The Royal Mile

Interesting narrow alleyways off the Royal Mile

Closes and wynds are narrow lanes running out south and north off the Royal Mile. This is why, when looking at a map, the Royal Mile resembles a fish bone. Each close has a name, usually associated with the owner of tenements on that close. Some interesting closes on the Royal Mile are:

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  • Mary King's Close - The popular and allegedly haunted Royal Mile street underneath the City Chambers.
  • Brodie's Close - Named after the father of Deacon Brodie, a respected citizen by day and burglar by night who was eventually hanged at the Tolbooth. Deacon Brodie was also the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. You can't miss it for the obvious statue of Deacon Brodie.
  • Advocate's Close - One of the most interesting closes on the Royal Mile thanks to the view it has over to the Scott Monument and some of Edinburgh's central buildings. It's particularly popular with tourists in the summer and you often have to queue to take a picture looking through it!
  • Anchor Close - Narrow and long close leading into Cockburn Street
  • Fleshmarket Close - A two-part close connecting the Royal Mile with Market Street, famous for its connection to Deacon Brodie.
  • Dunbar Close - The most secluded garden in Edinburgh Old Town. It's easy to overlook but it's particularly interesting due to the garden it leads into. At the back of the garden there is an interesting modern artwork which is particularly relaxing.
  • Castle Wynd - A steep climb from the Grassmarket to the top of Castlehill and leading right to the Castle Esplanade. It crosses Johnston Terrace halfway up.
  • Semple's Close - A shop called 'The Wee Whisky Shop' can now be found here, previously the Castle Tea Room.
  • Jollie's Close - Although not open to the public it's worth a look through the bars as you go up towards Edinburgh Castle
  • Makar's Court and Lady Stair's Close - The slabs in this court bear quotes from famous Scottish writers
  • White Horse Close - Originally the site of the Palace stables, the close is now a most picturesque group of whitewash houses.

Other streets of interest off the Royal Mile are Niddry Street, South Bridge with its underground vaults, Jeffrey Street, George IV Bridge leading to Greyfriars Kirkyard, Cockburn Street and Hunter Square.

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