Edinburgh, UK is Scotland’s compact, hilly capital. Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, divided by the broad Princes Street Gardens, were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 in recognition of the unique character of the Old Town with its medieval street layout and the planned Georgian New Town, including the adjoining Dean Village and Calton Hill areas. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city. The Old Town runs downhill and terminates at Holyrood Palace. Minor streets (called closes or wynds) lie on either side of the main spine forming a herringbone pattern The West End includes the financial district, and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park with sweeping views, and Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials.
For runners, it’s possible to see many of the city’s historical and architectural highlights within a 4-5 mile tour. The running highlight is a tour of Arthur’s Seat (Holyrood Park), and for those who like hills, the run up to Calton Hill and the Edinburgh Castle. Water of Leith is a lovely canal side run, providing an opportunity to rack up the miles. The sea is 5km to the east, where there’s good beach side running in Portobello. Slightly further afield, head to the Pentland Hills, where wonderful, open trails head up hills, through meadows, farms, and fields, and along reservoirs.