Princes Street, Edinburgh
Busy Princes Street is Edinburgh new town's main thoroughfare. It extends for almost a mile and is lined with colorful gardens and elegant shops, including the tradition-conscious Jenners built by William Hamilton Beattie in 1895. This shop claims to be the oldest independent department store in the world. Frasers at the western end is not quite so grand, while Waverley Market, opened in 1985, with its small shops set among fountains and cafes offers goods of varying quality.
Princes Street Map
North Bridge (Balmoral Hotel)
Beyond Waverley Station old and new Edinburgh are linked by the North Bridge, the site of Hamilton Beattie's Balmoral Hotel - built in 1902 in the style of the expansion era. Even before its extensive renovation, it was the top hotel on the square.
The Scottish national archives, some of which date from the 13th century, are kept in Register House, a building designed by Robert Adam.
In front of the elegant Register House mansion stands a memorial to the Duke of Wellington (by Sir John Steel).
Sir Walter Scott Monument
This Neo-gothic monument (200ft/61m high) to Sir Walter Scott on East Princes Street was unveiled in 1844 and was built according to the plans of George Meikle Kemp. A winding staircase of 287 steps leads up to the top. Restored in 1992, the marble statue of the poet with his favorite dog Maida at his feet was the work of Sir John Steel. The 64 figures on the monument are either characters from Scott's novels or from Scottish history.
David Livingstone Memorial
Near Waverley Bridge stands a memorial to the missionary and African explorer David Livingstone.
Princes Street Gardens
The highlight of Princes Street Gardens is a floral clock (1903) for which the plants are renewed throughout the year. It is said to be the oldest such clock in the world. At the western end of the garden lie the churches of St John and St Cuthbert and the Ross Open Theatre where bagpipe music and Scottish dancing are performed during the summer.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Paintings of some of the leading figures in Scottish history from the 16th century to the present day can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery at No. 2 Queen Street to the northeast of Princes Street. The highlight here is certainly the huge processional frieze (William Hole, 1898) showing Scotland's most famous personalities. Among the celebrities recorded in oil are Robert Burns (Nasmyth), Sir Walter Scott (Raeburn), David Hume (Ramsay), Sean Connery (John Bellany), Robert Louis Stevenson, James Watt and Mary Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald, Lord Byron, Winston Churchill, Thomas Carlyle, Hugh McDiarmid, Muriel Spark and the Queen Mother. Portrait artists whose works are displayed here include Reynolds, Epstein, Tischbein, Kokoschka, Gainsborough, Moffat, Robert Heriot Westwater and James Guthrie. Historical landscapes such as studies of Falkland Palace, Seton Palace and Peter Tilleman's "Battle of Glenshiels" are also on show.
Address: The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL, Scotland
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Thu: 10am-7pm
Always closed on: Bank Holiday - Scotland (Jan 2), New Year's Day (Jan 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: There may be charges for special exhibitions.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Typical Visit: 4 hours
Map of Edinburgh Attractions