Royal Mile Walking Tour, Edinburgh

Royal Mile Walking Tour (Self Guided), Edinburgh

The Royal Mile, a steep thoroughfare in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, is one of the city's busiest tourist destinations. It runs down a slope, from the famed Edinburgh Castle to Holyroodhouse Palace and the ruined Holyrood Abbey, for almost exactly a mile and thus got its name, coined in 1920. The succession of streets forming the Royal Mile is lined with numerous shops, pubs, casual eateries, souvenir shops, and small museums, making it an interesting destination for tourists.

One of the highlights of the Royal Mile is the Scotch Whisky Experience, where you can learn about the art of whisky-making in Scotland. Nearby, the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions offer a fun and interactive experience with optical illusions and panoramic views of the city.

As you stroll along the Royal Mile, you'll come across the magnificent Saint Giles' Cathedral, a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Next to it, Royal Mile Whiskies is a paradise for whisky enthusiasts, offering a wide selection of Scotland's famous spirit.

Don't miss the Heart of Midlothian, a heart-shaped mosaic on the pavement that marks the location of the historic Tolbooth prison. Mary King's Close, a hidden underground street, provides a glimpse into Edinburgh's dark and mysterious past.

The Crest Of Edinburgh and Tron Kirk Church are other architectural gems along the way. If you're interested in history, visit the John Knox House and explore the life of the Scottish Reformation leader.

For a unique perspective on Edinburgh's past, head to the People's Story Museum and the Museum of Edinburgh. The Kirk of the Canongate Chapel is another historic site worth exploring.

As you reach the end of the Royal Mile, you'll find the Queen's Gallery, home to an impressive collection of art from the Royal Collection Trust.

The Royal Mile is a captivating journey through Edinburgh's history, culture, and art. For a closer look at its top attractions in your good time and at your own pace, take this self-guided tour and enjoy yourself!
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Royal Mile Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Royal Mile Walking Tour
Guide Location: Scotland » Edinburgh (See other walking tours in Edinburgh)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 17
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Author: Helen
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • St. Giles' Cathedral
  • Royal Mile Whiskies
  • Heart of Midlothian
  • Mary King's Close
  • Crest Of Edinburgh
  • Tron Kirk Church
  • Museum of Childhood
  • Geoffrey Taylor Kiltmakers
  • John Knox House
  • Gordon Nicolson
  • People's Story Museum
  • Museum of Edinburgh
  • Kirk of the Canongate Chapel
  • Dunbar's Close Garden
  • Queen's Gallery
Scotch Whisky Experience

1) Scotch Whisky Experience (must see)

What's the difference between “whisky” and “whiskey”? If you don’t know, visit The Scotch Whisky Experience to find the answer and discover a whole lot of other interesting facts about Scotland’s favourite tipple.

This interactive museum is great fun, even for children, who have their own guide – “Peat the Cat”, that will take them on an exciting tour full of fascinating facts and games. For adults, the journey through the museum begins with a barrel ride taking them through a mechanical replica of one of the first whisky distilleries. In there, the “Whisky Ghost” will tell you all about the distilling process.

Leaving the distillery, you’ll enter the MacIntyre Whisky Gallery where you will learn some, but not all the secrets about how the different whisky flavours are attained. Certain procedures are kept secret to keep the competition guessing! From this gallery, you’ll continue into the Sense of Scotland and experience the heady aromas of various types of whisky.

Finally, you’ll visit the tasting room where you will certainly find a whisky to suit your taste buds – just don’t ask for ice or soda, as these additives are almost hanging offenses! The museum has a wonderful shop with over 300 different malts on offer and gift boxes of miniatures.

The shop is open to the museum visitors and general public alike, but if you have taken the tour, you will have a generous discount on your purchases.

Why You Should Visit:
To feast your eyes on the largest collection of unopened whiskies with around 3400 different bottles valued at millions of pounds. To learn some history and tasting tips, plus to get to try whisky on its own, as well as with the artisan Scottish cheese and chocolate.

If you go on a tour, sign up for “gold” option if you like to sample whisky to your heart's content; otherwise, sign up for "silver", which is for those not keen on whisky that much but still wanting to learn about the distilling process.
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions

2) Camera Obscura and World of Illusions (must see)

Established in 1835 by entrepreneur Maria Theresa Short, Camera Obscura & World of Illusions holds historical significance in the development of regional planning, particularly in the context of Patrick Geddes' work. This unique attraction features more than 100 interactive exhibits, including the original Camera Obscura, spread across five floors, including a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views of Edinburgh.

