Holyrood Palace and Calton Hill in Edinburgh

Published: 2 September 2012 // Updated with additional new photos: December 2020

When arriving in Edinburgh, whether by two wheels from over the Moorfoot Hills or up the towpath on the Union Canal, or especially by Lowland Sleeper arriving on time before breakfast is served, one can't miss out a first five minute detour to greet the city from atop Calton Hill.

To survey it all laid out around you in the dawn twilight or warm evening sunshine of arrival time.

Survey the trains and traffic snaking and scuttling between the spires and turrets of cathedrals and castles, and the towers and domes of railway stations and municipal chambers.

Survey the chimneys and cranes and colourful council flats standing out in their sea of Georgian terraces and simple sturdy grey Victorian tenement blocks offset in the spring by streets and squares of trees.

Stretching out inland to the great mound of the Pentland Hills.

Flowing around the jagged lump of Arthur's Seat to Musselburgh and Portobello.

And up against the Firth of Forth and the North Sea, and out into it at Leith Docks and Granton Harbour

Where giant boats, rocky islands, and drilling platforms rest lit against the Fife coast and the distant Ochil Hills.

A brilliant cityscape, all to be surveyed from beside the structures and monuments of the World Heritage city, five minutes walk from the railway station.

And it looks quite good itself in the cityscape.

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