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Edinburgh/New Town

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Revision as of 09:21, 2 December 2010

Designated UNESCO World Heritage Site

The New Town (so-called) of Edinburgh represents the historical extension of the Scottish capital to the north of the Old Town that occurred during the Georgian Period of the late 18th century. Built on a regular grid pattern, the New Town is Edinburgh's main shopping and commercial district, north of Princes Street Gardens.

Along with the Old Town, the New Town was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.

Get in

The New Town is right in the centre of Edinburgh. Walk out of the bus or train stations and you are in the heart of the New Town.


Looking up at the Dean Bridge from Miller Row on the edge of the Dean Village
  • The Scott Monument, East Princes Street Gardens, 0131 529 4068. Apr-Sep Mo-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 10AM-6PM; Oct-Mar Mo-Sa 9AM-3PM, Su 10AM-3PM. Built in 1846 to commemorate the life of Sir Walter Scott after his death in 1832, the Gothic spire monument allows you to climb 200 ft above the city centre to enjoy fantastic views and get a closer look at sculpted statuettes of characters from Scott's works (note: there is no lift). £3.
  • Old Calton Burial Ground, (just east of Princes Street and Southwest of Calton Hill). contains a range of graves, memorials, and funerary ornaments. Notable memorials include those dedicated to the philosopher David Hume and the Scots who died in the American Civil War
  • National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound (Midway along Princes Street, the only building on the Castle side.), 0131 624 6200, [1]. Holds much of Scotland's fine artwork and carries exhibitions that change seasonally. The new Western Link was opened in 2004 with an entrance from Princes Street Gardens. It joins The National Gallery with the neighbouring Scottish Academy gallery and gives Scotland it's first world class art space. Free.
  • The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street (Just to the north of St Andrew Square), 0131 624 6200 (), [2]. Closed for refurbishment from 5 April 2009 to November 2011. Free.
  • The Dean Village, (From the west end of Princes Street, follow Queensferry Street to the north-west. At a right hand bend, turn left down the steep Bells Brae. Alternatively follow the Water of Leith Walkway upstream from Stockbridge.), [3]. Dating back to the 12th century, the Dean Village was home to the flour mills that fed Edinburgh for centuries, powered by the Water of Leith which flows right through the village. "Dean" or "Dene" means a steep valley, and this situation means that the village is protected from the noise of the City, despite being so close to the city centre. Walk down Miller Row to see the full splendour of Thomas Telford's Dean Bridge, which seems relatively mundane when crossing it on Queensferry Street. There are information boards dotted around the village giving information about the different buildings, and the history of the village and the milling industry that once thrived here.


The home of the UK Prime Minister? No, just the door of a typical Georgian townhouse in the New Town

Shop, Bank, Eat, Drink— The New Town has been all about commercialism ever since it was built over 200 years ago.

  • Climb Calton Hill in the morning or early evening hours to experience a great sunrise/sunset over Edinburgh. However, try to avoid hours of complete darkness. The hill is home to various monuments including Edinburgh's Folly, an unfinished replica of Athens' Parthenon, built as a memorial to the Napoleonic Wars, and Nelson's Tower, built in the shape of an upturned telescope in honour of the naval hero. The latter features a Time Ball at the top, which drops at 1pm every day to enable ships at Leith docks to set their clocks. The time ball was originally operated by the City Observatory, which was located here until it was replaced by the larger Royal Observatory of Edinburgh in the south of the City, in the late 19th Century when light pollution in the City centre became too much of an obstacle to celestial viewing. The City observatory is open to the public on occasional Fridays, usually to conincide with important astronomical events.
  • The Beltane Fire Festival [36] takes place every 30th April on Calton Hill. The festival has it's origins in the pre-christian Celtic festival of the same name, which was held to herald the coming of spring and to celebrate the fertility of the countryside. Drums, dancing, semi-nudity, pagan ritual, home-brew and lots of fire and fireworks. Crowds of around 12,000 enjoy the ceremony and spectacle every year. For the full traditional experience stay awake until dawn and head across to Arthurs Seat to wash your face in the dew.
  • Walk through Princes Street Gardens, a small, beautiful park that lies in the small valley between Castle Hill and Princes Street and forms the boundary between the Old and New Towns.


