Camping in Edinburgh
The best campsites near Edinburgh
Edinburgh is more than just the capital of Scotland. It’s a city that carries some of the richest culture and history the UK has to offer. From its striking architecture to sandy beaches and stunning mountains, you’ll never have a dull moment when camping near Edinburgh.
Edinburgh camping FAQs
Can you camp anywhere in Edinburgh?
Last Modified: 17 May 2023
Can you camp on a beach in Edinburgh?
Last Modified: 17 May 2023
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What dog-friendly campsites are in Edinburgh?
More about camping near Edinburgh
You’ll never have a moment to spare when camping in Edinburgh. The capital is flooded with things to do for everyone. Whether you enjoy indulging in British history and architecture, hiking up mountains, surfing in the North Sea, enjoying some traditional Scottish whisky at one of the many local bars, or relaxing on the beach – there's plenty to keep you busy.
Discovering Edinburgh's history and architecture
Scotland's capital carries a lot of historical significance, which is reflected in the present-day city. From the medieval streets of the Old Town to the grand Georgian buildings of the New Town, the city offers a fascinating glimpse into its past.
In fact, an astonishing 75% of the buildings in Edinburgh are listed, meaning they have a special architectural or historic significance that’s considered national importance and worth protecting. These buildings can be easily spotted whilst on a stroll through the city.
Whilst exploring Edinburgh, walk along the Royal Mile, which runs through the heart of Edinburgh's old town. The Royal Mile is flooded with restaurants, shops, bars and pubs – you may even find a traditional Scottish bagpipe player, or two.
The Royal Mile is also a gateway to Edinburgh Castle, which tells the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, who gave birth to her son James VI at the castle and was married there. As you explore the castle, not only can you take in the history, but you can also appreciate the magnificent views across Edinburgh up to the mountains.
At the end of the Royal Mile stands the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the King's official residence in Edinburgh. Despite the palace being used by the royal family, it’s open to the public all year round and makes for a marvellous day out.
If you still want to immerse yourself in more of Scotland’s history, visit some museums and art galleries that paint the perfect picture. Some top ones include:
- Scottish National Gallery
- National Museum of Scotland
- Museum of Edinburgh
- Museum of Childhood
- The People’s Story Museum
The Scottish capital isn't shy when it comes to throwing the festival of the year. Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a three-week event that welcomes creators from all corners of the globe to share their work.
From the 4th to the 28th of August 2023, both big named artists and unknown talents take to the hundreds of stages across Edinburgh to perform. There’s something for everyone, from theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and more.
If you’re visiting Edinburgh for the Fringe, don't forget to check out our festival camping tips to ensure you’re well-prepared for all the festivities.
Family friendly attractions
A city break to Edinburgh may be just what your family needs on your next camping trip. To keep everyone entertained, there are tons of family-friendly attractions you can enjoy including:
- Edinburgh Zoo: Home to over 2,500 incredible animals from around the world, Edinburgh Zoo is the perfect family-friendly day out. You’ll see countless penguins roaming around, the famous giant pandas, a magnificent herd of giraffes and more. There’s also a dinosaur exhibition, on-site gift shops and plenty of food kiosks and restaurants.
- Edinburgh’s ghost tour: Dive into Edinburgh's deep and dark history with a walking ghost tour. See artefacts found in Edinburgh’s secret underground vaults, hear about the grisly things that once roamed the capital and watch carefully as the past comes to life. These tours are a fun and educational day out for the whole family, and you can find more gruesome and scarier adult-only ghost tours.
- Harry Potter tour: Although the famous film franchise was not filmed in Edinburgh, the author, J.K. Rowling wrote the books and found much inspiration for characters and locations in the Scottish capital. It’s believed Edinburgh Castle served as an inspiration for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and if you visit Greyfriars Kirkyard, look out for some of the familiar names on the tombstones – the author used these as inspiration for some of her leading characters.
- Camera Obscura and World of Illusions: Five floors and hundreds of illusions, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a fun and interactive place for everyone. You can test your brain against mind-bending illusions, walk through the tunnel of light and capture phenomenal images from the rooftop terrace.
- The Edinburgh Dungeons: One for the older kids is the Edinburgh Dungeons. It’s a 70-minute interactive walk-through experience where visitors are greeted by characters re-enacting the dark history of Edinburgh.
Exploring the Scottish outdoors
Camping near Edinburgh is not only perfect for those who enjoy a city break, but it’s also wonderful for campers who love the great outdoors. You’ll be able to climb mountains, explore landscapes, relax on the beach and splash around in the water. Here are some brilliant outdoor adventures for everyone.
- Arthur’s Seat: An extinct volcano that towers over Edinburgh and provides stunning panoramic views of the city. Arthur’s Seat is a great hike for walkers and photographers.
- Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh: Home to one of the largest and richest plant collections on earth, the Royal Botanical Gardens is a tranquil escape for visitors where you can appreciate all sorts of wildlife and plants.
- Princes Street Gardens: A beautiful public park that sits in the heart of the city and offers stunning views of Edinburgh Castle. Princes Street Gardens is a peaceful space that divides the Old and New towns. It’s great for picnics, walks and fun outdoor games.
- Calton Hill: Described as ‘Edinburgh’s Acropolis’, Carlton Hill is a stunning place to visit where you can get a birds-eye view of the whole city. Carlton Hill is also famous for its collection of historical monuments, including the striking National Monument that’s inspired by the Parthenon in Athens.
- Portobello Beach: If you’re in the mood for a sandy escape or want to enjoy some watersport activities, then Portobello Beach is the place to be. It’s only a few miles from Edinburgh city centre, and there’s plenty to do. If you’re visiting the award-winning beach, check out some of the events they host, including the Big Beach Busk, international volleyball competitions and triathlon events.