Edinburgh's Royal Mile is the heart of Scotland's historic capital. A short walk away is the Grassmarket, an area steeped in the city's colourful history.
Royal Mile, Edinburgh
The Royal Mile runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, perched high on a base of volcanic rock, with the splendorous Palace of Holyroodhouse, resting in the shadow of Arthur's Seat. The Mile is overlooked by impressive, towering tenements, between which cobbled closes and narrow stairways interlock to create a secret underground world.
Peppered with superb attractions such as The Real Mary King’s Close or the Scottish Storytelling Centre, historical sites including St Giles' Cathedral and some of the best eating and drinking spots in the city, the Royal Mile offers much to see and do. For a glimpse of recent history, be sure to visit the ultra-modern Scottish Parliament, a striking building boasting a cutting-edge design.
Once a medieval market place and site for public executions, the Grassmarket area is now a vibrant area buzzing with lively drinking spots and eclectic shops. Its detailed medieval architecture, stunning castle views and dynamic atmosphere make it one of the city’s most-loved areas, frequented by tourists, students and professionals alike.
Though Grassmarket executions ceased in 1784, some of the traditional area’s pubs, such as The Last Drop and Maggie Dickson's, keep alive the bloody tale of a chequered past. The White Hart Inn has played host to some famous patrons, including Robert Burns, and like many other pubs in the Grassmarket, offers live music and acoustic performances on most nights. You can learn more about the area by following the free Greater Grassmarket Historic Trail map and listening to the free commentary.
Fashion fans will uncover a wealth of gems at Armstrongs Vintage Emporium, a haven of retro clothes and quirky accessories, while Fabhatrix offers beautiful hand-made hats and accessories, perfect for a Scottish summer shower or winter frost. Scottish and European restaurants are dotted around the square, many of them offering outdoor seating areas for al fresco dining in the summer months.