Cowgate Street, Edinburgh

Cowgate Street, Edinburgh

Cowgate Street is in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It runs from Holyrood Road, under George IV Bridge, to the Grassmarket.

The street is so named as once cows were driven along here to the market. “Gate” is another term for street. As it lies in the same small valley as the Grassmarket, Cowgate is lower than the surrounding street levels.

From the 18th century until the end of the 1950s, Cowgate was part of the city’s slum area and was known as “Little Ireland” due to the number of Irish immigrants who settled there. James Connolly was born at number 107. He is known for his leadership in the Irish Easter Rising in 1916. During the Rising he was wounded and was executed tied to a chair.

The oldest building in the street is Magdalen Chapel, built in the 16th century. Another fine old building is St Cecilia’s Hall, built in 1761 for the Musical Society. It has a small concert area and houses a small museum of musical instruments.

During the Edinburgh Festival you can get tickets to see one of the shows or concerts that are put on by the Underbelly Theatre, and there is a wonderful pub along the street called the Three Sisters, where you can enjoy a good meal and sample some of Scotland’s finest beers and whiskies.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Edinburgh. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Cowgate Street on Map

Sight Name: Cowgate Street
Sight Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (See walking tours in Edinburgh)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

Create Your Own Walk in Edinburgh

Create Your Own Walk in Edinburgh

Creating your own self-guided walk in Edinburgh is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

While in Edinburgh, discover the popular avenues, boulevards and streets that lead to its most famous squares. While exploring these streets, you can find a copious amount of historic and religious edifices, fashion boutiques, classy restaurants, famous market areas, and hidden gems. Check out a few popular Edinburgh squares and streets in this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Edinburgh Introduction Walking Tour

Edinburgh Introduction Walking Tour

Comfortably yet tightly packed on the hilly terrain, Edinburgh – the Scottish capital since at least the 15th century, and the seat of the Scottish Parliament since 1999 – is a picturesque city renowned for its unique architecture of the medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town, currently both listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The earliest known human habitation in the area dates...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Edinburgh Pub Crawl

Edinburgh Pub Crawl

Edinburgh is known for its sheer number of pubs, both old and new, suitable for various events, and spoiling their patrons with the best drinks and food in town. Many of them also have live music shows fit to delight locals and tourists alike, and although most traditional pubs are laid back and offer a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, some do have dance floors and double as nightclubs. Take this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Royal Mile Walking Tour

Royal Mile Walking Tour

A succession of streets forming the steep thoroughfare at the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, The Royal Mile is one of the city's busiest tourist destinations, lined with numerous shops, pubs and casual eateries, souvenir shops and small museums. It runs on a downwards slope for almost exactly a mile (hence the name, coined in 1920), from the famed Edinburgh Castle to the Scottish...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
New Town Walking Tour

New Town Walking Tour

Largely regarded as the masterpiece of historic city planing, the New Town of Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. The elegant area is home to the National Gallery of Scotland, a wealth of Georgian architecture lining broad avenues and open squares, abundant shopping opportunities on and around George Street, and many other delights firmly associated with Scotland's capital...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

The historical center of Edinburgh, popularly known as the Old Town, is indeed the oldest part of the Scottish capital. Most of the buildings here, made of stone and characterized by numerous tall windows, have been around since the Middle Ages and are covered with soot, left over from the days long gone, when houses were heated with hard-coal and wood. Hence the prevailing gray color in the area....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


19 Best Pubs in New Town, Edinburgh

19 Best Pubs in New Town, Edinburgh

A guide to the pubs that make up the area that is called Edinburgh's New Town. A description about what you can expect from each of the locations in the directory. A fantastic directory if you are a tourist or even a...
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