Initially, Maria Theresa Short's "Short's Popular Observatory" was located in a wooden and stone building near the National Monument on Calton Hill. However, in 1851, this observatory was dismantled by authorities. Subsequently, Short relocated to Castlehill and, in 1852, purchased the townhouse of the Laird of Cockpen. She expanded the building by adding two additional storeys, creating Short's Observatory, Museum of Science and Art, which operated from 1853 to 1892.

In 1892, the site came under the management of Patrick Geddes, a pioneering Scottish urban planner, sociologist, and ecologist. He renamed it the "Outlook Tower" and transformed it into a museum and urban study center, reflecting his planning philosophy based on comprehensive surveys of the site, city, and region. The tower featured exhibits on various geographic themes as one ascended, ranging from the world on the ground floor to Europe, English-speaking countries, Scotland, and finally Edinburgh, with the camera obscura located in the topmost room.

The museum ceased operations following Geddes' passing in 1932. In 1966, the University of Edinburgh acquired the site with the intention of establishing the Patrick Geddes Centre and archive. In 1982, the building changed ownership to a private individual, but a one-room Geddes exhibit remained on the fourth floor.

Today, the tower stands as the city's oldest attraction, inviting visitors to explore six floors of interactive exhibits, including a top-floor Camera Obscura providing a virtual city tour. The rooftop terrace offers breathtaking views of Edinburgh with telescopes, while the lower floors house the "World of Illusions" featuring optical illusions, light, color, puzzles, a mirror maze, and a vortex tunnel. Besides its tourist appeal, the tower serves as an educational hub, delving into optical illusions, holography, photography origins, and Edinburgh's history.
St. Giles' Cathedral

3) St. Giles' Cathedral (must see)

Saint Giles’ Cathedral, otherwise known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, on the Royal Mile is the one you definitely wouldn't want to miss. The first church on this site, put up in the 12th century, was destroyed by fire; only the central pillars remain. The second church, built in 1385, over a period of time had many chapels added, giving it a rather haphazard appearance. At one time, the church boasted over 50 side altars, called aisles.

In 1466, the cathedral became a collegiate church, to which the lantern tower, in the form of a crown, was added in 1490. During the Reformation in 1560, most of the church’s treasures were removed, stolen or sold, including the most precious relic – Saint Giles’ withered arm and hand which had a diamond ring on one skeletal finger. The church itself was separated into numerous preaching halls by partition walls during that period.

Although called a cathedral, it was only one for two short periods of time during the Bishop Wars in the 17th century, so its statute of High Kirk is more important. It was restored in the 19th century, the partitions were removed and several chapels pulled down. The most beautiful of all the remaining ones is the Thistle Chapel, built in 1911 in a 15th-century High Gothic style. The wood and stone carvings are marvelous; it is filled with heraldry banners and has a breath-taking delicately carved vault.

Among the memorials here are a bronze relief plaque, dedicated to Robert Louis Stevenson, in the Moray Aisle; a marble sculpture of James Graham, the 1st Marquis of Montrose, in the Chapman Aisle; and another dedicated to Archibald Campbell, the 1st Marquis of Argyll, in the Saint Eloi Aisle. These two men, deadly enemies at the end of their lives, were the main signatories of the National Covenant in 1638.

Why You Should Visit:
Quiet, architecturally very special, and with such a wealth of spectacular stained glass that one cannot be anything else but awed.

Entry is free or by donation, but if you want to take pics, you'll need to fork over £2 for a "permit".
Best to get onto a tour as there's much you could miss just wandering on your own. A rooftop tour (£6) is also worth it.
Don't miss the café downstairs. The food is great and it is really cute.
Royal Mile Whiskies

4) Royal Mile Whiskies

What to buy here: Malt Scotch whisky.

There's hardly any better location for a shop to sell whisky in Edinburgh than the Royal Mile. And if you look for a bottle of whisky as a gift for family or friends, then the malt Scotch whisky is exactly what you need. The Single Malt Scotch Whisky, made exclusively from malted barley, is Scotland's biggest export, and Edinburgh is the home of the Malt Whisky Society, stocking the world's largest whisky collection.

