The Balmoral Hotel is a historic building situated in the heart of Princes Street in Edinburgh’s New Town. Its 58-metre clock tower is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city. The North British Railway Company constructed the opulent hotel in 1902, and it’s now a much-loved tourist destination that draws visitors to its restaurants and bars.

Balmoral Hotel
Address:1 Princes Street,
Opening Hours:24/7
Admission Price:Free
Parking:None on site. Valet parking for guests.
Contact:+44 131 556 2414
Facilities:Cafe, restaurant, bar, whisky room, toilets
Photos:Virtual Tour


The Balmoral is something of a landmark in Edinburgh, partly because it’s one of the grandest buildings in the city and partly because it has been a prominent feature of Princes Street for well over a hundred years. Built in 1902 for the North British Railway Company, the Balmoral Hotel (originally the North British Station Hotel) lies at the eastern end of Princes Street, a short distance from The Scott Monument and directly adjacent to Waverley Train Station.

It’s certainly an impressive building thanks to its attractive Victorian architecture and imposing clock tower, and any visit to Edinburgh’s New Town wouldn’t be complete without a few photos of it set against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

The Balmoral is supremely luxurious, but it’s not without its quirks. For instance, stand outside the building and look up, and you’ll see the huge clock face soaring 190 feet overhead which is one of the most recognisable sights in the city.

Balmoral Hotel

You might be surprised to learn that it’s intentionally set three minutes fast so that people hurrying to Waverley station will be less likely to miss their trains. In fact, the only time of the year when the clock is set to the correct time is New Year’s Eve, when the city explodes in a riot of noise for the famous Hogmanay celebrations.

The story of The Balmoral originates with the North British Railway Company, which held a competition in 1895 to find the best design for a hotel that could accommodate the rapidly rising number of travellers arriving at Waverley Station.

The North British Hotel, or The N.B., as it was known for most of the twentieth century, was home to weary railway travellers until 1983, when The Gleneagles Hotel Company privately purchased it and then subsequently sold it to Rocco Forte Hotels in 1990. The new owners completely renovated the building inside and out, and a £23 million re-fit in 1990 means the interior is virtually unmatched by any other hotel in Scotland. Even the name suggests a place of luxury and opulence, with the word ‘balmoral’ meaning ‘majestic dwelling’ in Gaelic.

Edinburgh Waverley Train

The Highlights

1: This historic hotel boasts a prime location on Princes Street, offering unparalleled views of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town. Its central location makes it an ideal base for exploring the city’s main attractions, including the Royal Mile, the Scottish National Gallery, and Princes Street Gardens.

2: The Balmoral offers a range of opulent rooms and suites, each designed with a blend of traditional Scottish elements and contemporary luxury. Guests can expect sumptuous bedding, elegant furnishings, and state-of-the-art amenities, ensuring a comfortable and stylish stay.

3: The Balmoral is home to several dining venues, including the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant, where guests can indulge in innovative Scottish cuisine prepared with the finest local ingredients.

Visiting Tips

1: For afternoon tea or a relaxing evening drink, the Palm Court and Scotch Whisky Bar provide elegant settings to unwind and soak in the atmosphere of this historic hotel.

2: You’ll struggle to find a nicer place to eat than The Balmoral Hotel, but be warned, it isn’t cheap. Coffee is around £5 for a single espresso, while an afternoon tea is around £50 per person.

3: If you’re a fan of Harry Potter you might like to book yourself into the J.K. Rowling suite where the author wrote The Deathly Hallows.

Edinburgh Waverley

Tourist Information

There are six different dining areas in The Balmoral, all of which offer a unique experience, so here’s a quick overview of each one:

Brasserie Prince is a French-themed bistro that overlooks the corner of North Bridge and Princes Street. The food is a seasonally inspired fusion of French and Scottish cooking made with locally sourced ingredients, and while it’s not the most luxurious dining spot in the hotel, I have to say it’s my favourite, purely because it has such a relaxed atmosphere.

The bistro is instantly recognisable if you take a look at my virtual tour, where you’ll see the blue, green, and pink tones of the well-stocked bar framed against traditional oak-panelled walls.

Bar Prince is located next to Brasserie Prince, where it continues the French theme with big, comfy chairs around patio-style tables and leather stools lined against the bar. This is a more intimate area that centres around the delicious cocktails concocted by the hotel’s expert bartenders. While alcohol might be the main event, you can still enjoy a great selection of food from the à la carte menu.

Balmoral Hotel

Number One‘s restaurant offers the best dining in Edinburgh (in my opinion), and it’s the place to go if you’re celebrating a special occasion. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves seasonal ingredients from local suppliers in a setting that’s tastefully decadent, easily rivalling the famous The Witchery on Castle Hill. It’s not cheap, but let me assure you, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere better to eat in Edinburgh.

