A Trip through Edinburgh-Part 2

From Edin­burgh Cas­tle over the Roy­al Mile to the Canon­gate Tol­booth

Edinburgh Castle

Edin­burgh Cas­tle is a his­toric fortress which dom­i­nates the sky­line of the city of Edin­burgh, Scot­land, from its posi­tion on the Cas­tle Rock. The cas­tle, in the care of His­toric Scot­land, is Scotland’s most-vis­it­ed paid tourist attrac­tion, with over 1.4 mil­lion vis­i­tors in 2013As the back­drop to the Edin­burgh Mil­i­tary Tat­too dur­ing the annu­al Edin­burgh Inter­na­tion­al Fes­ti­val the cas­tle has become a recog­nis­able sym­bol of Edin­burgh and of Scot­land and indeed, it is Edinburgh’s most fre­quent­ly vis­it­ed vis­i­tor attraction—according to the Edin­burgh Vis­i­tor Sur­vey, more than 70% of leisure vis­i­tors to Edin­burgh vis­it­ed the cas­tle (Source Wikipedia). So there is no way to make Pho­tos inside the Cas­tle with­out 10000 Tourists in your Pho­tos. But its for sure a “must-vis­it”…

The View from Cas­tle Rock over Edin­burgh is just stun­ning

The Closes of the Royal Mile

The Old Town of Edin­burgh, Scot­land, con­sist­ed orig­i­nal­ly of the main street, now known as the Roy­al Mile, and the small alley­ways and court­yards that led off it to the north and south. These were usu­al­ly named after a mem­o­rable occu­pant of one of the apart­ments reached by the com­mon entrance, or a trade plied by one or more res­i­dents. Gener­i­cal­ly such an alley­way is termed a close /ˈkls/, a Scots term for alley­way, although it may be indi­vid­u­al­ly named close, entry, court, or wynd. A close is pri­vate prop­er­ty, hence gat­ed and closed to the pub­lic, where­as a wynd is an open thor­ough­fare, usu­al­ly wide enough for a horse and cart. Most slope steeply down from the Roy­al Mile cre­at­ing the impres­sion of a her­ring-bone pat­tern formed by the main street and side streets when viewed on a map. Many have steps and long flights of stairs.

Because of the need for secu­ri­ty with­in its town walls against Eng­lish attacks in past wars, Edin­burgh expe­ri­enced a pro­nounced den­si­ty in hous­ing. Clos­es tend to be nar­row with tall build­ings on both sides, giv­ing them a canyon-like appear­ance and atmos­phere.( Source Wikipedia).

I have used the won­der­ful site www.royal-mile.com to explore some of the nar­row­est, dark­est, his­tor­i­cal­ly most impor­tant and beau­ti­ful Clos­es. Here are just a few…

Fishers Close

Pre­vi­ous­ly known as Hamilton’s Close and Cant’s Land, this is named in hon­our of Thomas Fish­er, the first Cham­ber­lain of Edin­burgh, who built a ten­e­ment on this site at the end of the six­teenth cen­tu­ry.

Semples Close

The remains of a man­sion can be found here dat­ing 1638.

Warriston’s Close from Cockburn Street

Advocate‘s Close

It takes its name from Sir James Stew­art of Goodtrees, the last Advo­cate of Scot­land in office dur­ing the time of the Restora­tion, Rev­o­lu­tion and Union.

Advocates Close in Edinburgh

James Court

James Court has a spe­cial place in Edinburgh’s his­to­ry, as it is con­nect­ed to sev­er­al of the most impor­tant fig­ures in the city’s past.

James Court was built between 1723–7 by a devel­op­er called James Brown­hill. His plan was for a court­yard build­ing of exclu­sive apart­ment. Dur­ing Edinburgh’s 18th cen­tu­ry enlight­en­ment many impor­tant lit­er­ary fig­ures enjoyed liv­ing here.

Mylne’s Court

One of the first open squares in old Edin­burgh. Designed and Built by Robert Mylne in the late 17th Century.The Old build­ings which formed the West side of the court were demol­ished in 1883.The North and South blocks were restored and the east range rebuilt by The Uni­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh between 1966 and 1970. Robert Mylne (1633 – 10 Decem­ber 1710) was a Scot­tish stone­ma­son and archi­tect.

