The Royal Mile is an intersection of four streets starting with Castlehill to the west of the Edinburgh Castle.
Castlehill drops us into the center of the tourist zone and includes the Tartan Weaving Mill and Exhibition which occupies the Old Town Reservoir. Other sights include the Camera Obscura with images fashioned through mirrors and lenses. Across the street is the Scotch Whiskey Experience.
Castlehill gives way to Lawnmarket Street. Lawn refers to a fabric similar to linen. During the 1600s this was a center for commerce and was one of the busiest places in the country. In the center of the roundabout rests the remains of the scales where goods were sold and taxes assigned. Lawnmarket Street is also the sight of Gladstone’s Land one of the surviving tenements; the Writer’s Museum dedicated to to three of Scotland’s greatest literary figures Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott; and St. Giles Cathedral, the home of John Knox and the Presbyterian Polity we have in the United States.
Lawnmarket becomes High Street and the next few blocks hold Tron Church, Museum of Childhood, John Knox’s House and World’s End. Tron Kirk is a historic landmark in Edinburgh. It is a principle parish church dedicated in 1641 and closed in 1952 and noted for its gothic spire. The Museum of Childhood specializes in children’s amusements and houses a collection of toys gathered from across history and around the world. John Knox probably never lived in John Knox House but it is a look at the home life of the 1500s and gives us an understanding of the Reformer. World’s End dates to the 1600s when Edinburgh was a walled city separating the people of Edinburgh from the people “out there.” To the people of Edinburgh the city gates represented the end of the world as they knew it.
High Street leads into Canongate Street. Situated long Canongate you find Cadenhead’s Whiskey Shop, People’s Story Museum, Canongate Church, the Scottish Parliament, White Horse Close and the Queen’s Gallery before reaching Holyroodhouse. Cadenhead’s, established in 1842 is purveyor of fine whiskeys, rums, gin and cognac with a 5 star rating in Trip Advisor. The People’s Story Museum using oral and written sources looks at history through the eyes of the Edinburgh people from the 1700s to the present. Canongate Church, the Kirk of Canongate, is a member of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian Church) serving the parish of Canongate which includes Holyroodhouse, the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Castle. The White Horse Close is a 17th Century courtyard marking the place where the stagecoach left Edinburgh for London (it has been renovated so many time over the years it is said to be more heritage than history). Across from the White Horse sits the new Scotland Parliament House, where for the first time in 292 years (since the signing of the Treaty of Union between Scotland and England) the Scottish Parliament met in September 2004.
Canongate Street ends at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the residence of the royal family when they are in Edinburgh.
It has been an hour and a half walk through a 400 years of history and modern tourists traps. Special thanks to Rick Steves and his incredible guide book, Wikipedia and the review columns found on Trip Advisor. Leave a comment of drop me a note. Thank you for reading the blog.