Palm Court is another ultra-luxurious dining space that exudes indulgence, and it’s the place to go if you intend to enjoy an afternoon tea with a sticky cake or two. Thanks to the enormous glass dome in the ceiling, Palm Court is bathed in natural light, which gives it a light and airy atmosphere that’s unmatched by any other restaurant in the city.

Scotch is the perfect venue if you’re in Edinburgh and you’re partial to a dram of fine whisky. It’s not the biggest whisky bar in the city (that title has to go to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s ‘The Vaults‘ in Leith), but it is one of the best, with an eye-popping selection of over 500 single malts.

Lastly, The Gallery is a small area of the hotel that is favoured by those wanting a quiet, relaxed place to enjoy a beverage away from the busier areas. Having only looked around it on a few occasions, I can’t comment too much, but I can confirm it does look very nice thanks to a collection of artworks sourced from the oldest fine art gallery in Scotland.

Balmoral Hotel

Things to Do

Afternoon Tea at Palm Court: Experience a quintessentially British tradition at the Palm Court. The Balmoral’s afternoon tea includes a delicious selection of finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries served with a wide range of loose-leaf teas.

Michelin-Star Dining at Number One: Treat your taste buds to an unforgettable culinary experience at Number One, Balmoral’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Taste innovative dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients and paired with exceptional wines, all within a luxurious, contemporary setting.

Spa at The Balmoral: Indulge in some well-deserved pampering at The Balmoral Spa. The spa offers a range of treatments from rejuvenating facials to relaxing massages. The tranquil setting, complete with a swimming pool, sauna, and steam room, ensures a blissful wellness experience.

Scotch Whisky Experience at SCOTCH: Visit SCOTCH, the hotel’s dedicated whisky bar, and discover Scotland’s national spirit. The bar boasts over 500 varieties of single malt whisky and knowledgeable bar staff are on hand to guide guests through tastings, taking them on a journey from the Lowlands to the furthest reaches of the Highlands.

Historic Suite Stay: For history enthusiasts, staying in one of The Balmoral’s historic suites is a must. These suites offer panoramic views of Edinburgh and are decorated with traditional Scottish furnishings in a perfect blend of luxury and comfort.

Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh

Things to Do Nearby

The Scott Monument. E. Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ. 3-minute walk.
A Gothic-style monument with a staircase and lookout platforms. Dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, located in Princes Street Gardens.

Calton Hill. Edinburgh EH7 5AA. 8-minute walk.
A prominent landmark in Edinburgh that offers panoramic views of the city. Also the location of the city planetarium, the National Monument and the Nelson Monument.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery. 1 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JD. 5-minute walk.
An art gallery dedicated to influential Scottish portrait artists. Set in a grand red sandstone building with a shop and café.

Scottish National Gallery. The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL. 6-minute walk.
Art gallery containing a varied collection of the nation’s masterpieces. Seasonal exhibitions are held throughout the year. Café and shop on site.

Edinburgh Dungeon. 31 Market St., Edinburgh, EH1 1DF, is a 5-minute walk.
The Edinburgh Dungeon is a thrilling attraction that takes you through Scotland’s dark history. With live actors, special effects, and rides, visitors can learn about historical events like the plague, the witch trials, and infamous criminals in a fun, interactive environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh previously called?

The North British Railway Company opened the Balmoral Hotel in 1902. It was originally named the North British Station Hotel. The hotel changed its name to The Balmoral Hotel in 1991.

How many rooms does The Balmoral Hotel have?

There are 167 rooms and 20 suites in The Balmoral Hotel. To see which rooms are available, take a look at the Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh official website.

Does The Balmoral Hotel allow dogs?

The Balmoral Hotel allows visitors to bring their dogs as long as they are under 20 lbs. Heavier dogs are only permitted if written consent is given by hotel management.

What are the check-in and check-out times at The Balmoral Hotel?

Check-in at The Balmoral Hotel is from 15:00, and check-out is until 12:00.
For further details contact reception: Address 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ. Phone number 0131 556 2414.

How much is a room in The Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh?

Rooms in Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel range from around £200 for a classic room to £850 for a grand suite, per night. To find deals, visit the Travel Supermarket website.

Is The Balmoral Hotel located near the city centre?

The Balmoral Hotel is located in the heart of Edinburgh city centre. It is positioned at the junction of Princes Street and North Bridge. Waverley train station is to the immediate west and the National Records of Scotland building is immediately opposite.

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Craig Neil

Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.