Royal Mile


The Royal Mile is a series of streets in the center of Edinburgh, one of the main attractions of the city, Scotland.

The Royal Mile is a quarter in Edinburgh where, literally, there are attractions at every step. The history of the name of the Royal Mile dates back to David I, who granted local merchants the right to trade at the foot of the Castle Rock. The market was connected to the castle by High Street, which at that time was called Royal Street. Since - as it happened - the length of the street was exactly one Scottish mile (1.8 km), the people began to call the street the Royal Mile. Later, the toponym took root and took an official form for the name of the historical quarter.

The Royal Mile includes 4 streets alternating in succession with adjacent alleys and dead ends.

Start Miles accounts for the castle esplanade, now used as an area for parades. In the forefront of the houses closest to the castle is the Whiskey Heritage Center, which contains a grand collection of this drink from different regions of Scotland. Not far from it is the Camera Obscura - a museum of optical illusions, very popular in the last century.

Below begins Longmarket Street, the buildings on which fully correspond to its name: every centimeter of the area is occupied by shops, shops and offices, obsessively offering their goods to passers-by. It is worth noting that in this area one of the best kilts in Scotland is sold, which tourists often buy as a stylish and easily recognizable Scottish souvenir.

Even lower is the same High Street. Today, this place is the center of Edinburgh's public life, and public forums, concerts, festivals are regularly held there, and street musicians and dancers perform. Many tourists like to be photographed next to the Heart of Midlothian, which is laid out in stone pavers exactly at the place where the Tolbut prison used to be. Also on High Street is the Knox Museum, a Scottish religious reformer.

Miles Last Street Name - Canongate, which means “monastic street”, speaks for itself. On this street in the past were all the religious institutions of Edinburgh, which were inseparable from most social institutions. Therefore, in addition to the Kenongate Church, there are also universities, shelters, a history museum and the Scottish Parliament crowning the Royal Mile on this street.

About Mil among the inhabitants of Edinburgh go gloomy legends associated with the plague epidemic. In the Middle Ages, doctors believed that the "black death" is transmitted through direct contact with the patient, although, in fact, rat fleas were the carriers of the plague. So, at one time Milya was blocked, blocking all exits for a month, and all the inhabitants of the quarter died out - some from the plague, some from hunger, and who, exhausted, were finished off with a bayonet by the gendarmen-cleaners. They say that in some lanes since then they regularly see the ghost of a little crying girl who, huddled in a corner, calls for the help of every passerby. Although a similar situation may well turn out to be a banal rally on the part of local residents speculating in legend.

However, even without an excursion into history and urban legends, Edinburgh will appeal to lovers of bright and magnificent celebrations. It's hard to believe, seeing the old gloomy colonial buildings, but the Scottish capital is a world city of festivals. Their annual number in Edinburgh sometimes exceeds several hundred, and each has its own narrow concept.

The piper festival is striking in its scale: hundreds of people from all over Scotland fill the air with the sounds of this unusual instrument - so that even the castle walls vibrate.

Fans of theater art will love the Fringe Festival - the only such event in the world where classical theater is combined with surreal psychedelia.

The Royal Mile in itself means little, without the rest of Edinburgh it is nothing, but the city also cannot exist without the Mile. This place allows you to open new horizons in it and explore the unknown, and therefore it is impossible to get enough of Edinburgh, even visiting the Royal Mile often.

Photo and description

The Royal Mile is a few streets in the heart of Edinburgh. As the name suggests, these streets are approximately one Scottish mile in length (

1800 meters). The Royal Mile connects the two main historical sights of the ancient capital - Edinburgh Castle, located on Castle Hill and Holyrood Palace, the residence of the Scottish and then British monarchs.

The Royal Mile begins on the Esplanade Castle, set up in the 19th century for military parades near Edinburgh Castle. Now this is the venue for the annual Edinburgh Festival. The cannonball really got stuck in the wall of the House with the Cannonball - they say it was a random shot from a castle cannon.

From Castle Esplanade down Castellhill, a small street where the Obscura Chamber and the World of Illusions, the board of the Edinburgh Festival and the Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland are located. Next is the Lounge Market - a street where tourists will find many souvenir shops.

From the Lounge Market we find ourselves on High Street - the center of the Edinburgh Festival, during which the street is crowded with street performers, onlookers and tourists. On the left is the Supreme Court building, on the right is Parliament Square, where St. Giles Cathedral stands. Near the eastern entrance to the cathedral, on the paving stones, “Midlothian's Heart” is laid out with stone - an image marking the place where the city outpost used to be - the administrative, tax and judicial center of the city. When the building was demolished, the townspeople got into the habit of spitting at the place where it stood. The city authorities decided to lay out the image of the heart on this place - but this only led to the fact that now the townspeople are trying to spit exactly in the center. An ennobled legend is presented to tourists: they say they spit for good luck, but in essence this tradition personifies only disrespect for the authorities.

The middle of the Royal Mile is the intersection with bridges. The North Bridge leads to the left, into New Town, on Princes Street. To the right is the South Bridge, in which it is very difficult to see the bridge - it looks like an ordinary street with rows of shops on both sides. Edinburgh cellars are hidden under the bridge, where you can get with a guided tour.

Behind John Knox's house, the old borders of the city end. Once there stood the fortified city gate of Netherbow. Behind them began the possession of Holyrood Abbey, which is reflected in the name of the next part of the Royal Mile, Canongate Street ("canon" in English - church, canonical). Scottish kings often preferred to live in Holyrood Abbey, rather than in the gloomy Edinburgh Castle, and at the beginning of the 16th century, King James IV built a palace adjacent to the abbey. The palace is now the official residence of Elizabeth II in Scotland.


The story of the Royal Mile dates back to the first half of the 12th century, when the King of Scotland, David I, settled in a castle on Castle Rock, which he ordered to be rebuilt into Edinburgh Castle. The king granted the settlement at the foot of the castle the right to trade, and to Lawnmarket spread open market. Then David ordered the construction of High Street, which was then called Via Regis (literally “Royal Way”), from which the name “Royal Mile” was assumed.

Wooden buildings along the Royal Mile were usually named after the owners, and this tradition has been preserved in later buildings. Between the houses puffins and courtyards formed, in which livestock were also bred. In the middle of the XVI century, medieval buildings were burned by the British during the Anglo-Scottish conflict. The English king Henry VIII ordered the restoration of the house, because he wanted to get permission from the Scots to marry his son to Mary Stuart. The new buildings, built around 1591, were mostly made of stone, but they still had poor sanitary conditions, despite the fact that Kenongate settled in luxurious mansions with beautiful gardens.

In the middle of the XVII century, housing conditions became critical - the Old Town was crowded, about 70 thousand people lived on the Royal Mile. Some buildings reached 14 floors, up to 300 people could live in one block, sometimes dividing one room into 10s. With the expansion of Edinburgh and the construction of the New City in the 18th century, this problem was resolved. There have also been some transformations on the Royal Mile since 1865: Lord Provost William Chambers built new spacious houses on Blackfriars Street and St. Marys Street. The Old West Bow was torn down, and with the help of Cockburn Street, they cut through the entrance to Waverley Station. The work was continued in the 1880s by the urban planner and biologist Patrick Geddes, who rebuilt the Canongate area and the artificial Mound Hill. He designed courtyards and gardens according to plans reminiscent of the Royal Mile 500 years ago.


The Royal Mile itself consists of four successive streets (from west to east): Castlehill, Lonmarket, High Street and Canongate, and they gradually go down. Like a fish ridge, small streets and puffins that also belong to Mila diverge from these streets.