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The Royal Mile (Edinburgh)

The Royal Mile

Click here to download the map in PDF form.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is one of the most iconic streets in Scotland, with Edinburgh Castle at one end and Holyrood Palace at the other.

It was the heart of the Old Town and at one time, along with Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Cannongate and Abbey Strand,  housed 70,000 people.

It is thought it was called the Royal Mile from the time of King David I, who originally set out the High Street in the  1120s, often referred to as the Via Regis or Way of the King.

The buildings in the Royal Mile were originally constructed of timber, but were destroyed by the English in 1544 and replacement buildings built out of stone by the turn of that century.

But the more familiar lay-out and look of the Royal Mile and surrounding streets did not emerge until the mid-1800s, with the Cannongate particularly modelled on what it would have looked like 500 years previously.

Today the Royal Mile is probably the busiest tourist centre in Scotland, alongside its New Town equivalent, Prince’s Street.

It is the focus for many tourists visiting Scotland and for the annual Edinburgh Festival in the month of August.

Along the Royal Mile you can do everything from purchase a bag of Scottish fish and chips to a full kilt outfit, sample the water of life – whisky – from all parts of Scotland or eat in some of the most atmospheric venues in Edinburgh, seek out uniquely Scottish designer jewellery and clothes or join guided tours that take you beyond the tourist shops, sample museums of all kinds or just take in the atmosphere.

Of course one of the most modern buildings connected to the Royal Mile is the iconic Scottish Parliament, designed by the late Catalan architect Enric Miralles, who died before the building was completed.