You needn’t stray far from Scotland’s capital to find a good campsite.
Scotland’s capital is awash in history and architecture, from the cobblestone streets and lanes of the medieval Old Town to the wide squares of New Town. The city is a magnet for travellers with its cosy pubs, cocktail bars, and thriving arts scene, but it’s also home to a number of green spaces, from the Meadows to Holyrood Park and Calton Hill, from where you can enjoy views over the city. A more energetic climb gets you up the extinct volcano of Arthur's Seat, where panoramic views are superb. The nearby Pentland Hills also promise great hillwalking. Those wanting to base themselves close to the city will find plenty of nearby camping options.
A 15-minute drive northwest of the city centre takes you to the shores of the Firth of Forth. Just a stone’s throw from the waterfront are plenty of pitches for motorhomes and caravans, as well as a few tent pitches. From here you can visit the tidal island of Cramond (check tide times first), have a stroll on Cramond Beach, or head out on a sightseeing cruise from Queensferry.
Heading east of Edinburgh’s city centre, a string of lovely beaches line the coast, from the popular Portobello and Musselburgh to the less-visited Gullane. The coastline takes you all the way to the charming town of North Berwick, from where campers can take boat trips to the Isle of May puffin colony and the gannet colony on the Bass Rock. Coastal holiday parks offer views over the Firth of Forth, some with extra perks like golf courses and heated indoor swimming pools to go along with hardstanding pitches for tourers and motorhomes, plus static caravans to rent.
Just south of the city, the sprawling Pentland Hills Regional Park offers a taste of the great outdoors on Edinburgh’s doorstep. It has more than 62 miles (100 kilometres) of waymarked paths and is a great place for walking, cycling, and horse riding. Area caravan and camping parks have space for tents, motorhomes, campervans, and caravans on grass and hardstanding pitches. Wigwam glamping pods are also available.
Edinburgh is a year-round destination, but the weather is most pleasant between May and September. July and August can get uncomfortably crowded with tourists, especially during the Edinburgh festivals, when you may even find yourself shoulder to shoulder with other visitors on the Royal Mile and surrounding streets. Hogmanay (the 4-day-long New Year’s celebration) is also a busy time. To enjoy the city in relative peace, aim for May or late September. The winter months are typically cold, wet, and dark with sunset around 3:30pm in December.