Edinburgh World Heritage - The Royal Mile


The Royal Mile

Gladstone's Land

The Royal Mile is at the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, with Edinburgh Castle at its head and the Palace of Holyroodhouse at its foot. Its name comes from its tradition as a processional route for kings and queens for the last 500 years.

The Royal Mile has retained many historic buildings to visit, Gladstone's Land, the Writers' Museum, Mary King's Close, the John Knox House and the Museum of Edinburgh. To get a real taste of the past though, explore the many closes and wynds, the narrow passageways that line the Royal Mile. Here in places like Riddle's Court, Tweedale Court, Bakehouse Close and Dunbar's Close you will step back in time to the old city

At the top of the Royal Mile is the Lawnmarket. Do not miss Gladstone’s Land on the north side, the best surviving example of an Old Town tenement from the 1600s. The Edinburgh tradition was for the best apartments to be on the middle floors, with cheaper flats at the top and in the basement.

Further down lies the High Street with the eye catching St Giles Cathedral, founded during the reign of King David I in the 1120s. Outside the cathedral is a heart shape in the pavement where the old Tolbooth stood, also used as prison.

The crossing of St Mary’s Street and the Royal Mile marks the location of the Flodden Wall raised after the defeat of the Scots in the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. East of the wall lay another burgh the Canongate, which refers to the canons of Holyrood Abbey. Today, at the bottom of the Royal Mile is the Scottish Parliament, designed by Enric Miralles.

Abbey Strand ends the mile with the Palace of Holyroodhouse initiated by James IV in the 16th century and remodelled by Charles II in 1670. Close by is Holyrood Abbey, founded in 1128 by King David I.


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.


© Edinburgh World Heritage. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Cookie Policy
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