The New Town is home to most of the shopping in Edinburgh, split across a number of distinct areas:

Princes Street

Princes Street marks the southern edge of the New Town, and is the main shopping street in Edinburgh. It runs through the middle of the city from Waverley train station to Lothian Road. It contains large chain stores such as HMV for music, Topshop and H&M for clothes, tourist oriented shops, and department stores.

  • Jenners (Venerable Department Store), 48 Princes Street (Opposite the Scott Monument), 0844 800 3725 (, fax: 0131 260 2280), [4]. Until recently it was the world's oldest independent department store, now sadly part of the House of Fraser chain (there's another at the very west end of Princes Street, number 145), and has lost some of its character. Still an endearingly warren-like building, with the Great Hall at its heart an impressive sight, especially at Christmas-time. Has a franchise of London's famous Hamleys toyshop in the basement.
  • St James Centre and Princes Mall— Undercover shopping centres just off the east end of Princes Street. More mainstream chain shops plus the St James has the John Lewis[37] department store.

George Street

George Street[38] houses generally more upmarket shops and boutiques, as well as a number of bars and restaurants. It runs parallel to Princes Street, about 200m to the north.

  • Slater Menswear, 100 George Street, 0131 220 3223, [5]. Eastern outpost of the famous Glasgow institution. Broad range at keen prices - attentive service.
  • Grays of Edinburgh, 89 George Street, 0131 225 7381, [6]. Hardware and household goods supplier to all the finest Edinburgh households, including the Royal one.
  • Brooks Brothers, 57 George Street, 0131 226 2827, [7]. The only UK shop outside London of this upmarket American clothes retailer.

Multrees Walk

At the north-east corner of St Andrews Square, at the east end of George Street. Home to the Harvey Nichols [39] department store and a number of international clothing brands including Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Daks, Kurt Geiger, and modern silver jewellers Azendi [40] and Links of London. Melt your credit card here. [41]

West End

William Street and Stafford Street, at the west end of the New Town, are home to a mix of smaller shops, good for unusual designer (womens) clothes and accessories, and interior design.

  • Studio One, 10 Stafford St, 0131 226 5812, [8]. Classy selection of home accessories, toys and gifts.
  • Vanilla Bloom (for yummy mummies), 39-43 William St, 0131 220 2502, [9]. Designer maternity wear and baby acessories, also has a spa/therapy room.
  • Sam Thomas (womenswear), 18 Stafford St and 5 William St, [10]. Designer clothes, shoes and accessories for ladies.

Broughton Street

Boho area at the north east of the New Town, with a great variety of shops, delis, bars and restaurants. Locals know all about it, visitors often miss it.

  • Bliss (Cards and Gifts), 111a Broughton Street (Right at the bottom of Broughton Street, on the right-hand side walking downhill), 0131 556 3311. Funky little shop with a lovely range of cards and gifts.
  • Crombies (Renowned Butchers), 97-101 Broughton Street, 0131 557 0111. Award-winning family-run butchers shop, now in it's 3rd generation. Great quality local meat, best known for their amazing range of sausages.
  • Villeneuve Wines (Independent Wine Retailer), 49a Broughton Street, 0131 558 8441 (), [11]. 12:30PM-10PM Mo-Th, 9AM-10PM Fr-Sa, 1PM-8PM Su. An excellent range of wines in stock at this branch of a small local chain. The knowledgable staff are always happy to help out with any advice you need. Good range of quality bottled beers too, and this is also a great place to buy Malt Whiskies with over 150 usually in stock.
  • Joey D (Designer Fashion), 54 Broughton Street, 0131 5576672, [12]. Edinburgh fashion designer creating unique items from vintage fabrics. Mens and womens ranges.
  • Concrete Wardrobe, 50A Broughton Street, 0131 558 7130. Mon-Sat 10AM-6PM. An independent shop set up by two Scottish textile designers to showcase artisan products from Scotland. Home furnishings, clothes, jewellery and gifts. A lovely place to browse.
  • Threadbare (vintage and 2nd hand womenswear), 58A Broughton Street. Like a dressing up box you can walk into, this amazing little basement shop is crammed to the gunwales with vintage clothing.
  • Seesaw Toys, 109 Broughton Street, 0131 556 9672, [13]. Family run shops (there's another branch at 181 Brunstsfield Place) stocking a well-selected range of traditional wooden toys, from simple rattles for babies, to musical instruments, and larger items such as ride-on toys and giant castles. Also stock a range of organic baby clothes, washable nappies, and lotions and potions for mothers and babies.

