Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh (must see)

Between Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street, renowned for its superb shops, pubs and restaurants, lies the beautiful Princes Street Gardens, a haven of peace and beauty in the heart of the city.

110,000 years ago the area that is now the gardens was formed by glacial erosion, when the basalt bulk of Castle Rock caused a glacier to divide around it, forming a depression at the foot of the rock. For thousands of years this area was marshland and when man came to the region, it formed a natural defence at the foot of Castle Rock, which was inhabited since the 9th century BC.

King James III ordered the marsh to be flooded in 1460 to add to the defences of the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. The flooded area was named Nor Loch and it dominated the area until it was drained in 1759, although the vicinity sometimes gets flooded even today.

When the New Town was under construction, millions of tons of earth were dumped in the former loch and this eventually became The Mound, upon which many prestigious buildings now stand. The gardens were created in 1820; on the east side of The Mound they cover an area of 8.5 acres and on the west side they take up 29 acres.

The most important monument in the gardens is the Scott Monument, and there are a lot of statues dedicated to John Wilson, David Livingstone and Allan Ramsey, among others. There is a play area for children, lush lawns and spreading trees, lots of benches, kiosks and a café.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas and into the New Year the park hosts fairground rides, the city’s main Christmas Market and an ice-skating rink.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded on 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.

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Sight Map

Sight Name: Princes Street Gardens
Sight Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: New Town Walking Tour   Kids Entertainment Tour   City Orientation Walk  

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

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 the new Scottish Parliament building.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
Kids Entertainment Tour

Kids Entertainment Tour

Edinburgh is a city with a thousand and one things for children to enjoy. There are many sources of amusement for children of all ages, from tots to teens, such as playgrounds, toy stores, children's museums, sweet-shops, and wonderful ice cream stores to keep them happy. Take this tour and discover the best kids entertainment venues in Edinburgh!

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
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: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
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 discover the most popular pubs in Edinburgh Old and New Town.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Comfortably yet tightly packed on the hilly terrain, Edinburgh – the Scottish capital – is a picturesque city much popular with tourists, in large part, due to its unique architecture comprising medieval (Old Town) and elegant Georgian (New Town) buildings. The cityscape is dominated by Edinburgh Castle, once the seat of the Scottish royals and now home to the country's crown jewels. To see this and other most prominent sights of Edinburgh, follow this orientation walk.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Royal Mile Walking Tour

Royal Mile Walking Tour

The Royal Mile is not in fact a street, but the name given to a succession of streets forming a thoroughfare at the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. The thoroughfare is about a mile long and runs between the famed Edinburgh Castle and the Holyrood Palace. The Mile is home to the Courts, St. Giles Cathedral, the City Chambers, John Knox's house, and also numerous shops and restaurants. Take the following tour and explore the famed Mile at your own pace!

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 km

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