute walk back to Princes Street, or you can continue down past the botanical gardens and and all the way to Leith. It's well signposted so hard to get lost.
If you're further out of the city centre, the stretch from Slateford (where the visitor centre is) up stream to Colinton is lovely - it's hard to believe that you're in the middle of a city - you'll see the backs of a few houses but it's mostly just green woods. You can walk to Colinton Dell and pick up a bus to the town centre about 25 minutes away.
Royal Mile - On the Royal Mile itself is an oasis of tranquillity. Ideal to escape the noise of the city for a few minutes. Dunbar's Close Garden is located just uphill of the Canongate kirk on the north side of the Canongate. Dunbar's Close Garden is laid out in the manner of a 17th century Burghal garden occupying a long and narrow plot which was typical of the time. It is the work of landscape architect Seamus Filor and was commissioned in 1978 by the Mushroom Trust, a local charity which promotes the creation of establish urban gardens. The Trust gave the garden to the city and it is now run by the City of Edinburgh Council. Planted with flowers and herbs, it is open to the public and provides a pleasant and relaxing place to sit away from the bustle of the Royal Mile.