It’s official, Edinburgh is the greenest city in the UK. Mapping company Esri UK has ranked Edinburgh top of the list of British cities in 2016 after analysing satellite images from last year.
According to their study, 49.2% of Edinburgh is ‘green space’. The city is followed by second placed Glasgow with 32%. Bristol, Birmingham and London also make up the rest of the top five. Liverpool was shown to have the least green spaces, with only an eighth of the city considered green space.
Edinburgh City Council maintains over 130 public parks and Natural Heritage Sites in the city, covering 45% of Scotland’s Green Flag parks.
Esri UK launched the study following debates over London’s proposed Garden Bridge and Sheffield’s controversial tree felling.
Making the most of Edinburgh’s green spaces
Edinburgh’s extensive network of parks and gardens mean you’re never far from an open space.
The city also sits on seven hills and each are ideal for hiking and offer the reward of spectacular views. The hills are:
- Arthur’s Seat
- Blackford Hill
- Braid Hills
- Calton Hill
- Castle Rock
- Corstorphine Hill
- Craiglockart Hill
Edinburgh also boasts an impressive cycle network that weaves around the city’s coastline and parks. Take your bike around the city and explore places like Holyrood Park, Portobello and Lauriston Castle.
And not forgetting, Edinburgh’s green areas also includes a variety of great picnic spots.
The Meadows: Here you can enjoy a picnic surrounded by tree-lined paths, tennis courts, with a play area close by. A great spot for people watching or enjoying a game of cricket or football.
Princes Street Gardens: A pretty spot to enjoy your lunch during a day of shopping or sightseeing. Tuck into your lunch surrounded by pretty flowerbeds, an ornate fountain, open-air theatre, outdoor café and children’s play area.
Harrison Park: Here, you can relax with your picnic next to the pretty Union Canal. A popular area with dog walkers, duck feeders, picnickers and families with young children.
Calton Hill: Enjoy the stunning views of Arthur’s Seat, but without the steep climb. Enjoy your picnic while taking in stunning views of Edinburgh and some of its historic monuments.
Inverleith Park: You can enjoy your picnic in a quiet secluded spot, with the Royal Botanic Gardens just next door. But do make sure you bring extra bread with you to feed the ducks.