Walking the Royal Mile Edinburgh is one of the top things to do in the city. Despite the high number of tourists and cars surrounding you, you can easily get transported back in time imagining ho life was in those old houses and narrow side streets. Have a look:
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INFO & PLANNING TIPS - The Royal Mile Edinburgh
From the Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Royal Mile Edinburgh starts at the Entrance of the Edinburgh Castle on top of Castle Hill. The medieval fortress is like a small town in the town with some beutiful views over Edinburgh.
This is the beginning of the street. It is quite narrow but gets wider after the tall building called the Hub.
At the other end of the Royal Mile Edinburgh is the palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland. Part of the palace can be visited.
The Hub Edinburgh
The first building you notice when walking down the Royal Mile is the this narrow towering building. It is now called the Hub, a conference venue (at first I thought it was the cathedral that I will show you later in this article). It is the home of the Edinburgh International Festival.
It is a mix of modern design and victorian architecture. its spire dominates Central Edinburgh. Surprisingly, it was built between 1842 and 1845. And not so surprisingly, it was previously used as a Church and general Assembly Hall for the church of Scotland.
Walking the Royal Mile Edinburgh
After the Hub, the street becomes wider. You can discovers rows of old 5-story buildings. Here, part of the street is forbidden to cars giving you more space and freedom to look around.
The Closes of The Royal Mile Edinburgh
One of the main attractions and particularities of the Royal Mile Edinburgh are the narrow side street called 'closes'. Wikipedia has a list of the closes.
Those closes were usually named after a memorable occupant of an apartment or a trade made there.
The Closes nearest to the castle can have steep slopes. They are narrow and between tall buildings as housing was an issue when they were built.
To its left of the city chambers is the real Mary King's close where you can join a 1hour guided tour and visit the many hidden streets from the 17th century.
St Gile's Cathedral
One of the main monument on the Royal Mile Edinburgh is the St Gile's Cathedral also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh.
Its most famous feature is the crown-shaped spire. It was built in the late 14th century and restored in the 19th. It is dedicated to St Giles, the Patron saint of Edinburgh.
It stands one third of the way on the Royal Mile (nearest to the castle).
The Cathedral is full of colorful stained glass window. Have a look on my St Giles Edinburgh Cathedral article.
Other Things to see on the Royal Mile Edinburgh
Most buildings around the Royal Mile are just houses but you can also notice:
The People's Story
The people's story building was my favorite on the whole street. I liked the state of the stone and the dungeon-like tower.
The People's Story is actually a museum with displays about the lives of the Edinburgh People from the late 18th century to today.
The Royal Mile Edinburgh - a touristy street
Just be aware that this is a very busy and touristy street. Sadly all the shops along the road are selling souvenirs or Whisky. Not much else...
Want to see more of SCOTLAND?
Discover more things to do & places to see in my Travel Scotland Destination Guide.
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