Grassmarket & Victoria Street

Historic Cowgate and Candlemaker Row

The streets in this part of the Old Town are intricate and lack the symmetry of the New Town. You can almost picture the hustle and bustle of the local market and fair. Other streets spanning out from the Grassmarket are:

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Cowgate

This street, as the name suggests, is the route where cattle were brought from their grazing into Edinburgh and the Grassmarket. It was originally a fashionable area but probably due to its location, low beneath George IV and South Bridge, it did not benefit from the original restoration programs that breathed life into the Old Town in the 19th century.

One of the most notable buildings on the Cowgate is Magdalen Chapel, the only church to have a stained glass window that survived the Reformation that swept through Scotland in the 16th century.

At the moment, several hotels, pubs and hostels can be found on the Cowgate. The most recent incident to have occurred on the Cowgate is the 2002 fire where many old buildings were badly damaged, including the Gilded Balloon.

Candlemaker Row

This street is best known for Greyfriars bar and Kirk. It's short but quite steep to climb. One of the best views in the Old Town is from the traffic island in the middle of Candlemaker Row: Grassmarket buildings with Edinburgh Castle rising proudly from behind.

Candlemaker Row can also be used as access point to two of the best museums in Edinburgh. The Royal Museum and the Museum of Scotland are both located on Chambers Street and the rooftop cafe of the latter gives great views towards the Old Town of Edinburgh.

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