📸 Updated in September 2022! Fill your Instagram feed with these gorgeous photo opportunities! Edinburgh is the most beautiful city in the whole wide world. Ok. Maybe I’m biased but it is absolutely stunning and there are plenty of hidden streets and gorgeous views to enjoy. They’re perfect for filling your Instagram feed with photos of this historic and very photogenic city!
Over the last few months, when I’ve been home to visit Edinburgh, I’ve been seeking out my top photo locations so keep scrolling for my favourite 10 perfect Instagram spots in Edinburgh!
Make sure to scroll right down to the end of the post to see all the spots I’ve shared on a map to help you find them more easily across Edinburgh 😊
1. Dean Village
Once a distinct village, the enchanting Dean Village has long since been swallowed by the city of Edinburgh and now lies to the North West of the city centre along the Water of Leith. It is a slice of tranquility amongst Edinburgh’s busyness and the small cobbled streets are lined with intriguing buildings.
There are so many spots throughout the Dean Village that will make pretty postcard Insta shots. At the top of the Dean Village, the Dean Bridge spans the Water of Leith and the imposing Rhea Church stands at the end. On the Northern bank of the river lies Well Court, a beautiful red brick building that was constructed for local workers to live in. Look out for the cheery bright yellow building as well!
Kirkbrae House sits at the top of Bells Brae at the entrance towards the Dean Village. As you approach the Dean Bridge out of town along the A90 it looks like a little cottage but as you traverse the bridge and look back it turns into a many floored turret!
2. The Writers’ Museum
As you walk down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh you will notice lots of narrow passageways leading off it. These are called ‘closes’. At the Royal Mile end of many of these, there were once iron gates that would be locked at night so only those with access could get in! They were closed to the public so can be thought of as a gated community.
Look out for the museum Gladstone’s Land towards the Edinburgh Castle end of The Royal Mile and turn into Lady Stair’s Close. Notice the peace and quiet just a few steps away from the busy Royal Mile! The Writers’ Museum is a beautiful building and with the lamppost sitting beside it, looks like an illustration from a Harry Potter book. The museum is free to visit and is dedicated to the lives of Robert (Rabbie) Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson & Sir Walter Scott.
It’s difficult to crop the building into a perfect square but I can assure you it’s worth going for an unconventional portrait Insta post to capture its size and charm!
3. Circus Lane
Circus Lane must be Edinburgh’s prettiest street and can easily rival the most gorgeous London mews! Tucked away in Stockbridge, in Edinburgh’s New Town, Circus Lane is an unexpected find with tiny mews houses covered in greenery. Elegant St Stephen’s Church is located perfectly to look down on Circus Lane in the background.
This street is one of those places that looks varied and fabulous in every season!
4. National Museum of Scotland
There are so many reasons to visit the National Museum of Scotland. It’s free to visit so perfect if you’ve been caught in some drookit (very very wet) weather. There’s plenty of galleries and exhibits to explore and you can learn about everything from Dolly the Sheep to the eccentric Millennium Clock.
For an aesthetically pleasing, symmetrical addition to your Instagram feed, make sure to take a picture of the beautiful Grand Gallery. When I visited as a child, there used to be ponds of giant catfish which have long since disappeared!
Before you leave, make sure you head up to the (not so secret) secret roof terrace for outstanding views across Edinburgh’s skyline. This is another perfect place to snap!
5. Ross Fountain
Princes St Gardens is one of the best places to soak up some sun if you’re lucky enough for it to pop its head out during your visit to Edinburgh! But did you know that it was once called the Nor Loch? The Nor Loch was part of the castle’s defense but was drained around 250 years ago to begin work on the Gardens.
In Princes Street Gardens West you’ll find the Ross Fountain. It was originally added to the Gardens in 1872, but was restored last year. The gold, rich brown and incredible aquamarine stand out wonderfully against the Castle’s steely grey complexion to make a fab Insta shot!
