Edinburgh World Heritage - Princes Street Gardens


Princes Street Gardens

“…that beautiful, fairy-like tower…” Sir John Steell, 1846

In the early 1800’s Princes Street Gardens were private, and unless you were a resident a key could cost as much as four guineas a year. The first public opening came in 1851 at the request of the Scottish Society for Suppressing Drunkeness, who believed the gardens would tempt people away from the pub at Christmas and New Year.

The Scott Monument, George Meikle Kemp, 1844

George Meikle Kemp was the son of Border shepherd, and a self-taught architect inspired by gothic architecture. When a competition was announced to design a memorial to Sir Walter Scott, he entered under the name of John Morvo, the medieval master mason who worked at Melrose Abbey. Kemp unfortunately died before the building was completed, drowning in the Union canal on his way to visit contractors one foggy night.

Look out for...

The Monument is decorated with 64 statuettes representing characters from Scott’s books, from Mary Queen of Scots and John Knox to Friar Tuck and Rob Roy.


Download the Heritage Trail (PDF | 2.3MB)


Charles McKean, Professor of Architectural History at Dundee University, describes the history of the gardens and the architecture of the Scott Monument.

Download Podcast (mp3 | 5MB)


Listen to city guides and interviews, browse the image galleries and watch the stunning time lapse videos.


Visit our learning site to download lesson plan, browse resources and find out about our schools programme.


Find out the latest on EWH projects and events.


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