Established in 1991, Royal Mile Whiskies is one of the most respected whisky merchants in the world, having won Whisky Magazine’s Retailer of the Year Award numerous times.

An important part of its success is the fantastic team of staff with decades experience in whisky retailing and tasting, fit to ensure that everyone, from the novice whisky drinker to the connoisseur, feels welcome. These people are true whisky enthusiasts who share a passion for all things whisky – especially Scottish Single Malt Whisky – and love nothing better than chatting about and tasting the product!

Since the outset, the shop has steadily grown in range and reputation. Today, you will find here the finest whisky selection from Scotland's best distilleries with a quality that speaks for itself. Capturing rarity and exclusiveness in a glass, this Scottish alcoholic drink captivates curious and discerning whisky lovers from all corners of the globe.

Prices vary between $30+ and $1,500+ per bottle.
Heart of Midlothian

5) Heart of Midlothian

While exploring the Royal Mile, you might see some of the locals partake in a rather bizarre, if not disgusting, ritual when passing a spot near the west door of Saint Giles Cathedral. As you draw closer, be careful to keep out of range, as you will see them spit on the Heart of Midlothian.

This heart-shaped mosaic, set in the cobbled-stone pavement, marks the entrance to the building that was demolished in 1817, but still stays in the memories of the people who grew up in the area. They spit here for good luck.

The building was the Old Tolbooth, a medieval customs house, which was also used for meetings by the Estates of Scotland for a short period. In 1640 it housed the Court of Session, the principal jail of the burgh, where prisoners were often tortured prior to being taken out for public execution in front of the entrance.

According to legend, Edinburgh’s petty thieves and not-so-petty criminals spat on the door, as they passed, to bring them luck against the day when they found themselves being taken through it.

Two centuries on, with the building gone, the heart in the cobble stones still reminds of the misery and torture carried out behind its walls.
Mary King's Close

6) Mary King's Close (must see)

If you are a fan of ghost stories and haunted houses, you’ll love Real Mary King’s Close, which is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Edinburgh, found deep under the Royal Exchange building.

The close is a series of winding streets and tenement houses that were used as the foundations of the Royal Exchange, many years after they had been closed off during the Great Plague that struck the city in 1645.

The plague, which came from Europe, was carried here by the fleas on the merchant ships’ rats and infested the poorer parts of the city, where hygiene was minimal, to say the least. Carried by flea bites, the plague spread and many of the poorer tenement areas were closed off as urgent quarantine measures.

Mary King’s Close was one such area and, according to legend, the people left inside the streets and buildings were bricked in and left to die either of the plague or starvation. Their ghosts, and particularly one of a small girl, named Annie, are said to be haunting the place.

The area was uncovered during renovations to the building over it and was opened to the public in 2003 as a tourist attraction. Guides in costume dress will lead you through the underground streets, which have been restored to 17th-century designs, and tell you the history of Mary King, the master seamstress, after whom the close was named, as well as about Annie.

You can leave a toy or make a small donation to the poor little spirit who wanders the streets looking for her favourite doll. All these gifts are, in turn, given to the hospital for sick children and other charities.
Crest Of Edinburgh

7) Crest Of Edinburgh

What to buy here: Scottish crest badge.

If you spot an abundant display of textiles on mannequins, including dogs, creating a colorful scene outside a store on the Royal Mile, rest assured that you've reached the Crest of Edinburgh. This small souvenir shop sells Scottish and tartan clothing in its variety, plus a wide range of clan-crested Scottish items, such as cufflinks, sporrans, sgian dubhs, badges and many other kilt accessories. Among them, particularly noteworthy are Scottish crest badges.

This heraldic badge, representing a crest embodied with a motto and most often worn by representatives of Scottish clans, can make a great gift for your family or friends.

Crest badges are made of silver or white metal and constitute an important accessory of the Scottish traditional dress. Women tend to wear it as a brooch, usually on the left side. Even though clan crests are often bought and sold, the heraldic crest and slogan correspond only to the chief and never to the individual clan member. Prices vary from $20 to $150 apiece.
Tron Kirk Church

8) Tron Kirk Church

While in Edinburgh, surely taking a walk along the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Holyrood Abbey, you will see on the one side of this famous street the Tron Kirk Church.

