Edinburgh World Heritage - Athens of the North

Athens of the North

Edinburgh's New Town is the largest and best preserved example of Georgian town planning anywhere in the UK.

Simply walking its streets gives a real sense of the past, and how life was lived 200 years ago. This was a time when the authors Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen were at the height of their fame. Britain was emerging victorious from the long Napoleonic Wars with France, and George IV finally became king after a long regency.

The New Town still has grand terraces and imposing monuments, but also more ordinary homes and the traces of everyday life in the 1800s.

Download the Athens of the North trail (PDF | 4MB)

Find out more about Edinburgh's New Town:


The New Town Plan

The ingenious architect James Craig won the design competition.

Why Athens of the North?

Edinburgh re-branded itself to reflect its growing importance.


Pillars, Porticos and Pilasters

The New Town's architecture draws on ancient Greece and Rome.




Building the Athens of the North

Designed and built by Scotsmen, the New Town made fortunes for some.


The New Town House

The plan of a typical New Town house.


Living in the New Town

New Town houses were designed for entertaining.



© Edinburgh World Heritage. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions
5 Bakehouse Close, 146 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD. T: 0131 220 7720. E: info@ewht.org.uk
Registered in Scotland No.195077. Scottish charity No. SC037183

Website by Urwin Digital