Leith Walk

Leith Walk joins Edinburgh to Leith, so the top half is in the New Town, and the bottom half is in Leith. Despite having been invaded by an array of Polish Grocers (Polski Sklep) of late, and the reduction in trade caused by works on the tram project, Leith Walk still has an amazing variety of independent shops. Locals claim there is nothing you can't buy somewhere on Leith Walk (even if it's illegal!). Have fun trying to prove this wrong!

  • Valvona & Crolla (World-famous Deli), 19 Elm Row, Leith Walk (Near the top of Leith Walk, on the eastern side), 0131 556 6066, [14]. Its grey frontage looks unassuming, but step through the door into a wonderland of food, much of it sourced direct from Italy by the family that have owned and run this business since 1934. Appears in the Sunday papers more often than Sudoku. If you like the look (and smell!) of all the goodies but wouldn't know what to do with any of it, just continue to the back of the shop and hope to get a seat in the bright cafe
  • Harburn Hobbies, 67 Elm Row, Leith Walk, 0131 556 3233, [15]. Family run business established in the 1930s. Specialises in model railways, including some items exclusive to this shop. Also die-cast model vehicles, Scalextric slot car racing systems and plastic and wooden model construction kits.
  • Vinyl Villains (2nd-hand records), 5 Elm Row, Leith Walk, 0131 558 1170. Second-hand record shop of the type that used to be found in every town in the country. Vinyl Villains has survived due to maintaining high standards of service and always having plenty of interesting items in stock. Specialise in vinyl (duh!) but also CDs, T-shirts, posters, fanzines (including some football titles)



  • Snax, West Register Street, is a small independent fast food joint. The food is cheap and edible, perfect for tourists on a budget. Also has a decent selection of vegetarian options.
  • Rapido (Fish'n'Chips and a whole lot more), 77–79 Broughton Street, 0131 556 2041. All the usual fish and chip shop favourites at the right hand end of the counter, plus plenty of vegetarian options. Head to the left-hand end of the counter for pastries, wraps, pasta dishes and some tantalising desserts. Also a good range of pizzas. There's a couple of tables and also some stools at a window shelf if you want to eat in.
  • Piccante (The Disco Chippy!), 19 Broughton St, 0131 478 7884. If you want an atmosphere with your greasy food fix then this is the place. Very friendly staff and a DJ at weekends. The menu includes everything you'd expect from a Scottish chippy. The home-made burgers are a real stand-out and deep-fried mars bars are available for tourists.

Mid Range

  • Oloroso [42], 33 Castle Street, tel 0131 226 7614. Contemporary cuisine in a stunning rooftop location. Can be a little pretentious at times.
  • Cafe St Honore, 34 Thistle Street Lane. Pairing Scottish food with fresh seafood, this chic cafe is warm and inviting.
  • Henderson's, 94 Hanover Street, 0131 225 2131 [43]. Edinburgh institution, self service salad bar in the basement and vegetarian bistro round the corner.
  • The Mussel Inn, 61-65 Rose Street [44]. Seafood restaurant owned by shellfish producers, ingredients direct from the west coast.
  • Lune Town Cantonese Restaurant, 38 William Street. This award winning Chinese restaurant is located on the corner of Manor Place and William Street near to St Mary's Cathedral in the West End.
  • Rincón de España, near Haymarket station. A lively and atmospheric restaurant serving solid tapas cuisine.
  • A Room in the West End, 26 William Street [45]. A local favourite serving modern Scottish cuisine at reasonable prices. Has another branch A Room in Town at 18 Howe Street.



