4 Tips for Visiting the Beautiful Calton Hill

Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh’s most popular tourist attractions, and it’s easy to see why. With its breathtaking views of the city, its rich history, and its many photo-worthy landmarks, Calton Hill is a must-see for families and travelers alike. After visiting Buddy and I are sharing some ideas for making the most of your visit to this iconic Edinburgh landmark. Here are 4 tips for visiting the beautiful Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We only recommend products that we have used ourselves. As a member of Travelpayouts affiliate network, we earn an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases from Travelpayouts program partners such as Booking.com and Tripadvisor. We also earn affiliate commissions from programs like Expedia Group, Going, and Get Your Guide, And sometimes I share my Stitch Fix referral link. No worries, none of these programs come at an additional cost to you! These affiliate links support this blog and keep it running. Thanks for your support. All opinions expressed here are our own. All photos are our own and remain the copyright of MPA Project Travels.

View of the Scottish Government from Calton Hill. Lush green plants before a government building in the distance with a blue and white Scottish flag. Cloudy skies and distant city buildings in the background. 4 tips for visiting the beautiful Calton Hill. MPA Project Travels.
View of the Scottish Government from Calton Hill.

The details

Calton Hill, dubbed as Edinburgh’s Acropolis, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visitors come from all over the world to see the magnificent views of the city on this extinct volcano. The hill is also home to several historical sites, including the National Monument and the Robert Burns Monument. Families often travel to Calton Hill to picnic and play in the grassy areas. With its breathtaking views and rich history, Calton Hill is sure to delight visitors of all ages. For the most up-to-date information, visit the website.

4 Tips for Visiting the Beautiful Calton Hill

1. Pack a picnic

When you are visiting Calton Hill, you may want to pack a picnic! There are plenty of scenic spots to enjoy some food with a view, so heading up to Calton Hill with a few snacks and drinks is a great idea. If picnics aren’t your thing, don’t worry – there are also several cafes and restaurants dotted around the hill (more on that in the next tip).

A paved path lined by dark volcanic rocks and benches overlooks beige buildings of Edinburgh. People in various clothing sit on benches and walk on the path under a cloudy sky.  4 tips for visiting the beautiful Calton Hill. MPA Project Travels.
A view from Calton Hill

This first tip comes from Buddy who had a picnic dinner on Calton Hill when he visited with his choir. Here is what he has to say.

I liked Calton Hill. We explored the area and took group photos on the National Monument of Scotland. It looks like a Greek building. After that, we had a picnic dinner there. They served us KFC. It is not a very traditional Scottish meal, so I was glad that I had haggis the day before. There were nice views on Calton Hill. It was nice to look out over Edinburgh while eating dinner. I recommend visiting Calton Hill and exploring. I also recommend bringing a meal, maybe not KFC though, and having a picnic on Calton Hill in the summer.

If you are planning a picnic lunch or dinner on Calton Hill, and are visiting the area, these travel friendly eco collapsible meal kits and reusable sandwich bags might come in handy. As will a large refillable water bottle so you can stay hydrated during your walk up the hill.

Speaking of walking, when visiting Edinburgh, comfortable shoes are a must since you will be doing a lot of exploring on foot. These shoes from Dansko are my go to shoes for summer travel in Europe and Latin America. But if you want something a bit sturdier, since you will be climbing lots of steps to get up the hill, these Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker shoes are great too.

And in case it is helpful, Buddy and I created an entire Scotland packing list for your reference that you can find here!

2. Check the hours

There are three shops and cafes on Calton Hill. These are the Collective, a contemporary art collection, the Kiosk by Gardener’s Cottage, a coffee stand, and The Lookout by Garden’s Cottage, a restaurant with a view. Before planning your visit, be sure to check the opening times for the businesses on Calton Hill. The hours vary depending on the time of year, but generally, the shops are open from 10am to 5pm for the Collective and the Kiosk.

If you want to grab a quick bite to eat or check out the art, make sure to get there during opening hours. Luckily, the restaurant is open later, as it usually closes at 11:30pm. For the most up-to-date information, visit the websites. You can make a reservation online for The Lookout, however walk-ins are also welcome.

