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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 nineteen fifties, 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.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Edinburgh, Scotland within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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
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 other sites. Check out the most popular Edinburgh squares and streets in the following self-guided tour.

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

Cannongate Walking Tour

The Canongate district takes its name from the main street called the "Canongate" and forms the lower, eastern half of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh's historic Old Town. It contains some other notable public buildings, including Huntly House (now the Museum of Edinburgh) and the historic Canongate Tolbooth (now housing the People's Story Museum), as well as the Canongate Kirk and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Edinburgh without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Edinburgh, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Museums & Galleries, Old Town

Museums & Galleries, Old Town

Popular for its rich cultural heritage, Edinburgh attracts a large number of tourists towards its numerous history and science museums that tell the compelling story of Scotland. Edinburgh is also a city where many locals spend their free time visiting galleries and attending art events. You can find amazing collections of original artwork in the many exhibitions around town. Take this tour and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
New Town Walking Tour

New Town Walking Tour

The New Town is a central area of Edinburgh, considered to be a masterpiece of historic city planing, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy, but also to an upmarket range of independent eateries and restaurants, as well as some of the best pubs and bars you will find in Edinburgh. Take the following tour to discover the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Old and New Town Best Pubs

Old and New Town Best Pubs

Edinburgh is known for its sheer number of pubs, old and new, that offer various events, and provide the best drinks and food to their visitors. Many of them have live music performances that attract both locals and tourists, 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 self-guided tour to...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 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...
Top 12 Pubs On and Around Royal Mile in Edinburgh

Top 12 Pubs On and Around Royal Mile in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a vibrant city with abundant nightlife and no shortage of places to go after dusk. The Royal Mile alone, in the very heart of Edinburgh, is laden with character spots craving to be discovered by the first time visitors to the city. This is the highlight of some of the most notable bars...
Scottish Souvenirs: 15 Authentic Scottish Things to Buy in Edinburgh

Scottish Souvenirs: 15 Authentic Scottish Things to Buy in Edinburgh

The popularity of Scotland stretches far beyond its geographical borders, fueled, in large part, by Hollywood's interest in the Scottish theme - Sean Connery (as James Bond), "Braveheart", etc. Indeed, the cultural spectrum of this part of Britain is enormous and comprises great...