The Royal Mile of Edinburgh in Scotland begins at Edinburgh Castle and runs through Castle Hill, The Lawnmarket, Parliament Square, The High Street, The Canongate, Holyrood, and ends at Holyrood Park. Visitors to the Royal Mile will enjoy the wide variety of shops, food, pubs, clubs, and sights that are spread across the Mile.
About the Royal Mile
The Royal Mile runs downhill and between two important places in Scotland’s history: Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. It consists of several streets running east to west. These streets are Abbey Strand, Lawnmarket, Canongate, High Street, Parliament Square, and Castle Hill. It is the busiest street for tourism in the Old Town part of Edinburgh.
The Royal Mile is home to several attractions and historic sites.
Edinburgh Palace- Though the Castle is currently used by the Scottish Division military as headquarters, it has several different architectural styles from the repairs constantly being done on it in the past from battles.
Witches Well- The Witches Well is a cast iron fountain on the west wall of the Castle Esplanade that remembers the three hundred women burned at the stake for being witches.
Cannonball House- Located at the top of the Castle Wynd staircase, this building is distinguished by the cannonball embedded halfway up its west wall. Two different stories are told as to how the cannonball ended up there.
Scotch Whiskey Experience- Take a tour of the distillery, visit the shop, or dine at the restaurant.
The Camera Obscura- This attraction offers visitors a unique way to see the sights and learn about Scotland’s history through a moving lens.
The Writer’s Museum- The museum celebrates writers Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson, all of which lived in Edinburgh at one time in their lives. The museum is filled with etchings, pictures, busts, and mementos such as pipes, walking sticks, and bibles.
The Tollbooth Prison at Parliament Square- The building is four hundred years old and has been used to collect tolls, as a court house, a council chamber, and prison.
Mary King’s Close- This was an underground street in the seventeenth century. It has been built over in recent years. The close maintains a reputation for being haunted by the ghost of “Annie”, a little girl. The girl had lost her doll and visitors bring gifts for her and leave them.
Museum of Childhood- This museum features an assemblage of dolls, toys, and games spanning the Edwardian, Victorian, and Georgian ages to modern day. The collection also includes games, puppets, slot machines, bicycles, cars, and children’s books.
Scottish Storytelling Center- This attraction features Scotland’s culture through the mediums of theater, music, storytelling, family events, exhibitions, and workshops.
The Netherbow Port and The World’s End- The Netherbow Port was a huge gatehouse located between the Canongate and the High Street. The gates and the city wall surrounded the city and its citizens and separated them from the Canongate. To move beyond the gate, a fee would have to be paid. Many citizens were too poor to be able to pay the reentry fee if they left so they never went outside their portion of the city. The area inside the Netherbow gate was therefore known as the World’s End. A pub is located at this juncture with the same name.
The Museum of Edinburgh- The museum chronicles the city’s history from the prehistoric period to modern day. Archaeological work at Crammond provides artifacts that help describe the life of Roman soldiers occupying east Scotland two thousand years ago. Another exhibit shows life in the Old Town and New Town from the 1760s and includes artifacts from the period.
Palace of Holyroodhouse- The palace has played a key part in Scotland’s history. It is now home to a substantial portion of the Royal Collection including paintings and works of art that are displayed inside the palace and next to in in The Queen’s Gallery.
Queen’s Park- The park retains a circular shape and encompasses about five miles of land in diameter. It was built like this by James V in 1541. It offers diverse views of the Scottish landscape including mountains, moorland, and marshes. The park is a favorite of local hikers and climbers with three trails.
Guided Tours- Guided tours are offered for several of the attractions.
More attractions can be viewed on the Royal Mile Website.
A variety of shops are located all along the Royal Mile. Among these stores are three different whisky shops, several clothing shops, a tribal body art studio, and a Jersey’s and crafts shop.
The Royal Mile offers several various kinds of dining experiences. They offer fine dining, faster option dining, grill houses, combination bar and restaurants, and restaurants that offer only Scottish fare.