6. White Horse Close
White Horse Close is a gorgeous little courtyard which used to be the stables for Holyrood Palace. You can find this close at the bottom of The Royal Mile, a mere stone’s throw away from the Scottish Parliament. Keep your eyes peeled as the entrance is hidden by an unassuming stretch of pavement shadowed by the buildings stretching out over the pavement above it!
7. The Vennel
Yes this is another shot featuring the Castle. This is because this magnificent stronghold is perched high above the city on a volcanic plug (called Castle Rock) and so it sneaks into many shots! The Vennel is a perfect spot to capture Edinburgh Castle and is generally quite quiet so easy to get your shot without anyone else in it. Perfect. Find The Vennel by turning left into Heriots Place (opposite Quarter Mile) from Lauriston Place. Afterwards, head up to visit the Castle itself and make sure to book in advance with Get Your Guide here.
Top Tip: Walk all the way down The Vennel to find yourself in the Grassmarket. Turn to your right to find Mary’s Milk Bar. I love that this delicious ice cream shop is also dressed in beautiful ice cream colours which makes for a cute Insta store front shot.
8. Victoria Street
You can’t come to Edinburgh without taking the obligatory Instagram photo of colourful Victoria Street which links George IV bridge to The Grassmarket. This magical street is said to be one of the inspirations for Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley!
Head up to the terrace that overlooks Victoria Street for a different perspective. The shot above was taken from the very end of Victoria Terrace, past Maxies Bar.
Make sure you come early in the morning to have the street to yourself! Victoria Street is right in the heart of Edinburgh so it’s a super popular spot for tourists to visit.
9. Calton Hill
Edinburgh is built over seven hills so it’s very easy to enjoy a quick hike and enjoy sweeping views of this stunning city! Arthur’s Seat is the highest and certainly the most famous of the seven but my favourite is Calton Hill. Situated at the East end of Princes St it’s incredibly accessible from the centre of the city and only takes around 10 minutes to climb from The Balmoral hotel.
I love the views over the city and the unusual structures to explore on top of Calton Hill. The most impressive of these is the National Monument. It was supposed to be a replica of Athen’s Parthenon but unfortunately money ran out soon after building work began in 1822! Calton Hill is also a great place to watch sunset as the sun fades behind Edinburgh’s iconic skyline.
10. John Knox House
It’s impossible to visit Edinburgh without a stroll down The Royal Mile. This is the road in the Old Town which connects Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. It is lined by tenement buildings and paved with cobblestones whilst narrow closes dart off on either side.
There are plenty of great photo opportunities along the Royal Mile but my favourite spot is the John Knox house where he allegedly lived. Parts of this historic building date back to 1470! Opposite the John Knox house is the Fudge Kitchen where you can try and buy the creamiest and most delicious fudge you will ever eat (I recommend the Belgian chocolate swirl).
11. The Gardener’s Cottage
Nestled at the base of Princes Street Gardens in the centre of Edinburgh, is this gorgeous little cottage. Locally, it’s known as the Gardener’s Cottage as once upon it time it was. Today, however, it is the base for a Scottish charity and around once a year it is open for the public to visit. If you recognise it, that will either be because of Instagram or it’s because it featured in the children’s tv programme Teacup Travels as Great Aunt Lizzie’s House 🏡
12. Cockburn Street
Honestly, Edinburgh Old Town has so many glorious photography spots because the architecture is just fantastic. Recently when I’ve been home, I’ve been lucky enough to have pretty good weather, but this is a city that really suits the moody weather that you’ll often get here! These gothic, soot stained stones and rooftops look even more mystical in the rain and mist. Along Cockburn Street there are quite a few different photo opportunities which makes this street a must visit for Instagram fans.
Recently, Laila has become popular with brunch fanatics (just look at that lovely pink facade in the top photo) and the lovely cafe called The Milkman has two outposts on this street. The one towards the top is housed in the most fascinating curved building which you might recognise as an Avengers filming location!
Well, what did I tell you? Yes, the weather may regularly be quite dreich but Edinburgh is the most beautiful city in the world!
Find all of the spots below and see where they are across Edinburgh!
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