Edinburgh / Attractions / New Town

New Town District Edinburgh

The district of Edinburgh in Georgian style, including Princes Street

New Town Edinburgh

New Town is an 18th century district of Edinburgh with many Georgian style buildings and the quarter with famous shopping streets like Princes Street and George Street.

New Town - Edinburgh's elegant quarter

New Town is a neighborhood in the north of Edinburgh, which was created in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries because of the overpopulated Old Town had to be relieved and new, high-quality trading space had to be created. To get New Town started, a design competition was held in 1766 to collect the best possible design for New Town so that the merchants would not leave the city of Edinburgh completely. The game was won by James Craig, who had put New Town in a grid.

Princes StreetPrinces Street in New Town with the Balmoral hotel on the right
New TownGeorge Street in Edinburgh

Famous streets in New Town

George Street

George Street takes its name from King George III and connects Charlotte Square to St. Andrew Square. George Street is located on the north side of Princess Street and used to be a street, which was home to many hotels, shops and banks, among other things. Today, George Street is known for its many restaurants, coffee shops and bars mixed with expensive high-end clothing stores.

Princes Street

Princes Street is one of the main shopping streets in Edinburgh, located in the southern part of the New Town district. The street is about 1.6 kilometers long and is lined with well-known department stores, a large number of souvenir shops, the Waverley railway station, the Scott Monument, the stately Balmoral hotel and the underground shopping center Princes Mall. Tip: For the whisky lover, Princes Street has the Johnnie Walker Whisky Experience, a very fun way to learn more about the famous Johnnie Walker Whisky.

Activities in Edinburgh New Town

Circus Lane

Circus Lane is located in the Stockbridge area behind St. Stephen Street. It is a small, winding street, where the authentic charm of the neighborhood comes to life. Plants are in large containers in front of the facades of the houses. Some facades are completely covered with plants. The streets are paved with cobblestones and the houses are small, for these were not originally intended as homes at all, but as stables and coach houses with living space above.

Charlotte Square

Charlotte Square is a garden square located on the west side of George Street in New Town Edinburgh. The garden square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the gardens are not open to the public. In the center of Charlotte Square you will find a memorial for Prince Albert, the companion of Queen Victoria. You see Prince Albert on horseback and in uniform of arms. The statue stands in front of the West Register House.

Circus LaneVisit Circus Lane in New Town
New Town EdinburghStatue at Charlotte Square

New Town sights

Scott Memorial

Also on the edge of the Princes Street Gardens you can see the Scott Monument dating from 1844 in honor of the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. The tower is 61 meters high and you can climb it. At various heights you have viewpoints, from where you have a perfect view over the city Edinburgh.

Georgian House

The Georgian House at 7 Charlotte Square in New Town Edinburgh is a restored 18th century village house, where you can now enjoy period paintings, costumes and furniture. The restoration and furnishing has been carried out by the National Trust For Scotland. You will visit a number of well-known rooms, such as the Dining Room with numerous portraits and the Drawing Room with numerous paintings.

National Gallery of Scotland

On the Mound that bisects the Princess Street Gardens, is the museum of neoclassical artwork by European and Scottish origin: the Scottish National Gallery. The National Gallery also contains a number of great foreign artists, such as Jan Steen and Johannes Vermeer. Architect William Henry Playfair designed the building, which has been officially open to the public since 1859. The National Gallery consists of two buildings, the National Gallery Building and the Royal Scottish Academy Building, connected by the Playfair Project, an underground tunnel.

Scott MonumentScott Monument in Edinburgh New Town
Scottish National GalleryThe Scottish National Gallery

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Queen Street is home to the famous Scottish National Portrait Gallery. This museum houses the national portraits, which are mainly made by national artists. The Scottish National Photography Collection is also located in this museum. The building housing the National Portrait Gallery is made of red sandstone in the Gothic style and has the Palazzo Ducale of Venice taken as an example. It was built between 1885 and 1890.

St. Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral

St. Mary's Cathedral is a Scottish, Anglican church in Edinburgh. It is the episcopal seat of the Diocese of Edinburgh. The cathedral was built in the second half of the nineteenth century by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The spires are the best known of this cathedral and even have a name: Barbara and Mary. These spires date from 1913 and 1917 and were designed by Sir Scott's grandson.

Where is New Town in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh New Town
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