Lady Stairs Close in Edinburgh

Lady Stair‘s Close

Lady Stair’s House lies just off the Lawn­mar­ket, a loca­tion favoured by tourists as a pic­turesque piece of Old Edin­burgh. Per­haps its pop­u­lar­i­ty part­ly lies in fairy-tale look, described by one archi­tec­tur­al expert as “…pic­turesque Arts & Crafts con­fec­tion, with…vigorously unre­al stonework”. How­ev­er the build­ing does have almost 400 years of his­to­ry, and rep­re­sents a remark­able sur­vival from the past.

The house was built in 1622 by Sir William Gray of Pit­ten­drum, a very suc­cess­ful city mer­chant. At that time and it was com­mon for the wealthy to live tucked away down one of the hun­dreds of nar­row pas­sage­ways known as clos­es, away from the bus­tle and noise of the main street.

Today Lady Stair’s House is home to the Writ­ers’ Muse­um, with dis­plays cel­e­brat­ing authors such as Sir Wal­ter Scott, Robert Burns and Robert Louis Steven­son. It is open Mon­day – Sat­ur­day and admis­sion is free, allow­ing any­one to go and imag­ine them­selves as the proud own­ers and gaze at the fine views over Princes Street Gar­dens. (Source www.ewht.org.uk/visit).

The Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh

View over to Wardrop’s Court from Lady Stair‘s Close


Borthwick‘s Close

Most alleys are bare­ly more than two feet wide, as well as Borthwick‘s Close


Stevenlaw‘s Close

The name of this close is tak­en from Steven Law, a sup­port­er of Queen Mary dur­ing the Civ­il War of 1571. Prince Charles Edward Stew­art wor­shipped at the Roman Catholic Chapel here.

And last… Worlds End Close

So called because this lit­er­al­ly was the end of most people’s world. Sit­u­at­ed just inside the Nether­bow gate, poor­er res­i­dence who couldn’t afford the entrance fee back into the city stayed there whole lives with­in the con­fines of the City Walls.

Out­lander fans will fond­ly remem­ber the ancient pub named ” The Worlds End”  because it was the tav­ern that Jamie and Claire dashed out into the pour­ing rain to pick up the drunk­en Mr. Willough­by…


Famous Build­ings on our Way

John Knox House, pop­u­lar­ly known as “John Knox’s House”, is a his­toric house in Edin­burgh, Scot­land, reput­ed to have been owned and lived in by Protes­tant reformer John Knox dur­ing the 16th cen­tu­ry. Although his name became asso­ci­at­ed with the house, he appears to have lived in War­ris­ton Close where a plaque indi­cates the approx­i­mate site of his actu­al res­i­dence.


St Giles’ Cathe­dral is the his­toric City Church of Edin­burgh. With its famed crown spire it stands on the Roy­al Mile between Edin­burgh Cas­tle and the Palace of Holy­rood­house. Also known as the High Kirk of Edin­burgh, it is the Moth­er Church of Pres­by­te­ri­an­ism and con­tains the Chapel of the Order of the This­tle (Scotland’s chival­ric com­pa­ny of knights cho­sen by The Queen.)

The Canon­gate Tol­booth  is a high­ly dis­tinc­tive build­ing.. As well as being an inter­est­ing and impor­tant his­toric build­ing, the Tol­booth is a reminder that at one time the Canon­gate was sep­a­rate from Edinburgh.The Tol­booth was built in 1591 and would have formed the local hub for the Canon­gate burgh, along with the near­by Mer­cat Cross for mer­chants to meet and do busi­ness. The Tol­booth would have had many func­tions, serv­ing as cour­t­house, burgh jail and meet­ing place of the town council.Today the Tol­booth is open as a muse­um. (Sor­ce ETWH)

the Rest of our Way can be found in Part 1 ( Canongate Kirk til Calton Hill)

and here some mixed Pho­tos to show you some more of Edin­burgh then just famous Bulid­ings and Places::

About Heike Ballegeer

|Human|Woman|Mother|Wife|Friend| Pho­tog­ra­ph­er| Blog­ger| |TV-Junkie|Photoshop-Beginner|Art-Lover|Cologne-based|Outlander-addict |Sher­lock­ian |TWD-devot­ed
All my photos can be purchased as posters. Prizes, sizes and type of prints (for example, on canvas, behind acrylic glass) on request. Just write me a mail!
Heike Ballegeer Written by:

|Human|Woman|Mother|Wife|Friend| Photographer| Blogger| |TV-Junkie|Photoshop-Beginner|Art-Lover|Cologne-based|Outlander-addict |Sherlockian |TWD-devoted

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