Calton Hill, Edinburgh

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  • xoxoxenophile's Profile Photo

    Take a nice hike up Edinburgh's hill of monuments!

    by xoxoxenophile Written Feb 20, 2014

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    Dugald Stewart Monument & view of Edinburgh
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    This isn't exactly a hike, but it is a very nice walk up the hill and there are plenty of monuments to see, as well as great views of Edinburgh on one side, the Firth of Forth on another, and the countryside (near King Arthur's seat, I believe) on the last side. When we went in May there were also some really pretty yellow flowers blooming. One of my favorite parts was seeing Scotland's National Monument, which was never completed due to the cost of the materials. Because of this, it is sometimes known as "Scotland's Shame" or "Edinburgh's Disgrace". However, I thought it was a lot of fun to go see it, and, even better, get to climb up the steps and walk around on it. I definitely recommend doing this while you're in Edinburgh. It's very easy to find, as you can see it from many places in the city, including Edinburgh Castle, it's a free, interesting, outdoor attraction, and the walk is not strenuous but very pleasant. I imagine it might be even more magnificent at sunrise or sunset.

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Calton Hill

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Feb 13, 2014

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    View from Calton Hill
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    Calton Hill is a famous hill dominating over Edinburgh. The hill also includes several monuments and buildings: the National Monument, the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument, the old Royal High School, the Robert Burns Monument, the Political Martyrs' Monument and the City Observatory.

    You can watch my 2 min 48sec Video Edinburgh Calton Hill out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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    National Monument of Scotland

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Feb 13, 2014

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    National Monument of Scotland
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    The National Monument of Scotland on Calton Hill is Scotland's national memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars.

    You can watch my 4 min 31 sec Video Edinburgh Around Calton Hill by bus out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Nelson Monument

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Feb 13, 2014

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    Nelson Monument
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    The Nelson Monument is a commemorative tower in honor of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson and his victory in the Battle of Trafalgar over French and Spanish fleets in 1805.

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  • kehale's Profile Photo

    Good for a Stroll

    by kehale Written Jan 26, 2014

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    We made our way to Calton Hill right after our delicious lunch at Pep & Fodder. It's nice that it was close (just up the street), and a good way to walk off our lunch!! It was right around this time that the clouds started to clear up so we were able to get some nice views of the city from here. We considering climbing the stairs up of Nelson Monument but decided against it for a number of reasons. We had a short amount of time in the city so we did want to keep moving. We also wanted to conserve our energy for our hike up Arthur's Seat, and we knew we would get excellent views from there. Arthur's Seat is also free to climb, unlike the Monument Steps! However, if you are looking for some more views we'd recommend going up the Monument. I can imagine it must be pretty great up there and the price is not expensive!

    Definitely a lot to see at the top of the hill and a nice quiet place to walk around and explore!

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  • elpariente's Profile Photo

    At Sunset - A la puesta del sol

    by elpariente Updated Nov 11, 2013

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    In Edinburgh there are two hills you have to climb or at least one of them , to see the great views of the city, its surroundings, the river Forth estuary and the sea. The sunsets are spectacular, if the wether is good do not miss it
    We went up to Calton Hill, which is the easiest andwe left Arthur's Seat for a better chance
    Normally one looks more to the city and surrounding areas, but the hill has curious and interesting buildings such as Nelson Tower, the Observatory, Athenian temple, the National Monument, the Old Calton Cemetery ...
    En Edimburgo hay dos colinas que hay que subir o la menos una, para ver las grandes vistas de la ciudad, sus alrededores, el estuario del rio Forth y el mar . Las puestas de sol son espectaculares , si hace buen tiempo no te la pierdas
    Nosotros subimos a Calton Hill , que es la más fácil y dejamos Arthur's Seat para una mejor ocasión
    Normalmente uno mira más a la ciudad y los alrededores , pero en la colina hay construcciones curiosas y muy interesantes como : la torre de Nelson, el observatorio , un templo Ateniense, el Monumento nacional, el cementerio del Viejo Calton ...

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  • Askla's Profile Photo

    The Old Observatory.

    by Askla Updated Dec 20, 2012

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    The City Observatory (about 75m westwards from the marker) was built in 1818. It is said that the design was based on the ancient Greek Temple of Winds in Athens.
    The original function of the observatory was to give the exact time to the ship navigators, but when steam locomotives became more and more common, the smoke from the Waverly Station had the astronomers to move to another observatory on Blackford Hill, later known as the New Observatory.

