10 Most Instagrammable Places in Edinburgh in the Winter

Where to take the best winter snaps in the Scottish capital...

Article by

  • 23 December 2019
  • • 4 min read

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Edinburgh is beautiful all year round. The city tends to be busiest during the summer months when visitors flock to the delights of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and bask in the (slightly!) warmer conditions. But personally I prefer Edinburgh in the winter. The city takes on a new aspect as the nights draw in and the crowds thin. It’s darker, yes, and colder. But the city’s beauty shines through (with the help of a few twinkling Christmas lights.) Quieter streets also make it the perfect time to head out with your camera and enjoy some of Edinburgh’s most Instagrammable places without the usual crowds. Here are 10 of my favourites to visit this winter… 

Calton Hill

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

For panoramic winter views, head straight to Calton Hill. You can see for miles across the city and it’s the best place to see Edinburgh’s famous landmarks in all their wintery glory. Wrap up warm, though. An icy wind sweeps across Calton Hill but, trust me, the views are worth it. (Bonus points if you climb up to watch the famous Hogmanay fireworks display!)

The Vennel

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

If you’re very lucky you might get to experience Edinburgh in the snow. The city never looks more beautiful than when buried under a blanket of snow and I always head straight out with my camera when the first snowflakes start to fall. My favourite spot? The Vennel. Just off Edinburgh’s famous Grassmarket, the Vennel has the best views of Edinburgh Castle and looks positively enchanting in the snow.

Stockbridge & Circus Lane

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

Stockbridge is one of Edinburgh’s most fashionable neighbourhoods and home to our most Instagrammable street: Circus Lane. The winter months are a great time to visit as it tends to be less busy and you can explore at your leisure. Circus Lane is usually adorned with some lovely twinkling lights at this time of year, too, making it the perfect time to get the ‘gram.

Dean Village

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

It goes without saying that Dean Village is beautiful all year round. It is one of Edinburgh’s most beloved spots and accordingly has become very busy during the summer months. Escape the crowds and visit during the winter—you’ll likely have the place to yourself and can soak up the views undisturbed.

George Street

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

George Street is one of Edinburgh’s most impressive streets and its stunning Georgian architecture is made even more beautiful by the addition of festive adornments. The Dome’s Christmas decorations are a true Edinburgh icon. New additions arrive every year, with each business trying to up the other’s game. Head to George Street for the ultimate festive stroll - a perfect winter’s day activity. 

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

Edinburgh’s Christmas market gets bigger and better every year. The city centre is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with quaint rows of log cabins selling delicious treats, a glittering carousel and a soaring ferris wheel. There’s an abundance of photo opportunities and the twinkling lights make this place an Instagrammer’s dream!

The Milkman Cafe

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

Feeling the cold? Duck into the Milkman Cafe on Cockburn Street and warm up with some of Edinburgh’s finest coffee. Grab the window seat (aka one of the best seats in Edinburgh) and indulge in a little people watching while you defrost.

The Royal Mile

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

The Royal Mile runs right through the centre of Edinburgh’s historic old town. Head off the beaten track and explore the twists and turns of its cobbled closes. You never know what you might stumble upon…

The National Portrait Gallery

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

There are so many fantastic museums and galleries in Edinburgh, it’s hard to pick a favourite. I particularly love visiting in the winter when they provide a welcome (and warm!) escape from the cold. I’m particularly fond of the Portrait Gallery on Queen Street, especially when its bedecked in its Christmas finery.

Edinburgh Castle

Photo credit: @GisforGeorgina

No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a snap of Edinburgh Castle, the city’s towering fortress. It looks particularly imposing during the winter when the craggy rocks take on a sharper, more dramatic edge. Add in a dusting of snow and you’re all set for the perfect Edinburgh Instagram snap.

Liked this article? Share with friends

Read all Travel Blogs