A white clock with black trimming that says the letters ORGANIZE rather than numbers on the clock face sits outside under a partly cloudy sky.  4 tips for visiting the beautiful Calton Hill. MPA Project Travels.

Calton Hill was the last stop on our day of exploring Edinburgh. We walked there after a late lunch at Mariachi Restaurant on Victoria Street. (We chose Mexican because we were a bit homesick. Surprisingly, the salsa was hot, and the avocado was delicious! Nice surprise Edinburgh!). Unaware of the closing time, we arrived at the Collective at 4:45pm. We walked through quickly and took in as much as we could see in a few minutes. However, if I were to plan our day differently, I would have googled the closing times and arrived earlier to spend more time at the Collective. I love supporting local artists!

3. Have your camera ready

One of the best parts about visiting Calton Hill is getting to take in the stunning views of Edinburgh from up above. Be sure to charge your phone so that you can snap plenty of pictures.

During our time at Calton Hill, we saw many teens and young adults snapping group photos and selfies all around the hill. There are so many beautiful views. Unfortunately, we did not take any selfies when visiting the hill. Neither did Buddy during his time there with his choir. However, I did get this shot of Sal taking in the views.

A man in a gray jacket and black shorts and black shoes looks over a gray fence out upon Edinburgh.  4 tips for visiting the beautiful Calton Hill. MPA Project Travels.
Sal taking in the view

4. Stay for sunset

The best time to visit Calton Hill is at sunset, when the sky is ablaze with fiery red and orange hues. The hill is a popular spot for families and friends to gather to watch the sun setting over the city. And if you are there to get some photos, sunset is an excellent time for the perfect shot. If you’re looking for a truly magical experience, Calton Hill is the perfect place to spend the golden hour.

Before visiting Calton Hill, I read that it was a great place to watch the sunset. I planned our day around visiting during sunset to take in the experience. However, we visited during the summer when the sun sets very late in the evening. Given that we needed to visit a laundromat before 8pm, we did not stay for the sunset. (Curious about why we were visiting a laundromat in Edinburgh? Check out 4 Ways To Do Laundry While Traveling). But I can see how it would be a beautiful experience to see city warmed by the setting sun. Next time we visit, we will be sure to check it out!

A view of buildings and a skyline filled with spires underneath a cloudy sky. 4 tips for visiting the beautiful Calton Hill. MPA Project Travels.
A view of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile from Calton Hill.

Whether you’re a local looking for a new place to explore or a traveler searching for the perfect spot to take in Edinburgh’s natural beauty, Calton Hill is sure to exceed your expectations. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your friends or family members and head to Calton Hill today!

Do you have questions about family travel or traveling with teens? Feel free to reach out! We are happy to chat and share our experiences! We look forward to connecting with you.

Have you visited Calton Hill in Edinburgh? If so, what are your top tips for experiencing the site? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed reading this, check out these blog posts!

Pin this post for later!

Visiting Edinburgh soon?

Book your room today!

MPA Project Travels

Hello! We are Yvonne & Buddy and we create family travel blogs based on firsthand knowledge and experiences of a destination. Our goal is to inspire teens, parents, and families to share time together engaging in new experiences whether the destination is near or far from home. Come join us on our travels!

More Posts - Website

9 thoughts on “4 Tips for Visiting the Beautiful Calton Hill

  1. What a great way to finish your time in Edinburgh! I love the views from Calton hill (I never considered going there for sunset, but that is a fab idea!)

    p.s. Oooh good work for the Mexican food! I was not expecting you to say that. Edinburgh does have some fabulous food, but I hadn’t expected Mexican to be part of it!

  2. I haven’t been to Edinburgh but I can certainly see why Calton Hill is so popular! The views, and a picnic sound absolutely lovely. I’d love to catch a sunset there too!

  3. The beautiful Calton Hill packs much more for all kinds of travelers. One should catch the sunset here. And get ready to make the most of their visit to this must-do attraction.

Share your thoughts!