Edinburgh is a photographer’s dream. From streets full of colourful buildings and equally colourful residents, to beautiful panoramic views. However, with such a range of subjects a photographer can be spoiled for choice. So, we have compiled this list of our favourite locations to take photographs-all within walking distance of our hostel. These are all great places to visit, for anyone visiting Edinburgh, whether you own a camera or not.
A Haystack Hostels staff favourite. Calton Hill offers stunning panoramic views of Edinburgh and is arguably the best place in Edinburgh to view the sunset. Calton Hill is extremely popular with photographers and painters and many of the most iconic images of Edinburgh are views of and from the hill.
Tip – Throughout the year, Calton Hill is used as the venue for some of Edinburgh’s most interesting events. The Beltane Fire Festival on April 30th sees the hill transformed by fire, dancers and acrobatics making for some truly unique photo opportunities. The festival began in 1988, inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane which marked the beginning of summer. The event has grown into a huge annual event. Tickets for Beltane Fire Festival 2018 go on sale in early February and range from £9 to £13. Any of the festivals held throughout Edinburgh make for an excellent subject for photographers.
A perfect subject for any photographer, whether looking up at the castle from the Gardens or looking out over the city from within the castle walls. While access is expensive at £16, one can easily spend a whole day photographing all throughout the castle. Looking over the walls of the castle also provides an amazing vantage point across to the Firth of Forth. However, if on a tight budget viewing the castle from afar can be just as good.
There are many different views over the castle, but the Vennel steps are arguably one of the best. Accessed via the Grassmarket, the view from the steps always makes for an excellent postcard worthy photograph. However, for best effect, pick a quieter time or you may find yourself fighting with other photographers for the perfect spot. The steps are also located right next to Victoria Street, another great photo opportunity.
Another great composition can be made using the Ross Fountain located in the West Princes street gardens. However, the fountain is currently under restoration until mid 2018. Or try the Royal Mile. With it’s cobbled road underfoot and beautiful architecture all around, the Royal Mile, leading up to the castle, can also provide great photo opportunities
Tip – During the famous Fringe Festival, the Royal Mile becomes very crowded, with hordes of visitors filling the street. This massive amount of people can make for interesting images. As well as this, street performers become a very common sight and are a favourite among photographers.
This curving, cobbled street lined with colourful and quaint shops is a perfect example of what makes Edinburgh so unique. One of Edinburgh’s most picturesque streets only minutes away from the Royal Mile, it is an essential visit no matter what your interests. However, any fan of Harry Potter should have this at the top of their list. Said to be the inspiration for J.K Rowling’s Diagon Alley, and with its quirky shops, its easy to understand why. Many of Edinburgh’s streets like this are hidden away so always make sure to be on the lookout.
The stacked architecture of the street means there is access to an upper level above the shops. This allows for some interesting angles overlooking Victoria Street and the Grassmarket. There is also a number of bars with outdoor seating on the top level-great to sit and watch the world go by from above.
On the few sunny days which Edinburgh receives, there is no better place to be than in the Edinburgh Gardens. Throughout the Summer, the gardens become of buzz of life and culture. Located only a minute from Haystack Hostels, the gardens are an excellent place to capture the people and surroundings of Edinburgh with the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
It should also be noted that throughout winter the gardens serve as the location for the Christmas markets. This sees them transformed into a winter wonderland, but still remains a great place to take photographs and enjoy the atmosphere. There are also many opportunities for long exposure photography thanks to the addition of rides throughout the gardens, lighting up the park.
Tip – For a bird’s eye view over the garden’s, a trip to the top of the Scott Monument is the best way to do it. Standing at 60 meters tall it’s the largest monument ever devoted to any writer. The panoramic view from the top is a must see and makes an excellent photo for anyone not scared of heights. The monument also makes a great subject from below.
Located in the New Town, this area is home to some of the most unique sights of Edinburgh. The Water of Leith is the main river through Edinburgh and makes a beautiful walk on a sunny day. The banks of the river are dotted by lovely houses either side and the architecture of Dean Village makes for a great photograph. Dean Village seems forgotten by time and makes for a change of scene from the more iconic views of Edinburgh.
Tip – On the way, visit Circus Lane- a perfect cobbled lane tucked away from the busy city life. The picturesque street can be framed perfectly in front of St. Stephen’s Chapel making for the perfect Scottish village composition.
This brief list is a great starting point, but barely scratches the surface of what Edinburgh has to offer. We encourage all visitors to Edinburgh to go off the beaten track and find something you never would have seen otherwise. Finding unusual and interesting subjects to photograph is never easier or more enjoyable than in Edinburgh.
If you need any more information on anything here, please get in touch and we’d be happy to help!