- About The Royal Mile
- The Palace of Holyrood
- Museum of Childhood
- St Giles Cathedral
- Camera Obscura
- John Knox's House
- St Giles Cathedral
- Add your business
About the Royal Mile in Edinburgh
Edinburgh's Royal Mile is my favourite street in the world. I am always mesmerised by its amazing skyline which features outstanding architecture and its centuries of history - some of it hidden beneath the cobbled streets.
The Royal Mile gets its name because it runs from Edinburgh Castle at the top of the hill to the Palace of Holyrood at the bottom. If you imagine the Royal Mile as the spine of a fishbone and the alleyways which spread out from it as the rest of the skeleton, this was the city of Edinburgh until Georgian times. Thousands and thousands of people lived here, crammed into less than one square mile. And each day when the city gates were opened, many hundreds more piled in to sell their wares. You can stil see where the gates of the city were, outlined in brass studs outside the World's End pub.
So, what are these great historic buildings and stories? Well at the top of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle stands proudly on Castle Rock, the magnificent edifice which is visible for many miles around the city. St Giles Cathedral, Mary King's Close, John Knox's House, the Museum of Childhood, the Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyrood are just some of the other places worth visitsing, but it is very rewarding just wandering through the ancient walkways and marvelling at what it must have been like to live there.
At the top of the Royal Mile, Cannonball House belongs to the period of Charles I and gets its name from a cannonball lodged in the wall. Tolbooth Parish Church has a beautiful spire which is a conspicuous landmark in the city. Lady Stair's Close was named after Elizabeth, widow of the first Earl of Stair and is reputed to be haunted by the Lady herslef. Brodie's Close perpetuates the name of the sinister character, Deacon William Brodie, a town councillor by day and burglar by night.
Parliament Square, next to St Giles Cathedral, is home to many interesting buildings such as the Signet Library, the Advocate's library and Parliament House. Along with the Sherriff Court, this is still where justice prevails today. Outside St Giles Cathedral you will find the Heart of Midlothian marked out in the cobblestones. This is the site of the original Tolbooth which was a Town Hall and jail! Today, we have a great football team called Heart of Midlothian!
Anchor Close was the location of Dawny Douglas's Tavern which Robert Burns visited often. William Smellie's printing press which printed Burns' poems was also located here. The Tron Church was begun in 1637 and used to be where Edinburgh folk brought in the New Year. Nowadays Edinburgh hosts huge New Year celebrations in Princes Street.
You're probably quite exhausted just thinking about walking round all these places, but don't worry, the Royal Mile also boasts many great pubs and cafes where you can relax and enjoy some great food and refreshments.
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