This once beautiful church was built in the 17th century on the orders of King Charles I. Its Palladian and Gothic design had a Dutch influence, inspired by architect John Mylne, who had been impressed by the “Architectura moderna” churches designed by Hendrick de Keyser.

The original building was T-shaped, conforming to the then modern 17th century religious practices, but was re-designed in 1787, when the South Bridge was built. In 1820, the wooden spire was destroyed in a fire and the stone spire, seen today, was installed in 1828.

The building was de-consecrated in 1952 and has been used for various purposes ever since, including a tourist information centre and Black Heart Entertainment who organised ghost tours around the city.

In the 1970s, excavations carried out in the crypt discovered remains of Marlin’s Ward, including the cellars of an ancient building, a part of a paved street. These can now be viewed when the building is open to the public.

For several years the church has been the subject of a lively debate. Some want to knock it down, while others want it restored. In the meantime, it gets a little more dilapidated while people fight over its fine architecture and it would be a shame if this well-known landmark disappeared.
Museum of Childhood

9) Museum of Childhood

If your kids are a bit fed up with visiting ancient monuments and galleries, it’s time to take them to the Museum of Childhood on the Royal Mile.

Back in the early 1950s, Patrick Murray, a member of the Edinburgh Council, realized that a lot of children weren’t so keen on the museums their parents took them to on cold, wet days. So he began to think about a museum dedicated to children and everything that centers around kids – their education, health and, of course, their toys and games. In this way, he hoped to amuse and educate both children and adults. In 1955 he founded the Museum of Childhood.

It is really a great place for everyone; the exhibits are spread out in five galleries over five floors and deal, as Mr. Murray had hoped, with every aspect of childhood. In the Education section, your children can learn about how schools were run between 1950 and the present day, and see photos of classic classrooms. Different uniforms are on display, as well as the famous “birch rod”, used to discipline unruly pupils.

There are wonderful hands-on activities with a dressing-up room and a puppet theatre. And of course, there are toys all over the place! The children will see and learn about the toys and games that kept you and your parents happy long before video games were ever thought of. They can play with dolls and teddy bears, tin soldiers with cannons that fire match-sticks, numerous board games, train sets and other toys from around the world.

The museum has a wonderful toy shop, where your kids will quickly find a special toy to take home – and where you can perhaps buy a replacement for that favourite teddy of yours that you cuddled up with back in your childhood.

Why You Should Visit:
To step back in time – this place is not just for families. There are all sort of interesting toys & games on display, some dating back centuries, others from recent past decades.

Free entry, but there are donation boxes, as well as funny things and souvenirs you can buy on the ground floor.
Geoffrey Taylor Kiltmakers

10) Geoffrey Taylor Kiltmakers

What to buy here: Kilt | Tartan Scarf.

If you're keen on kilts and Scottish attire in general, a trip to Geoffrey Tailor Kiltmakers – one of the most acclaimed businesses on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, if not entire Scotland, when it comes to traditional made-to-measure kilts, Highland dress and accessories for gents, ladies and kids – is bound to prove a really captivating experience for you. Started by Geoffrey, the Master Tailor, and his wife Lorna in 1971, this family affair has carved out a strong niche as one of the country’s leading makers of “the national dress of Scotland”.

The company even has the expertise and real-life high speed powerlooms in action to design, create and register your own tartan. They have designed tartans for Hard Rock Café, Harley Davidson, Edinburgh Castle, and Holyrood Palace.

The place is really smashing, and those who run it are all about quality and with lots of knowledge. It might not be the cheapest store, since they offer the real thing – no imitations or hard sell here. Prices for kilts vary, based on size and texture, between $40 and $450, or more.

Another key garment that will definitely add a splash to any outfit you wear, whether for style or warmth, is the tartan scarf – a great accessory for both, men and women. These scarves come in a variety of options, including wool, silk and cashmere, and are often used as a sash for children. They feel soft and fuzzy, serving as a great highlight to your overall look. Their length allows you to wrap them in a variety of ways. An ideal gift for someone special or yourself! Prices vary, based on length and texture, between $10 and $200, or more.
John Knox House

11) John Knox House

House museums are always interesting to visit, not only because you get a fascinating insight into the lives of the building’s former occupants, but also because you can see what things were in fashion back in the day. John Knox House is no exception.

