Edinburgh New Town

Edinburgh Princes Street

Edinburgh New Town

Edinburgh’s New Town, located in the northern half of Scotland’s capital, is a stunning mix of architecture and history. Designed in the 18th century, the New Town sits in striking contrast to the medieval charm of the Old Town and features many of the city’s top attractions.

The New Town’s history is deeply intertwined with the Scottish Enlightenment. James Craig, a young architect, won a competition that led to the creation of its design in 1766. Craig’s vision was to create a harmonious balance between urban living and nature, resulting in the New Town’s spacious layout and plentiful green spaces.

The New Town stretches from Princes Street in the south to Stockbridge in the north, encompassing St. Andrew Square and Calton Hill in the east and Charlotte Square and Moray Place in the west.

Princes Street Gardens

The architecture of the New Town is characterized by elegant Georgian townhouses, with grand frontages that face a symmetrical network of cobbled streets in a wide, grid-like design that was so popular at the time that it influenced many of the cities in the United States.

Geographically, the New Town sits on relatively flat terrain in contrast to the hilly topography of the Old Town, and it’s flanked by two of the most scenic parts of Edinburgh: the Water of Leith to the west and Princes Street Gardens to the south.

When it comes to attractions, the New Town is absolutely brimming with them. Princes Street, the city’s main shopping thoroughfare, is home to a number of historic buildings including the Balmoral Hotel, the ultra-modern billion-pound St. James Quarter, and the must-visit Johnnie Walker Experience, while to the rear, St. Andrew Square and Charlotte Square are surrounded by dozens of restaurants, cafes, and luxury independent shops.

The New Town is also home to Rose Street and George Street which are known for their vibrant pubs and boutiques, while Queen Street is home to the excellent, but often missed, Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Edinburgh Lothian Bus

Find places to visit and things to do in Edinburgh’s New Town with these visitor guides.

  • Calton Hill

    Calton Hill

    Calton Hill, located close to Princes Street, features a collection of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks situated within a few hundred feet of each other. A visit to the site allows visitors to explore the city observatory (now an exhibition, art gallery and restaurant), the National Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument and Nelson’s Monument.

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  • OMNi Centre

    OMNi Centre

    If you’re looking for a one-stop destination for entertainment and dining, then the Omni Centre is the perfect place to visit. Located in the heart of Edinburgh, this multi-purpose complex offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages, from catching the latest blockbuster movie to indulging in dishes from a variety of restaurants.…

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  • Princes Street Gardens

    Princes Street Gardens

    Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh is one of the largest public spaces in the city. Originally a body of water called the Nor Loch, the gardens were designed in the 1770s but weren’t created until 1820 when the loch was drained. Today, the gardens are a popular recreational area that features a number of popular…

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  • Scottish National Gallery

    Scottish National Gallery

    The Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh is home to some of the world’s greatest artworks, as well as an extensive collection of Scottish masterpieces. The gallery is adjacent to the Royal Scottish Academy between East and West Princes Street Gardens where visitors can relax in a purpose-built restaurant and café with terrace seating. See all…

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  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery

    Scottish National Portrait Gallery

    The Scottish National Portrait Gallery offers a captivating window into the lives and legacies of illustrious Scots as well as the important events that shaped Scotland into the country it is today. This article delves into the world of portraiture to show you exactly what it’s like to visit the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in…

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  • St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral

    St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral

    In this article, you’ll discover the magnificent St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, an architectural gem nestled in the heart of Edinburgh. This awe-inspiring building, with its soaring spires and intricate stonework, has been an integral part of the city’s skyline since its consecration in 1879. Even though it’s the largest religious site in the city it’s…

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  • The Balmoral

    The Balmoral

    The Balmoral Hotel is a historic building situated in the heart of Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland. The luxury hotel is located next to Waverley train station and was built in 1902 by the North British Railway Company. Today, it is a popular landmark that attracts visitors to its superb restaurants and bars.

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  • The Scott Monument

    The Scott Monument

    The 200-foot-tall Scott Monument is the world’s largest monument to a writer. The Gothic tower was constructed in commemoration of the Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott and it’s one of the most prominent features in Edinburgh’s city centre. During a visit, tourists can climb the winding staircase inside the tower which opens up onto platforms…

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