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  • mickeyboy07's Profile Photo

    Calton Hill

    by mickeyboy07 Written Dec 12, 2012

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    Dugald Stewart Monument
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    A Hill in Central Edinburgh just east of the New Town,and is included in the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site.Stunning views of the city are often used in paintings and photographs.
    The hill includes several iconic monuments such as:National Monument,Nelson Monument,Dugald Stewart Monument and Robert Burns Monument as well as the Old Royal High School and The City Observatory.The walk up to the hill begins to get very steep the closer you approach but its worth the hike,its free entry to the grounds and pretty much every part of Edinburgh can be seen from up here,great for taking pictures.Several festivals take place here every year such as the Fire Festival and the Celtic May Day Festival.

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  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    Calton Hill

    by spidermiss Updated Jul 12, 2012
    Calton Hill, Ediburgh (Photo taken in June 2002)

    Carlton Hill goes back to the 15th Century when King James granted the land to Edinburgh by charter. Carlton Hill is part of the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes a number of iconic and historical buildings which link the the city's social history and its relationships with Europe at the time: National Monument, Parthenon (was partly constructed in memory to soldiers who fell during the Napoleonic wars in the early 19th Century), Nelson's Monument, Dugald Stewart Monument, the New Parliament House, Robert Burns Monument, Political Martyrs' Monument and the City's Observatory.

    There were plans for a Scottish Parliament to be situated on Carlton Hill but it's now near Holyrood House on The Royal Mile.

    I visited Carlton Hill during my many visits to Edinburgh. Last time I visited Carlton Hill was in June 2002.

    Please note the photo is scanned.

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  • JessH's Profile Photo

    The National Monument... "Edinburgh's Disgrace"

    by JessH Updated May 6, 2012

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    Infront of the National Monument, Edinburgh
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    When walking around Edinburgh and looking up towards Calton Hill, you may be a bit startled as to why a smaller version of the Greek Parthenon is standing in the Scottish capital.
    This is in fact an unfinished monument - it was meant to be a memorial to those who had died in the Napoleonic Wars and was intended, according to the inscription, to be "A Memorial of the Past and Incentive to the Future Heroism of the Men of Scotland".

    It was designed by an eminent expert on Grecian architecture, C.R. Cockrell, assisted by a young William Playfair who was to go on to complete even more successful works.

    The foundation stone, which weighs 6 tons, was laid on 27 August 1822, during the visit of George IV to Scotland.

    Originally planned as a church on a grand scale with catacombs beneath as a place of burial, the building had notable supporters including Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) and Thomas Bruce, Lord Elgin (1766-1841).
    But work came to an end in 1829 when the money which had been provided by public subscription ran out - due in part to the ambitious scale of the monument and the high cost of the quality materials. While it has been suggested that the architect had deliberately designed only the 12 columns, it was later to be described as "Scotland's shame" or "Edinburgh's Disgrace". Even so, the prominent Grecian columns of this and other buildings in Edinburgh has led to Edinburgh being described as the "Athens of the North".

    Some say that at one point Glasgow offered to lend funds to Edinburgh to complete the monument, but that the city was too proud to accept help.
    Is this true? Will it ever be finished? Is this unfinished state the way it may perhaps forever remain, intentionally? I guess we'll have to wait and find out...

    Can you spare some change to complete this? Anyone? A couple of pounds, perhaps? ;-)

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  • JessH's Profile Photo

    Dugald Stewart Monument; most photogenic of all...

    by JessH Updated Apr 11, 2012

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    Edinburgh postcard, with D. Stewart Monument
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    Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) was a philosopher, mathematician and a professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University.

    The Royal Society of Edinburgh commissioned the monument, it was designed by the architect William H. Playfair and can be found in pretty much the most prominent position on Calton Hill, close to the south-west corner of the Observatory. It was built in the year 1831.

    The style of this monument is called "choragic": a large, free-standing pedestal in Greek design. This is another of the "buildings" atop Calton Hill that gave Edinburgh the name "Athens of the North". The nearby Robert Burns Monument, designed by Thomas Hamilton around the same time, looks very similar - just a little shorter. The monument forms part of a collection of Greek revival architecture in the area, including the National Monument and the former Royal High School building.

    Chances are that you have seen this monument before, especially on post cards with an Edinburgh panorama view.