Built around 1490, this is the oldest house on the Royal Mile. It has wonderful hand-painted ceilings, oak beams and wooden galleries. Today it is owned and managed by the Church of Scotland, but previously it belonged to James Mossman, who was a royal goldsmith. He fashioned the crown for Mary, Queen of Scots, and later, the crown for her son, King James VI of Scotland.

Whether John Knox, the 16th century Protestant Reformer, actually ever lived here is debatable, but the house, which had become badly dilapidated, was saved from demolition in the 18th century by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, who put about the rumour that this had been Knox’s home before he died.

The house museum is a great place to visit for anyone who is interested in religious history as there are many manuscripts and artefacts from the Reformation period, including papers placed in a time capsule by Knox.

The museum is part of the Scottish Story-Telling Centre, and the history of Knox, Mossman and life in Edinburgh before and after the Reformation are related by guides in dress costume. There is a special room for children, full of puzzles, where they can dress up as John Knox.
Gordon Nicolson

12) Gordon Nicolson

What to buy here: Sporran.

A small company on a big mission – to re-energise and promote Scotland’s endangered national craft – Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers is a family-run business specialising in traditional handmade kilts and is a home to the Edinburgh Kilt Academy since 2016. It is therefore no wonder that they have an exclusive range of tartans, reputedly one of the best in Edinburgh, including: University of Edinburgh, John Muir Way, Flodden, Celtic F.C, Scotland National Team, and more. All tartans are exclusively designed, registered and woven by Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers, offering a great deal of personalisation.

Other than regular and clan tartan kilts, their shop in The Royal Mile retails a variety of Scottish Highlandwear accessories such as made-to-measure prince charlie jackets, argyll jackets, tweed jackets and waistcoats (available in Green Tweed, Blue Tweed and Brown Tweed), ghillie brogues, kilt hose, kilt pins, trews and, of course, sporrans.

This traditional item of the Scottish Highland dress constitutes a great gift for family and friends back home. It often takes the place of pockets on the pocketless Scottish kilt and serves as a convenient place to store keys, money and other personal items.

The pouch is usually made of leather or fur and comes in a wide array of designs. The ornamentation of the sporran is induced by the formality of dress worn with it. There are several types of sporrans, such as dress sporrans, day sporrans, animal mask sporrans and horsehair sporrans. The prices vary from $15 up to $650, or more.
People's Story Museum

13) People's Story Museum

Learning about Scotland’s royalty and nobility is all very interesting, but sometimes you may wonder – what about the commoners, how did they live? The answer can be found at the People’s Story Museum.

Housed in Canongate Tolbooth, built in 1591 and once a customs house and jail, this museum tells the history of Edinburgh, as seen through the eyes of those who lived and worked here, from the 18th century to the present.

A written and oral presentation, backed up with photographs, drawings and artefacts, will take you through the day-to-day lives of regular folk, both at work and at home. You will visit beautifully recreated replicas of a bookbinder’s shop, a pub, a prison cell, a tea-room and a war-time kitchen, all filled with copies of the original objects once used by ordinary people.

In the Edinburgh Life section you will see how communities helped each other; how they protested against injustice and the meetings and rallies they held. Working in Edinburgh showcases how books, beer and cakes were made in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Leith Collection focuses on work in the shipyards, how ships were built, repaired and unloaded in the docks. The Newhaven Collection covers working and day-to-day life in a small fishing community, while At Home in Edinburgh displays household items, such as furniture, crockery, cutlery, domestic appliances, record players and toys.

This fascinating museum is very much kids-friendly too, as it offers a glimpse into life without mobile phones or MP4 players! The museum shop sells books and gift items related to the objects on display.
Museum of Edinburgh

14) Museum of Edinburgh

A visit to the Museum of Edinburgh, set in the 16th century Huntley House on The Royal Mile, is the one not to be missed, for sure. Housed in the former Guild of Hammermen building, this wonderful museum is all about the origins, history and legends of the city.

In addition to the many fine silverware objects displayed here, there is also a collection of beautiful glassware engraved in nearby Canongate, fine Scottish pottery, magnificent grandfather clocks and a Sedan chair. The interactive area, apart from hosting workshops and quizzes, allows visitors to dress up in period costumes representing fashion of different epochs. Each item within the museum is clearly labeled with a short description about its history and origins.