George Street hosts many of Edinburgh's trendier bars. These tend to be popular with the besuited after work crowd on a Friday. Not traditional Edinburgh bars but probably more typical of modern Edinburgh.

  • The Opal Lounge, 51 George Street, [16]. One of Edinburgh's trendiest nightspots. DJs play reguarly most nights. If it was chocolate it would eat itself.
  • Tonic, 34a North Castle St. Award winning cocktail bar - their Silver Mercedes is a particularly popular choice. One of the more interesting bars in this vicinity.
  • Fingers, 61a Frederick Street, 0131 225 3026. Piano Bar with a late license so is a popular place to end the night with folk who don't fancy hitting a night club. Can attract an "eclectic" crowd so a good place for late night people watching.. If you made a comparison with the famous bar scene in Star Wars you wouldn't be the first to think that way.
  • Bar38 (126-128 George St) and All Bar One (29-31 George Street). If you've ever been out drinking in any UK city centre you will know what to expect of these chain pubs.
  • The Dome, 14 George Street, 0131 624 8624 (, fax: 0131 624 8649), [17]. Former bank headquarters. Very impressive to look at inside - just to into the main bar and look up. The Why Not nightclub (downstairs, separate entrance) is frequented by a young crowd who would love to go to Opal Lounge but know the bouncers won't let them in.
  • The Standing Order, 62-66 George St, 0131 225 4460, [18]. A cavernous converted bank building. It is part of the J. D. Wetherspoon chain and always has a wide range of drinks at quite cheap prices - a pint of locally brewed Caledonian IPA is £1, pint of beer and burger £5, and lunch options include fish and chips for £3.50. They also serve typical pub food and again some of the special offers make the food very reasonable. Like most Wetherspoons it's good value but a bit soulless.

Thistle Street and Young Street, which run parallel to George Street 1 block to the north have an intersting selection of more traditional pubs.

  • The Oxford Bar, 8 Young St, 0131 539 7119, [19]. Very basic Scottish pub, made famous by "Harry the rudest barman in Scotland" (no longer there) and as a backdrop for some of the action in the Ian Rankin "Inspector Rebus" novels. If you need to see the definition of "not enough room to swing a cat", see the front bar. Call in and ask for a pint of IPA with an Ardberg chaser (Rebus' favourite)

Broughton Street on the north east side of the New Town has a wide range of bars. Gay, gay-friendly, traditional, trendy, there's at least one bar on Broughton Street to suit all tastes, and many of them also do good food (it's a popular venue for breakfast at the weekend).

  • The Basement, 10-12a Broughton Street, 0131 557 0097, [20]. Probably the catalyst for the development of the Broughton Street "scene". The first Style Bar to move in, this is trendy but not pretentiously so. In a basement (you guessed?) near the top of the street. Worries that a recent refurb would spoil the ambience proved unfounded. Super range of beers including German, Czech, Mexican, and known for good quality and good value food too.
  • Mathers, 25 Broughton street,, 0131 556 6754. Mon-Thu: 11A,-12PM, Fri-Sat: 11PM-12:30PM, Sun: 12:30PM - 11PM. Traditional bar. Good range of real ales and whiskys, reasonable pub food. Big screen for football and rugby.
  • The Cask & Barrel, 115 Broughton Street, 0131 556 3132, [21]. Readers of Christopher Brookmyre's novels will recognise this place as the regular haunt of investigative journalist Jack Parlabane, the venue for "off-the-record" meetings with his Police contacts. Parlabane clearly has good taste for a journalist, as the "Cask" is a proper traditional boozer with a touch of class. Nine Real Ale taps plus a number of draft lagers and many more in bottle. Good range of whisky too. Great place to watch the football or rugby as they have 6 or 7 screens dotted around. It's not uncommon to find 3 different matches being shown at the same time. Refreshingly, the screens are only switched on for specific events, and not left showing random cable channels the rest of the day, like so many pubs seem to do.
  • Mezz, 49-51 London Street (Corner of Broughton and London Streets), 0131 556 9808. Unpretentious style bar. Good food, long opening hours and free wifi.
  • The Cumberland Bar, 1-3 Cumberland Street (Cumberland Street runs west-east from Dundas Street to Dundonald Street), 0131 558 3134. Another pub with literary connections - this is the regular hangout of the fictional denizens of Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street (the real-life street is just around the corner but finding No.44 is a challenge!). Traditional pub popular with New Town locals, students, the suits from local offices, pretty much everyone in fact. Gets very busy in summer due to its lovely beer garden - one of the few pubs close to the city centre to have one. Plenty of drink options and they also do decent food. Perhaps slightly more expensive than most places on Broughton Street but cheaper than George Street.

