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Edinburgh 'get out of town' cycle ride

Arthur's Seat covered in flowering gorse

My favourite short ride out of town: Ride to Roslin, Edinburgh (by Kathy, EBT guide)

Taking advantage of the fabulous weather in Edinburgh I have been enjoying exercising whilst getting out on my bike for some beautiful cycle rides in and around the city. The quiet, traffic free, roads have been a blessing for people getting about on bikes and cycling through the historic city centre of Edinburgh has been a pleasure.

One route has rapidly become a favourite early morning ride for me. This cycle takes me from my home in Edinburgh’s suburb, Willowbrae, to the small town of Roslin, best known as home of the 15th century Rosslyn Chapel. It is around 40 mins each way, so I am out and back before breakfast.

There are numerous variations on the route but generally I go round Arthur’s Seat to cross Holyrood Park, then the bike path takes me across Peffermill Road, where the aroma of Nairns’ oatcakes baking fills my nostrils. I then take the cycle path through the beautifully wooded Craigmillar Castle park, past the 14th century Craigmillar Castle then up through the open grasslands of Little France Park on a new section of cycle path. Views back to the city are stunning from here with Craigmillar and Edinburgh castles and Arthur’s Seat clear landmarks on Edinburgh’s distinct skyline. I cycle down the back of the town of Danderhall and on to the glorious wide, smooth cycle track on the old railway, from Shawfair, that climbs gently through open countryside all the way to Roslin.

At the end of the path there is a monument to the battle of Roslin (1303), one of Scotland’s bloodiest, a victory for Scotland in the first wars of independence.

As all cafes are closed this is turn around point for me – today’s coffee will be at home. When lockdown lifts Roslin will reopen and offers excellent cafes and pubs.


Highlights of the route

Cycling on quiet roads past the volcanic rock of Salisbury Crags with the golden slopes of Arthur’s Seat shining as the sun lights up the gorse, the choir of birdsong, the magnificent cherry blossom, smooth wide cycle paths though open countryside. Time and space to soak up the peace.

Useful links

Some excellent recipes and plentiful information on the benefit of Scottish oats from Nairn’s whose factory is on the route:


Edinburgh’s newest and largest park at Little France:


Craigmillar Castle park:


Craigmillar Castle:


Rosslyn Chapel virtual tour: