The zoo is one of Edinburgh’s most popular tourist attractions. Thousands of visitors go every year to see the pandas or the world-famous penguin parade. But I don’t think many of them know that right next door is a nature reserve with miles of walkways.
Because of its proximity to the zoo, Corstorphine Hill is not hard to find. Just to the east of the Zoo entrance, on the main road, there is a small gate which leads up into the park.
Unlike many of the other hills in Edinburgh, it’s actually pretty hard to find a good viewpoint on Corstorphine Hill due to the density of the trees. However, this also makes it much more interesting to explore!
There are a few landmarks in the park such as a Walled Garden and the Scott Tower. The Tower was built in 1871 as a memorial for the author Sir Walter Scott (he wrote the Waverley novels which our train station is named after). It’s usually shut but opens occasionally on occasions like Doors Open Day. The views from the top are said to be amazing!
Barton Quarry is also within the area of the park, in the northwest corner. After the Quarry was closed in 1914 it was used by the military as a radar station during the Second World War and as a nuclear bunker during the Cold War. The plan was to use it to shelter the Queen in case she was in Edinburgh during a nuclear attack!