Tiny West Register Street is hidden away behind Burger King at the east end of Princes Street. It's well worth seeking out as it is home to several interesting bars.

  • The Voodoo Rooms, 19a West Register Street, 0131 556 7060 (), [22]. Very interesting new (2008) venue that should make some of the old pretenders on George Street step up their game a bit. Just go there for a drink or two, or book a table in the restaurant area to try the ecelectic cajun-inspired menu, or check out the events listings - they have already hosted a range of gigs from folk to country to dance to rock, as well as comedy and theatre. Currently 'the' place to be seen, and for a change, lives up to the tag.
  • The Penny Black, 17 West Register St, 0131 5561106. 6am until 12noon (Not Sundays). Yes you are reading those opening hours correctly. The (in)famous Penny Black is where many a night out aspires to get to when folk are talking big at around 1 or 2AM. Only the most hardcore will make it. Worth the effort as long as you're not easily scared, or obssessed by cleanliness.
  • Cafe Royal Circle Bar, 17a and 19 West Register Street, 0131 556 4124. Beautifully tiled Victorian palace of a pub, designed in 1862 as a showroom for the latest fixtures and fittings. The adjacent Cafe Royal Oyster Bar restaurant continues the theme. Unmissable.
  • The Guildford Arms, 1-5 West Register Street, 0131 556 4312 (, fax: 0131 624 7056), [23]. The Guildford vies with its neighbour the Cafe Royal for Victorian opulence. The ceiling is particularly impressive, best viewed from the Gallery restaurant on the mezzanine level. Run by the same family since it opened in 1898 and prides itself on its real ales.
  • The Regent, 2 Montrose Terrace, 0131 661 8198. Campaign for Real Ale Edinburgh and S.E. Scotland Pub of the Year 2008, The Regent is unofficially a gay bar but is very straight-friendly. Free wifi available.


  • Caledonian Backpackers Hostel.


  • Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel [46] 9 Haddington Place, EH7 4AL, 0131 524 2090. Splendid large hostel near the top of Leith Walk, about 10 minutes walk from Waverley Station. The hostel opened in September 2006, and replaces Edinburgh Eglinton and Bruntsfield Youth Hostels, which are now closed. Unusually for the SYHA, it serves meals and the cafe is open to the public. There is also a self catering kitchen, and plasma screens abound. In addition to dormitories, some rooms (including singles) are available. From £16 for a dormitory bed.
  • Bus Station Backpackers Hostel, [47]. This is a brand new hostel located 90m from St. Andrews Bus Station. Small and friendly, dorms from 11 pounds including breakfast and free internet.
  • Caledonian Backpackers Hostel, [48]. 3 Queensferry St, EH2 4PA, 0131 226 2939. Big hostel located in the West End of the New Town. They have a late checkout time of 12pm, and offer free internet as well as free breakfast served till 12. Also features a bar and pool tables and a bean bag cinema. Beds start at £9 during the week.

Bed and Breakfast

  • 7 Gloucester Place, 7 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh New Town [49]. Rooms range from £30-£45 pppn and it is in an ideal location, only 5 min from Princes Street. Includes wifi access.


