Calton Hill was developed as an urban park where distinguished gentleman could walk with their ladies. The city’s elders wanted to create a cultural area and with its superb views over Edinburgh, Calton Hill was the perfect place. Today, there are fewer Victorian gentlemen, but it’s a great place to come for some time out from the busy Princes Street shopping area below. You won’t believe how good the panoramic views are until you make the effort to climb to the top.
The monuments here add to the experience and they’ve become a much loved part of the Edinburgh skyline. Most visible is the unfinished “National Monument”, based on the Parthenon in Athens. There’s also an observatory within its own walled area including Observatory House, the Nelson monument which you can climb to the top of and the circular Dugald Stewart Monument which perches on the edge of the hill.
The money to construct both Nelson’s monument and the National Monument ran out. The National Monument was never finished, but when the funds dried up for Nelson’s Monument in 1808, the structure was almost complete anyway. The tower is supposed to represent a telescope.
For the best views, take a seat on the bench by the Observatory House and get a terrific view of Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street Gardens. Then walk to the northern side and see the Firth of Forth and Ocean Terminal (where the Royal Yacht Britannia is moored) and there are benches on the southern side with a brilliant view of Holyrood House, Holyrood Abbey and the Scottish Parliament.
Location & Map
Address: Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, EH7 5AA
Access to Calton Hill is a short walk from the end of Princes Street where it becomes Waterloo Place and then Regent Road
More on Calton Hill in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour – Stops near Calton Hill
Edinburgh City Guide – From our sister site, Free-City-Guides.com
Edinburgh Murder Mystery Walking Tour – Gets great reviews
More Things To Do In Edinburgh
Hotels near Calton Hill – Great rates from Hotels.com
Calton Hill – Wikipedia
Edinburgh Guide Books – Amazon.co.uk