Spectacular Edinburgh Photography's Top Edinburgh Photo Locations

Top 10 Edinburgh Photography Locations

Spectacular Edinburgh Photography's Top Edinburgh Photo Locations

After a lot of thought I’ve put together a short list of my Top 10 Edinburgh photography locations. Edinburgh is a fantastic city for photography and there are countless great photo opportunities around the city so it was quite difficult for me to come up with such a short list but this should hopefully be helpful if you’re wanting some tips or are planning a trip to Edinburgh and don’t want to miss out on one the top spots! 

So, these are my Top 10 of what Edinburgh has to offer from a photography point of view!
Let me know at the bottom if you agree/disagree or if you think I’ve missed anywhere out!

Calton Hill

One of the obvious ones and one of the clichés but no list like this would be complete without the views from Calton Hill. A short walk up from Princes Street, Calton Hill is ideally located for city-centre photography. With multiple ‘classic’ views including the view down Princes Street, the view looking towards the Castle with the Dugald Stewart Monument in the foreground, photos of the National Monument and more… Calton Hill is hard to beat.

The National Monument on Calton Hill, Top Edinburgh Photography Locations | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography

Monuments

There’s plenty to see, including the Acropolis-like National Monument, which makes for a great photo shortly after sunrise!
There is also:

  •  The Dugald Stewart Monument
  • The Nelson Monument
Looking Down Princes Street from Calton Hill, Top Edinburgh Photography Locations | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography
Edinburgh Castle and Balmoral Hotel from Calton Hill, Top Edinburgh Photography Locations | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography

Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street

I think this is one of my favourite views in Edinburgh and great any time of day (and any time of year)! Do be careful if you’re going up Calton Hill at night though!

Hand of God over Edinburgh | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography

I took this particular photo from Calton Hill just as it was starting to rain. The sun being low in the sky and the stormy weather worked together to create a ‘Hand Of God’ over Edinburgh.

I got completely soaked shortly afterwards but it was definitely worth it as it really took off on social media and  I later had the photo published in multiple newspapers around the world!

The Vennel

One of my other favourite spots to photograph the Castle. When you get the right lighting and weather conditions photos from here just work. Some of the favourite photos I’ve taken of Edinburgh have been from here. Perhaps a lesser known view of the Castle, the small path that connects the Grassmarket to Lauriston Place is a superb spot for photography.

The Bridges

What was once one bridge and later two bridges is very quickly becoming three. With the new Queensferry Crossing under construction (Edit: It’s now finished!) this is a ‘Watch this space’ for more photo viewpoints. However, the existing two bridges already make for stunning photos when the conditions are right, particularly the unique Forth (Rail) Bridge!

Victoria Street

Victoria Street is one of the top spots for photography in Edinburgh because it is one of the more unusual and photogenic streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town.  I’m sure you will have seen many pictures of it before. With a grand curving terrace high above the road below, photographers have a few interesting viewpoints to capture one of Edinburgh’s most recognisable streets. This street is the main inspiration for Diagon Alley in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

The Crags and the Radical Road

If you’ve ever visited Edinburgh, you’ll know how Arthur’s Seat and the Crags loom over the city providing a great vantage point for views in all directions. I find that the Crags or Radical Road are best for photos in the direction of the city centre/ Calton Hill or the Castle (and also requires less effort than getting to the top of Arthur’s Seat)! Well worth a visit when the weather is nice and it looks like a colourful sunset is on the cards!
Sunset behind Calton Hill | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography

Duddingston

As well as centuries of history, Duddingston Village not only makes for an enjoyable walk for a photographer with a number of great photo opportunities, especially of the old Kirk on the shores of Duddingston Loch.

Duddingston Kirk on the Shores of the Loch, Top Edinburgh Photography Locations | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography

Princes Street Gardens

Whether it’s a shot of the “gingerbread house” (Gardener’s Cottage), the Scott Monument, the Castle or something else entirely, there’s plenty to keep a photographer busy in the Gardens. If you’re looking for a way to spend a couple of hours on a sunny afternoon then you could do worse!
The Gardener's House, Top Edinburgh Photography Locations | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography
The Gardener's Cottage, sometimes difficult to get a photo without any people in the frame but if you can manage it then it's definitely worth it! Looks great any time of year, I'm still to get a photo of it in the snow though!
Pink Castle from Princes Street, Top Edinburgh Photography Locations | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography
There's just something so spectacular about the Castle with the Gardens in front, particularly during the summer when the trees are so green and beautiful!

