Edinburgh in Winter – 12 Photo Highlights

1) Scott Monument/Edinburgh Star Flyer
Glowing in the winter sunshine, the Scott Monument on Princes Street stands at 200 feet tall, and is dedicated to the Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott. The monument contains a number of viewing platforms with the highest one being reached after climbing 287 steps. Those venturing to the top of the stairs are rewarded with spectacular views of the Edinburgh skyline, and surrounding countryside. The tower to the right is a newer and temporary addition to the Edinburgh skyline, known as the ‘Edinburgh Star Flyer.’  This thrilling carnival ride makes an appearance every Christmas, and stands at almost 180 foot tall.

Scott Monument Edinburgh

Scott Monument & Edinburgh Star Flyer.

2) National Gallery of Scotland
A side view of the National Gallery of Scotland located on the Mound, just off Princes Street. Like many other Edinburgh landmarks such as the Dugald Stewart monument on Calton Hill, this imposing building was designed by William Henry Playfair. In modern times the building still functions as a free entry art gallery, crammed with works of art from the likes of Rembrandt, Monet, and Van Gogh.

National Gallery of Scotland

National Gallery of Scotland , Edinburgh.

3) The West Bow
Edinburgh’s West Bow, located in the heart of the Old Town just off the Grassmarket. This street’s name is derived from an ancient archway that once stood in the Grassmarket as an entrance to the West Port. In times gone by archways were commonly referred to as ‘bows.’

West Bow Edinburgh

The West Bow, Edinburgh.

4) The Grassmarket/Edinburgh Castle
Whilst the most famous view of Edinburgh Castle is from Princes Street, the building can be seen from many angles and viewpoints across the city due to being perched top of a clifftop. The above photograph was taken in the vicinity of the Grassmarket which lies to the south of the castle.

Edinburgh Castle Grassmarket

Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket.

5) The Old Town
A scene from the city’s Old Town which has probably changed very little over the centuries. While many UK cities have succumbed to significant demolition over the years, Edinburgh appears to have got off lightly, with many ancient buildings and street scenes rightfully preserved. The spire seen on the right, belongs to a church building once know as the Highland Tolbooth, which is located at the top of the Royal Mile. The building no longer serves as a church, but now acts as home to the Edinburgh International Festival and is know as ‘the Hub.’

Old Town Edinburgh

The Old Town, Edinburgh.

6) White Horse Close
White Horse Close, Edinburgh. This medieval looking close is hidden behind the Canongate, not far from the modern Scottish Parliament building. Entering the close is like ‘stepping back in time.’ However, all is not as it seems. While the buildings probably originate from the 1600’s, they were heavily restored in the 1960’s. So much so, that some suggest the scene you see here, is a ‘bit fake.’

White Horse Close Edinburgh

White Horse Close, Edinburgh.

7) The Governor’s House, Calton Hill
The building in the centre of this photo is often mistaken for a ‘mini castle’ by many tourists. This building however was actually once the Governor’s House for the Calton jail which stood below, and was demolished in the 1930’s. The jail was once the largest in Scotland, and was used for public executions which took place on its roof while crowds excitedly watched from below. The obelisk to the left known as the Martyr’s Monument was erected in 1844 to commemorate political radicals of that era.

Governor's House Calton Hill Edinburgh

The Governor’s House on Calton Hill.

8) Dugald Stewart Monument, Calton Hill
Perched on the side of Calton Hill, the iconic Dugald Stewart Monument was completed in 1831, and is built in an Ancient Greek style often seen in classic Scottish buildings. Stewart was a well respected Professor at Edinburgh University in the early 1800’s, where he lectured on Moral Philosophy. This well respected professor’s influence was felt worldwide, with his lectures attracting students from as far afield as Europe, and North America. The monument was designed by one of the greatest Scottish architects of the 19th Century, William Henry Playfair, who is responsible for many of Edinburgh’s landmarks including the nearby National Monument of Scotland.

Dugald Stewart Monument Edinburgh

Dugald Stewart Monument on Calton Hill.

9) A View from Calton Hill
A view from Calton Hill on a winter’s day, looking down towards Princes Street, the main Edinburgh thoroughfare. The most prominent building to the left of the photo is the 5 star Balmoral Hotel located at the beginning of Princes Street. To the right is the iconic Dugald Stewart Monument erected in 1831.

Calton Hill Edinburgh

A View from Calton Hill, Edinburgh.

10) The National Monument of Scotland
Dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives in the Napoleonic Wars, the National Monument of Scotland standing on Calton Hill was built in 1829. Like many other Edinburgh landmarks the monument was partly designed by renowned 1800’s architect, William Henry Playfair. What many people won’t realise is that the monument was left unfinished due to a lack of funds, with many referring to it at the time as ‘Scotland’s Disgrace.’

National Monument of Scotland

The National Monument of Scotland, Edinburgh.

11) Abraham Lincoln Memorial, Old Calton Cemetry
It’s not often that you see a statue dedicated to an American president in Scotland, so this one comes as a bit of a surprise – a memorial dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, and the Scottish American soldiers who supported him. The monument was erected at American expense, and underneath it lies William Duff, a Scot who was a Lieutenant Colonel fighting on the side of the Union Army. The memorial cost $6300 to erect in 1893, and most of the money was raised by the tycoons Andrew Carnegie, and John D Rockefeller.

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Edinburgh

Abraham Lincoln Memorial, Old Calton Cemetry.

12) Princes Street on a Winter’s Afternoon
Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare, Princes Street on a Winter’s afternoon. As it begins to get dark (around 4 pm in mid winter) the brightly coloured lights of the Christmas attractions help bring a bit extra life to the street in the middle of the gloomy winter.

Princes Street Edinburgh

Princes Street, Edinburgh on a Winter’s Day.

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