Edinburgh New Town

Fine architecture and shops for tourists

Edinburgh's New Town is a collection of some of the finest architectural works in the world. Unfortunately, it is often neglected by tourists in favour of the Old Town of Edinburgh. Most visitors don't know that north of Princes Street there is another, just as interesting part of Edinburgh, waiting to be discovered.

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History of Edinburgh's New Town

The New Town was built in the 18th century so it's hardly new by today's standards. By that time, the Old Town was getting far too crowded, dirty and noisy. Edinburgh could no longer cope.

The Old Town was so overcrowded that the rich had no choice but to live in the same buildings as the poorest people in Edinburgh. They would take the basement, bottom and very top floors while the lawyers, doctors and the rest of the middle class would live on the floors in between, away from the squalor of the streets.

Plans were launched to build a New Edinburgh, a huge extension to the north of the City. James Craig is the young architect who won the competition for the New Town design and his original blueprints for the New Town are on display in the Huntly Museum on the Royal Mile.

The wealthy soon began to move out and into the New Town and this resulted in the Old Town falling into decay and misery.

Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens now divide the two parts of Edinburgh -- the New Town and the Old Town, while North Bridge is the original link between the two parts of the city.

In those times, wealthy families would own entire buildings in the New Town. These days, however, each building is divided into separate flats and sold or rented out separately. Edinburgh has become an expensive place to live in.

Shops and accommodation in the Edinburgh New Town

The New Town is very close to Edinburgh's City Centre. It's quiet, peaceful and has select shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. While the New Town is still a residential area, many Edinburgh businesses now have their offices here. It's also home of some of Edinburgh's luxurious accommodation such as hotels, self-catering apartments and other type of rooms. Hotel prices are at their highest during the summer months and during the winter holidays.

More Edinburgh New Town information:

» Back to Princes Street guide index

All Princes Street articles:

  • Edinburgh New Town introduction Overview of the New Town including best places to visit plus tips and advice.
  • Princes Street highlights Visitor information about the shops and attractions on Princes Street.
  • Princes Street Gardens Overview of the most popular green space in Edinburgh.
  • Scott Monument Information about the unmistakable neogothic monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott.
  • National Gallery of Scotland Information about the top free attraction in Edinburgh and one of the finest art galleries in Britain.
  • Calton Hill While not at the end of Princes Street itself, Calton Hill plays a very big part in the distinctive Edinburgh panorama but also as an excellent viewpoint.
  • Ramsay Gardens Although at the top of the Royal Mile, Ramsay Garden is a distinctive part of Edinburgh's skyline that can be seen from Princes Street.
  • Photos of Edinburgh City Centre Picture gallery of Princes Street, the gardens, Scott Monument, the Balmoral Hotel, Calton Hill and the New Town.
  • Attraction Details - Princes Street Princes Street tourist information including opening times and contact details of the Tourist Centre and attractions on Princes Street and Edinburgh City Centre.
  • Princes Street on the web Links to other web pages related to Princes Street, the Gardens and the heart of Edinburgh.

Also see:

Accommodation near City Centre in Edinburgh

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