Among these, you can see relics from a 1st century Roman settlement unearthed during excavations in Cramond, a small village to the north-west of Edinburgh, where the River Almond empties into the Firth of Forth.

You will also find the original copy of the National Covenant, James Craig’s designs for the New Town and Greyfriars Bobby’s dog dish and collar. There is a “rogues’ gallery” of sorts, where you will meet Deacon Brodie, who was a cabinet maker by day and a house-breaker by night, or Burke and Hare, the infamous body-snatchers who sold their gruesome merchandise to Dr Robert Knox of the University of Medicine.
Kirk of the Canongate Chapel

15) Kirk of the Canongate Chapel

The Kirk of the Canongate Chapel is the church attended by monarchs whenever they are in residence at Holyrood Palace. Visitors are always surprised by the contrast of the chapel’s plain exterior and its beautiful interior.

The chapel was built in the late 17th century by James Smith, a master mason, and is a rectangular building with a Dutch-style end gable and a Doric columned portico. Outside the gate you will see a bronze statue of Robert Fergusson, the 18th century poet.

The chapel is the official church of the Order of the Thistle; although the chapel dedicated to the actual Order is found within Saint Giles Cathedral, investitures and ceremonies have been held at the Kirk of Canongate on even years since the reign of King James II of Scotland.

The church was remodelled in 1882, when a central pulpit and galleries were added, but these were removed and the apse re-opened during restoration work between 1946 and 1954. A new pipe organ was installed in 1988.

The interior of the chapel has a cruciform layout and is light and airy, with white walls and sky-blue pews, woodwork and fittings. The cushions on the seats in the apse are rainbow-coloured. The carpet is red and brightly coloured banners hang from the ceiling.
Dunbar's Close Garden

16) Dunbar's Close Garden

Shopping and sightseeing in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile can be tiring, so if you don’t feel like having lunch in a crowded pub or restaurant, take a pack lunch or pick up a sandwich and take it to Dunbar’s Close Garden near the Canongate Kirkyard.

Dunbar’s Close is one of the 80 narrow lanes left over from medieval times, and the garden there is like stepping back in time. Truly a secret garden, even a lot of locals don’t know it exists, so you will be able to enjoy your lunch in peace.

The garden is surrounded by high ancient brick walls; it is long and rather narrow, with three quarters of an acre laid out in a 17th century design and gravel paths and flowers beds neatly bordered by ting hedges. The beds are filled with herbs, flowers, shrubs and conical-shaped bushes. Mature trees, including fig and sycamore, give a welcome shade over the stone benches.

The garden was created by Sir Patrick Geddes, a biologist, who wanted to make many other gardens like it, but sadly died shortly after Dunbar’s Close Garden was completed. At the beginning of the 1970s the garden was neglected and overgrown, but luckily was then taken over by the Mushroom Trust, a charity that promotes the creation of urban gardens. They commissioned the landscape architect, Seamus Filor, to clean the garden up, and then, in 1977, the Trust gave it to the City of Edinburgh Council, who opened it to the public in 1978.
Queen's Gallery

17) Queen's Gallery

Founded in 2002 to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, The Queen's Gallery is an art gallery located next to the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Park. It forms part of the Palace of Holyroodhouse complex, set within the Palace Mews, and was constructed in the shell of the former Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon’s School, which stood at the entrance of the Palace.

Previously, this Victorian building also housed Holyrood Free Church (a congregation of the Free Church of Scotland, then from 1900 United Free Church of Scotland), but was last used for worship in 1915. Prior to its conversion to the Queen's Gallery the building was used as a storeroom.

The gallery was opened by Queen Elizabeth II herself, and today exhibits works from the Royal Collection, with a rolling programme of events and exhibitions featuring works of art, jewelery, furniture, and more.

The intimate space provides a friendly and relaxed setting for visitors of all ages, including pupils. From portraiture sessions to landscape drawing in the Palace gardens, creative writing to model making, its learning programmes are designed to bring the exhibitions alive for school groups.

For visitors' convenience, there is a café bar next to the gallery where they can rest.

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

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New Town Walking Tour

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Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
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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

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Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles

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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...
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...