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  • JessH's Profile Photo

    Calton Hill - eccentric place with the great view

    by JessH Updated Apr 10, 2012

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    Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland
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    Calton Hill (NOT Carlton) is one of Edinburgh's main hills, set right in the city centre. Rising to 108m (355 feet) to the east end of Princes Street, Calton Hill is not the highest of the city's hills, yet this is the place to enjoy views over literally everthing: to Leith, the Firth of Forth and the Kingdom Fife to the north, Edinburgh Castle right in front, and Holyrood Park, Arthur's Seat and the Crags to the south. The name Calton possibly stems from the Gaelic either "choille-dun" (forested hill) or "cauldh -dun" (black hill). Given the hills black basalt structure the latter is probably the right origin.

    --> If you don't feel like conquering Arthur's Seat for a good photo opportunity, then Calton Hill is your next best option.
    It is unmistakable with its rather eccentric collection of buildings and monuments: an Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline, and even an obelisk.

    You'll find the following buildings and monuments up here:
    > The Nelson Monument (1816), built in the shape of a telescope
    > the unfinished National Monument (1822), modelled on the Parthenon (also known as Edinburgh's disgrace)
    > the City Observatory, with the Observatory House (1776), the Old Observatory (1818)
    and the City Dome (1895)
    > Monument to philosopher Dugald Stewart (1753-1828)
    > Monument to Robert Burns, Scotland's favourite son & national bard (1759-1796)
    > Monument to mathematician John Playfair (1748-1819).
    > Calton Hill Graveyard/Old Burial Ground, first built in 1718 as a place to bury tradesmen and merchants.

    (I have written separate tips on some of these)

    Many residents and visitors like to come up to the top of Calton Hill to get a breath of fresh air, get away from the crowds who squeeze themselves along Princes Street and the Royal Mile, and naturally to enjoy the fabulous views.

    Calton Hill is easily accessed. It only takes about 5-10min to walk to the top from a staircase at Regent Road on the southern side, or the Royal Terrace on the northern side. There is even a road which you can drive up with a car park at the end.
    We really enjoyed walking all around the hill (there's a path) and having a look at the historic buildings and quirky structures... and you're never short of residents or tourists who are willing to take a picture of you :-) or will ask you to do the same.

    In August, Calton Hill is a hub for Edinburgh Festival shows, and of course it's one of the best front-row seats in the whole city to enjoy the fireworks displays from the castle during the grand finale of the Edinburgh Festival and also for Hogmonay (New Year's).
    On the last day of April, Calton Hill is the scene of the Beltane Fire Festival.

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  • slothtraveller's Profile Photo

    For great views over the city and beyond

    by slothtraveller Updated Feb 21, 2012

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    On Calton Hill
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    This hill in Edinburgh city centre is a great vantage point to see Edinburgh's skyline. You can look down on Princes Street, across to Edinburgh Castle and over the Firth of Forth to Fife. You can also see the Royal residence of Holyrood in the shadow of Arthur's Seat and the Salisbury Crags.
    Once you have finished taking in the view, you can relax for a while on a bench or take a walk around the hilltop which is dotted with various memorials and follies including a memorial to Lord Nelson and a large Acropolis style building which can be seen from far and wide.
    Calton Hill can be reached by a signposted path from Regent Road. The steps aren't very steep and there is a handrail. I believe you can also drive up but I didn't see the road. We climbed the hill on a cold day and were a little out of breath on reaching the top, but on a warmer day I would imagine the walk would be more leisurely. I would recommend visiting Calton Hill early in your stay as it is a great place to get an understanding of Edinburgh's layout.

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    Some of the best views of Edinburgh

    by rexvaughan Written Jan 3, 2011

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    Great view of the castle
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    Calton Hill is just north of Holyrood Castle and requires only a short walk up the hill to see the Athenian acropolis, Nelson’s Monument and the city observatory. The acropolis was started as a memorial to those who died in the Napoleonic wars but was never finished (funds ran out). It has become a local landmark which is unmistakable from below. Nearby is Nelson’s Monument is shaped like a telescope and has a time ball mechanism which dropped daily to allow the ships in the harbor to set their chronometers. It is linked to the one o’clock cannon at Edinburgh Castle. It is a pretty easy climb up to the top for great views of Edinburgh, Prince’s Street, the castle, Holyrood and Arthur’s Seat.
    Nelson’s Monument is open Monday-Saturday with hours varying with the season. Admission is 3£.

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  • Durfun's Profile Photo

    The National Monument

    by Durfun Updated Jun 28, 2010

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    See Nelson's column??

    Designed to be a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, to commemorate those who died in the Napoleonic Wars.

    It was to be funded by local merchants, but money ran out & only a fragment was ever actually built!!

    The small standing portion is now referred to as "Edinburgh's Disgrace".

    But, it is still gorgeous, and imposing !! A lovely, if incomplete (disgrace??)

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