Dean Village

Perhaps you don’t expect to find an attractive wee village in the centre of Edinburgh but if not then prepare to be pleasantly surprised! One of the most interesting things about Edinburgh as a city (and particularly for photographers) is that there are so many of these unexpected finds. Dean Village is one of these; just a short walk from Edinburgh’s West End, Dean Village is a delightful combination of old stone houses including the unique Well Court with the Water of Leith cutting through the centre of the Village.
Fancy living here?
Weir on the Water of Leith
Dean Village and the Water of Leith | Spectacular Edinburgh Photography

The Royal Mile

As one of Edinburgh’s most popular tourist streets (if not perhaps THE most popular!), you need to be up early (or very late) if you want to get a shot of the Mile when clear of people! It’s however also a good spot if you want to do some street photography, particularly during the Festival in August. It’s pretty much impossible to miss the Mile when visiting Edinburgh and you’re bound to walk down at least some of the Mile while visiting some of the other spots included on this list.

The Old Town Closes

There are countless ‘closes’ in Edinburgh, the most famous ones coming off the sides of the Royal Mile. A ‘close’ is a small street or alley that runs between buildings and Edinburgh certainly has quite a few! There are a number of very recognisable ones including White Horse Close, Barrie’s Close, Milne’s Court but every one offers some sort of photographic opportunity and they’re well worth investigating!

Honorable Mentions

There’s plenty of other places that I’d like to mention that maybe didn’t quite reach my ‘Top 10 Photography Locations’, including:

  • The New Town – the part of Edinburgh on the north side of Princes Street, some great architecture and nice green areas. Circus Lane in Stockbridge is a classic!
  • Arthur’s Seat  – Great spot for a walk and a beautiful spot of green in the middle of the city. Think it’s better as a background than a spot for taking photos from though, which is why it didn’t quite make the top 10.
  • Newhaven – Nice harbour and a lighthouse, great spot for sunsets in the summer in particular!
  • Cramond Island – An island just outside of the city to the west, with some old wartime structures on it. There is a causeway that allows you to walk over at low tide… just don’t get stuck!
That’s all for now! Let me know what you think of the list I’ve put together and whether you’d disagree with any of my choices! What’s your favourite spot in Edinburgh for photos? Let me know in the comments below!

24 thoughts on “Top 10 Edinburgh Photography Locations”

  1. We have never been to Edinburgh, except in your pictures. All the locations that you have shared are just gorgeous. Maybe someday we will get to see them in person. Thank You.

  2. I miss my home town very much after moving to the other side of the world. your photography takes me back there, thank you so much.

  3. I like your photos very much, so thank you, Tom. When I was a student at the U of E in the swinging 60s I used to love it when the mist rolled into Princes Street, always about 4pm, and all you could see was the Castle rising out of the mist. It was like something out of a fairy tale. Magic!! Are you bringing out a calendar for 2016 ? Helen

    1. Sounds very nice Helen! I’d have loved to see that! I probably won’t be bringing out a calendar this year unfortunately! Very busy with work and also looking for houses so no time! 🙂

  4. These are amazing!! You have no idea how much I love them! We will treasure the moments that you captured forever. Thank you for this, thank you for your advice and friendship, all the help that you gave us along the way and for not getting too annoyed with me when I had my little Marta moments. We love you and are so proud to be one of your couples! I would have changed my date a million times (not just twice) for these beautiful pictures! Love M.

  5. I’m going to Edinburgh next week and your photos are spectacular. I’m hoping to visit all of your suggested locations and hope to get some shots that look 1/2 as good as yours. Thank you!

  6. I have just arrived in Edinburgh for the very first time and wanted some local info on the best photography spots to capture this amazing city at its best and you have very kindly provided this information.
    I am hoping to capture the castle and the fireworks displays which are going on at the last weekend of the Fringe.
    Again thank you for providing such useful photographic points of location in Edinburgh.
    Regards Pete

  7. Hi Tom,

    Love your work – you are very talented. Congratulations! Do you have a studio in Edinburgh, when I visit Scotland I would like to visit and purchase a few photos.

    keep well,
    Carla Pinho (Portugal)

  8. Amazing photographs. I lived in Edinburgh for many years before moving to England. Miss it very much, and your photographs make me want to be there! Luckily I visit often as I still have family there. 🙂

  9. Jonathan Magalong

    These are brilliant locations and photos! Exactly what I am looking for. I am travelling to Edinburgh with some friends in May for 3 days and 2 nights and looking for places to take pictures. The challenge now is to find the right time of the day to get perfect photos due to the limited time I have. Any advice on this? Thanks in advance!

  10. Craig Campbell

    You hit my favorites and captured some rebus places as well been back to the auld name 4 times and your great photographs really make me homesick. Great work!

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