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Castle To Palace - Edinburgh's Royal Mile

An amble down the Royal Mile, soaking in the beauty and history of Edinburgh's "Old Town".
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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.3 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  This is a pleasant 1-1.5 mile walk downhill, along Edinburgh's World famous Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is Edinburgh's High Street,... more »

Tips:  The Royal Mile is right in the centre of The Old Town, and there are a number of bus routes serving it - via North Bridge and George... more »

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Points of Interest

Welcome to The Royal Mile! I am starting at the top, by Edinburgh Castle (a walk downhill is nicer than a walk uphill, afterall!).

This is a half-day walk, and there is not time to explore within the Castle on this walk. By all mean, spend the morning in the Castle, and then follow my Royal Mile trail for the afternoon... The view from the Castle... More

As you head down the Royal Mile, you will pass a number of popular attractions. There isn't time to fit them all into a short half day walk, but by all mean come back and explore! (Notable attractions - that I personally would return to, are Camera Obscura, The Whisky Experience and Mary Kings Close).

St Giles is an impressive Monolith rising... More

3. Cockburn St

It's worth diving down into Cockburn St (pronounced "Co-Burn") to have a look at the eclectic jewellery, craft and clothing stores. Coffee or a light lunch at Ecco Vino would be a lovely stopping point. There is even an old-fashioned sweete shoppe - complete with glass jars of candies, sold by the weight.

Yum Yum Yum - watch the master fudge-makers boil up batches of fresh fudge, before spreading and cooling them on huge marble slabs. Free tastings (go for the Maple and Pecan), and some of the creamiest fudge around on sale. Great for that much-needed sugar hit after a morning's walking.

John Knox House is an iconic building on the Royal Mile. It is a ramshackle building that tumbles out across the pavement. There is a plaque detailing John Knoxs' life - or head inside to the museum if you wish.

These two museums sit opposite each other, on either side of the Royal Mile, just down from John Knox House. They are both free, and offer unique insights into the history of the people of Edinburgh. Well worth popping in for an hour or two, especially if the weather is wet and dreary.

7. The Closes and Wynds

The Royal Mile is flanked on either side by ancient closes and wynds - tiny alley ways that head off down the steep sides of Castle Hill. In Medieval times, these cloese were home to layer upon layer of humanity - with the wealthiest merchants enjoying the daylight and relative splendour of the upper floors. The poorer classes were cramped into... More

8. Mary Queen of Scot's Bath House

You have reached the base of the Royal Mile - well done! Instead of being drawn immediately to the splendour of The Palace at Holyrood or the magnificence of Arthur's Seat - have a little look-see at Mary Queen of Scot's Bath House. This is my favourite building. In the World. Ever. It is the smallest ("wee-est"), most unloved little... More

9. The Palace At Holyrood

The Palace at Holyrood - Queen Elizabeth's residence in Edinburgh. Imposing, grand, somewhat austere - this is a true gem in Scotland's crown. Look from the outside, or pay to take a guided tour (highly recommended, if you have the time).

From the Palace, you are right beside the Scottish Parliament (with it's interesting and controversial facade... More