Another Sunny Day: Enjoying Summer in Edinburgh

By Sarah Chamberlain

Being a native Californian, at times in the past I’ve taken warm weather for granted. Actually, taking it for granted doesn’t cover the full extent of my feelings. I’ve whined and moaned about the summer heat, sat in front of fans in darkened rooms, and even put my pillows in the freezer in an attempt to cool off at night. Summer lasted from early May until early October, and the sun always shone down from an almost-blindingly-bright blue sky. It was only when I moved to Scotland to study abroad here in Edinburgh that summer did not always mean lots of dry heat and sunshine. Instead, gray clouds and drizzling rain tend to be the order of the day. But occasionally the BBC’s usually-overly-optimistic weather forecast does come true, and a warm summer sun shines down on the city.

Another Beautiful Day

Another Beautiful Day

While temperatures on days like this never reach California highs (Scots consider anything over 70 Fahrenheit to be heat-wave levels), people here savor the weather in a way I’ve never seen Californians do. It seems like half of Edinburgh is outside somewhere, whether hiking or playing sports or just relaxing in the grass with their friends. So here’s a guide to places to go when the thermometer nudges up just those few degrees.

Arthur’s Seat

Arthur’s Seat is kind of hard to miss, even if you’ve never been to Edinburgh before. A huge extinct volcano just south and east of the city center, it looms large on the skyline almost everywhere. On clear days you can see tiny figures both on the edge of the Crags and on the top of Arthur’s Seat itself. You can be one of those people too; it’s only a 45 minute hike up from either near the Scottish Parliament or from Duddingston up the hill to the seat. And once you’re there, the view is…incredible, to say the least. You can see all over the city, out to the Pentland Hills in the southwest and to Fife across the Firth of Forth. It doesn’t get much better than the combination of brown spires, green hills, and blue sky and water.

Inverleith Park

This is in a neighborhood called Stockbridge which is largely unknown to many tourists, so it’s a nice place to go if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile and Princes Street. On a sunny day you’ll see cricket matches and little kids racing boats in the small pond. There’s a particular hillside where you can get a lovely view of the Old Town as you people-watch. If you want to bring a picnic with you, there’s an awesome cafe called Circle on Brandon Terrace on the way to Inverleith where you can pick up cheap, tasty sandwiches.

The Meadows

If you’re not in the mood for a hike or even a long stroll to Stockbridge, the Meadows are an enormous park just south of the main campus of the University of Edinburgh. In May the lawns are covered with students alternately studying and catching what rays there are in between exams. You’ll also see people playing pick-up rugby and soccer, throwing a frisbee around, or having barbecues. Sitting here in the grass writing this, I don’t think there’s a more pleasant place to be on a day like this.

So on days when the weather’s too nice to be wandering around castles or museums, do as the Edinburghers do and get outside!

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2 Responses to “Another Sunny Day: Enjoying Summer in Edinburgh”


  1. 1 Mary November 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Nice post. I thought to let you know that you website wasn’tt getting displayed properly on opera mini mobile web browser on my mobile phone.

    Have a good time…sorry for typing mistake


  1. 1 Summer Festival Season: Edinburgh, Scotland Trackback on July 13, 2009 at 11:19 am

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Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

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