Edinburgh Leisure – Getting Outside this Winter

We can all find it hard to make time for ourselves and winter can make this even more challenging – it gets darker earlier, the weather is usually colder and wetter, maybe even icy at times! But making time to get outside is just what we need especially in winter, because not only is it a great way to get our vitamin D it can support our immune system and the mental health benefits of being active or moving can be felt very quickly – people often feel less stressed and more relaxed after some activity or fresh air. 

Edinburgh is a great city for accessing the outdoors, we really do have something for everyone from parks & gardens to golf courses, the Union Canal to our coastline and beaches, not to mention the seven hills of Edinburgh.

So why not take some time this winter to get to know a new area of the city, re-visit an old haunt or share your favourite outdoor spots with others. 

Here are some of our favourite places to go…

Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden is stunning, both in the summer and the winter. With lots of paved routes around its 70acres and with plants over 350years old it is suitable for all ages and ability, and they have a coffee shop to help warm you up after the walk.

Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat are in the heart of the city and if you hike up to the top you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the city. But even if you don’t want to walk to the top there is a lot to see and do in the park itself, including feeding the swans in St Margaret’s Loch or the geese in Duddingston Loch or walking along the Innocent Railway, which can be accessed on the side of Salisbury Crags.

If you’re looking to get your 10,000 steps in, then Portobello Beach is a great shout – the prom itself is 2.2miles long (approx. 5,000 steps) so a wander along and back is just the ticket and there are lots of cafes and bars along the prom that you could pop into to warm up.  

So, once you’ve worked out where you want to go our top tips, whether your walking, cycling, jogging, or dancing outdoors are get a buddy and plan ahead. It’s important to dress for the weather so check the forecast before you go out and wrap up if it’s cold. Layers are best and you can warm up with a warm drink or bowl of soup. It’s also harder to cancel if you have arranged to meet someone. Having company can also take your mind off the weather if it’s bad.

If you are looking for some support to be active or want to know what’s going on in your local leisure centre check out Edinburgh Leisure’s website, https://www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/home. It’s not just gym and sports – we offer low intensity fitness classes and swimming and our Ageing Well programme for older adults offers dance, walking, cycling and even gardening. These opportunities are ideal for those who feel it has been a long time since they were last active and are looking for a gentle start to help improve their health and wellbeing. Edinburgh Leisure also delivers physical activity programmes in partnership with NHS Lothian, Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership and the voluntary sector supporting people with a range of health conditions including mental health. Our Healthy Active Minds programme supports inactive adults (18+) living with mild to moderate mental health conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, or low mood to improve their mental health and wellbeing by being active. If you would like more information on our Healthy Active Minds programme visit: https://www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/health-active-minds or contact our Active Communities team using the details below: Phone: 0131 458 2260 Email: active@edinburghleisure.co.uk

Was this page helpful?

Is all the information correct?

Looking for self-help information

If you’re experiencing low mood, anxiety, or stress in your life, looking into self-help activities and ideas might be the right option for you.