Bring the stories of those buried in the Kirkyard to life by following in their footsteps and exploring the Canongate.
Use the arrow keys or click and drag the screen below to move around the Kirkyard or Canongate maps. Use the coloured buttons to select a trail by theme or to reveal all of the points of interest. Click on the numbered circles to learn more about the people and places that helped to shape the Canongate.
A plaque above the church door records that 'In 1688 King James VII ordained that the mortification of Thos Moodie... should be applied to the erection of this structure'. Mortification is an old Scottish term for lands given for charitable uses.
Golfer's Land, which once stood on this site, was built in the 17th century by John Paterson, shoemaker. He is said to have met the cost from money he won in a golf match during which he partnered the future King James VII of Scotland.
The following quotation from Sir Walter Scott's Heart of Midlothian is set into the wall of the Scottish Parliament
'When we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stanes when they werena gude bairns - But naebody's nails can reach the length o' Lunnon'.
The oldest part of the Palace of Holyrood House is the tower on the left, which was built for James IV in the early 1500s. This is where Mary Queen of Scot's apartments were and where David Riccio was murdered.
Three brass letters 'S' are set into the cobbles where the Abbey Strand joins the Canongate. Until 1880, debtors could shelter from their creditors within the historic abbey boundaries which was marked by these brass letters. Learn about a Royal debtor who took sanctuary here.
The buildings on either side of Bakehouse Close date from the 16th and 17th centuries. These are some of the oldest surviving buildings in the Canongate and give a sense of how the Burgh would have looked before the major rebuilding programmes of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Every Scottish burgh possessed a tollbooth, which acted as a courthouse, prison, meeting place and the means to collect tolls from travellers entering the town. Today Canongate Tolbooth houses the People's Story Museum.
In the 18th century, British colonies in the West Indies were major producers of sugar. In 1752 a house for baking sugars was set up in the Canongate, here in Sugarhouse Close.
This cartouche, dated 1677, is the last trace of an earlier building here, known as 'Bible Land', which was built by the Incorporation of Cordiners or shoemakers.
Here you can find a second plaque decorated with the arms of the cordiners, or shoemakers, which is also inscribed 'Blessed is he that wisely doth the poor man's case consider'.
George Chalmers, plumber, whose gravestone is in the Kirkyard, lived and worked near here.
Coopers made and repaired barrels. Coopers Close reminds us how Canongate's many breweries would have needed a constant supply of barrels for their beer. The last brewery to operate in Canongate stood very close to here, on the site now occupied by the Scottish Parliament.
White Horse Close takes its name from an inn that used to stand at its north end. Journeys to London would start from its courtyard. The close was also once home to William Dick who founded the Royal School of Veterinary Studies.
The Museum of Edinburgh houses several items connected with the Enlightenment including a portrait of the Lord Provost George Drummond and large scale plans of the first phase of the New Town.
Dunbar's Close Garden is a hidden gem laid out in 17th century style. This arrangement and the plants used would have been familiar to the botanists Charles Alston and John Walker whose memorials are in the Kirkyard.
Panmure House, which dates from the late 17th century, is where Adam Smith (1723-90) lived from the 1770s until his death in 1790.
Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696-1782), judge, philosopher and agriculturist lived in New Street. As did David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes, (1726-1792), jurist and historian. Sadly their homes no longer survive.
For a time David Hume (1711-1776) lived in Little Jack's Close, which was just downhill from New Street. Sadly his home no longer survives.
Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) rented the Marquis of Lothian's small mansion, known as the Lothian Hut, which stood on the site of the Scottish Parliament. 'Hut' in local usage being the secondary residence of a family who normally had a larger and more imposing mansion elsewhere.
A plaque through the archway to St John's Street explains that the author Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) stayed here in 1766. Smollett was considered by George Orwell to be 'Scotland's best novelist'.
Also down St John's Street is the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge of Freemasons. Robert Burns attended a meeting here in February 1787. A painting inside the building suggests that Burns was even the Lodge's Poet Laureate!
A plaque marks the entrance to Playhouse and Old Playhouse Close where between 1747 and 1769 a theatre once stood. Among the people who worked there were the musician John Frederick Lampe who is buried in Canongate Kirkyard.
Chessels Court is one of the places where the architect Robert Hurd who is buried in the Kirkyard worked. The buildings on the far side and on the right date from the 18th century. On the left of the Court and along part of the Canongate side, the buildings were put up in the 1960s. Learn about the Court's darker history which inspired the famous tale 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'.
The World's End pub marks the point where the burgh of Edinburgh ended and the separate burgh of Canongate began. For many Edinburgh people this was the end of their world!
The Maltese Cross marked in the road here denotes where a property owned by the Order of St John once stood. The Order of St John was established in Jerusalem in around 1070. Today, the Order's Scottish headquarters is nearby in St John's Street.
The building with the statue is called Morocco Land. The small statue is supposed to be of a 'Moor', an old term for someone from North Africa. Learn about the local legend which gives explains the Moroccan connection.
Canongate displays many examples of the influence of European architecture. The most famous of these are the Scottish Parliament, designed by the Catalan architect Enric Miralles, and Canongate Kirk with its Dutch style gables.