  • Edinburgh Self Catering with, 12 Inverleith Place, 07954 705 745, [24]. Our friendly and helpful service helps you find the apartment that is right for you. With several apartments in and around the New Town, you will have a range of options to choose. We will help your stay in Edinburgh to be more memorable. Use our Online Booking facility, or give us call to find the flat that is right for you. From £50 per night.
  • Adria House, 11-12 Royal Terrace, EH7 5AB, 0131 556 7875, [25]. A well established, friendly, family-run and fully non-smoking 3* Guest House, centrally situated at the eastern edge of the New Town and just a few minutes walk from the Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre and the main bus and train stations. Offering charming, comfortable accommodation and good value for it’s central location. Easy walking distance to many principal cultural, historical and retail landmarks From £34-£60 per person per night.
  •, 6 Queen Street, 0131 240 0080, [26]. 3-5 star apartments. is the largest serviced apartment provider in Scotland. Offering accommodation in various locations around the city centre, from budget to luxury, it can cater for all your needs. From £59 per night.
  • The Walton, 79 Dundas Street, 0131 556 1137, [27]. 4 star rated New Town guest house. Only a 10 minute walk from the Princes Street From £45 per night.
  • Mount Royal Hotel, Edinburgh, 53 Princes Street, EH2 2DG, 0844 815 9017 (fax: 0121 220 4671), [28]. 4 star hotel with views over Princess Street gardens up to Edinburgh castle. From £65 per night.
  • The Glenora, 14 Roseberry Crescent, 0131 337 1186, [29]. Situated in the Haymarket area and featured in the 2008 Michelin Guide. Gorgeous dining room and serves an organic breakfast
  • Swallow Learmonth Hotel, 18 - 20 Learmonth Terrace, Edinburgh, EH4 1PW, 0131 343 2671 (), [30]. Located in the West End of Edinburgh on a quiet Georgian tree lined terrace. A few minutes walk to Princes Street.
  • Parliament House Hotel, 15 Calton Hill, +44 (0) 131 478 4000, [31]. City centre hotel with 3 stars From £130 per night.
  • Georgian Apartment Holiday Rental, +44 (0)131 313 1472, [32]. 3 bedroom apartments are available in the historical Edinburgh New Town From £99 per night.
  • Dickins: for your Edinburgh home from home, 17 Dundas Street, 0131 558 1108, [33]. Here at Dickins we let special, hand-picked apartments and houses all year round from three days up to six months. Our properties have been chosen because they are unique, special, reflect Edinburgh and feel like a home from home. From £32 per night.
  • Lyncliff Hotel, 4 Windsor Street, Edinburgh EH7 5JR, +44-131-556-6972 (, fax: +44-131-478-7059), [34]. Great location just off the top of Leith Walk, close to the Playhouse Theatre and Broughton Street, and less than 10 minutes walk from Waverley Station. Twin, triple and family rooms available. Fairly basic - most facilities are shared. Doubles from £75 per night.


  • The Caledonian Hilton, Princes Street, tel +44 (0)131 222 8888 [50]. A five star hotel situated within the building of the Old Caledonian Railway Station. This century old hotel is centrally located and holds fantastic views of the Edinburgh Castle on one side. Three restaurants are situated within the hotel as well as two separate bars. Prices vary from £35 for a basic double to £400 for a luxurious suite (and they are luxurious).
  • The Glasshouse, a Hotel of the Eton Collection, 2 Greenside Place, tel +44 (0)131 525 8200 [51]. The Glasshouse Hotel is the newest boutique hotel in Edinburgh, creating a perfect balance between modern luxury and its historic surroundings.
  • The Howard Hotel, 34 Great King Street, tel: +44 (0)131 557 3500 [52]. The Howard is a small privately owned 5-star Georgian retreat in the heart of Edinburgh's historic New Town.
  • The Old Waverley Hotel, 43 Princes Street Edinburgh EH2 2BY, 0131 556 4648 (, fax: 0131 557 6316), [35]. Centrally located in the New Town area of Edinburgh, Princes Street.



  • EasyInternetCafé have two locations in the centre of Edinburgh New Town: 58 Rose Street[53], EH2 2YQ. It is located on the first floor of the adjacent Cafe Nero, so unless you're looking up at the first story windows, look for the Cafe Nero instead. Open daily 7:30AM-10:30PM; 137 Princes Street [54], EH2 4BL, also open 7 days a week.
  • Many bars and cafes offer free wifi, look out for signs in the windows (see Drink above).

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!