There are numerous small streets that lead away (north and south) from the Royal Mile. Antique maps of the Old Town actually show the city resembling the skeleton of a fish with the castle as the head and the narrow streets on either side as the ribs. These are called "closes" and "wynds" (rhymes with kind). But what's the difference, I hear you say?
> CLOSE: An entrance to a tenement (collection of residences), also sometimes providing access to the rear of the building. There was often a gate at the front which was closed at night.
> WYND: A thoroughfare, open from end to end, allowing residence to use them as a "short cut" through the city. These are narrow passages, often going up or down hill between high buildings, and linking streets at different levels.
Fondest memory: These dark and narrow streets echoed to shouts of "Gardy Loo!", from the French "Gardez l'eau" meaning "watch out for the water!" Each night, Edinburgh townsfolk would empty their chamber pots out of the window into the street below. Somehow, that does take-away from the romantic ideas we have about the old part of the city... haha!
These small, cramped and dark streets were also often witness to dodgy dealings, rapid spread of disease, prostitution and even murder. Most of Edinburgh's ghost tours will take you for walks down some of the most "notorious" closes and wynds... Prepare to have the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!
--> Useful website: www.edinburgh-royalmile.com/closes/royalmile-closes.html
"Beautiful city of Edinburgh! the truth to express,
Your beauties are matchless I must confess,
And which no one dare gainsay,
But that you are the grandest city in Scotland at the present day!"
Favorite thing: If you plan on walking along the Royal mile my advice is to get a bus up the hill and then walk from the castle end down. This is much easier than walking the other way from Holyroodhouse up to the castle as the hill is steeper than it looks.
This is a typical view of the Royal Mile, the street that runs between the Castle and the royal palace of Holyrood.
It is a gently decending cobbled street, one mile long, and bussling with tours, shops and more things to grab your money for "all things Scottish".
Tip: Best appreciated AFTER you have seen the real Scotland. You really need to have seen something of Scotland to be able to filter out the rubbish and see the beauty. Destinguish history from fiction and truth from lie.
Hold on to you wallet! This is not a place to impulse buy, certainly not if you are new in town.
Fondest memory: During the Festival (ie August) and much of the summer afternoons it is crowded, but early in the day (ie before midday!) you can linger and appreciate the architecture. Why are tourists so slow to rise? Are they suffering? Remember .... "The early bird catches the worm". Enjoy :-)
Most of the following pictures are of statues and monuments that can found in the main town area, to the left of the Royal Mile as you walk down it.
Fondest memory: This statue was raised in memory of the Black Watch soldiers that fell in battle during the South African (Boers) war of 1899-1902.
Favorite thing: The Royal Mile leads down a sloping road all the way from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. There are many interesting shops, monuments and views to be seen as you walk down the road. The following photos represent just a few of the sights to be seen.
The Royal Mile is like a city in the city. The history of the town and of Scotland is right in front of you...
Fondest memory: Walking through the city center is a must-do. Some pubs, some restaurants,... it is all part of the game... Great time in Edinburgh !!
Walk up the Royal Mile on a summer evening, afterwards visit one of the many pubs at Grassmarket!
Fondest memory: The view from Ediburgh Castle, you see down Princes Garden, the sea in a distance, Arthur's Seat, Calton Hill etc... It's just fantastic!
The Royal Mile runs downhill from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace and provides a focal point in the Old Town.
The colorful, noisy streets of the Royal Mile are the tourist hub of Edinburgh. Thronged with people, lined with medieval tenements, enticing closes, wynds lead off between the buildings; discovering these is an essential part of exploring the Mile.
The Royal Mile, its various sections known by different names, is the oldest part of Edinburgh. It is described by Daniel Defoe as 'the largest, longest and finest street... in the world.'
With the 72.8M tallest spire on one of Edinburgh's highest points, the Highland Tolbooth Kirk is an important feature of the skyline.
Now, it's being the home of the Edinburgh Festival Office.
Walk along the Royal Mile ...even though it's touristy it's a lovely steep street from Holyrood Palace up to the castle.
Fondest memory: That I bought my first tartan blue and green Doc Marten's there. I still got them because I loved them soooo much!!! Maybe I should've warned ya that I am a shoe addict ;-) My friends call me Imelda...
The touristy thing to do is to go to Edinburgh castle but I enjoyed Hollyrood Palace the most because of the story that they weave for you as you walk through.
Fondest memory: My memory is of my mom and I trying and I mean trying to walk The Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to Hollyrood Palace. It had been a little damp (surprise) but was dry at the moment and my mom and I were giggling like we hadn't for a very long time (we were in Scotland after my dad died and she wanted to show me everything)
We were giggling because we were slipping on the hilly cobblestone.
Visit the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. The whole street is full of history and is continually adding to the history of Scotland. At the moment the new Scottish Parliment is being built in the Royal Mile. There are many closes to explore also, including the close that was closed to the world during the time of the plague. The people of this close were left to die. It is situated under the city chambers and it is possible to visit this close today.
Fondest memory: Edinburgh is at its best during the time of the festival and the festival fringe (August-September). The city comes alive during this period. There is something for everyone during the festival, comedy, dance, theatre. My favourite is the book festival. It takes place in Charlotte Square and features many fantastic authors.
The Royal Mile is absolutely fabulous - especially if you arrive during the fringe festival.
Fondest memory: The Fringe Festival was great. The street performers were incredible - some of the most talented performances I have ever seen!
Favorite thing: This is one of the main tourist streets in town. I was on it often as most of the places i went were on the other side of it from where i was staying.
Favorite thing: The slope in this picture is deceptive. If you walk up from Holyrood Palace, the walk can be quite exhausting.