No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a stroll along the Royal Mile. This pinnacle part of the city is home to some of the cities most historical sites and monuments – as well as some of the nicest bars and cafes too. They say in life that the best things are free – and luckily for us, a stroll down the royal mile won’t cost you a penny.
What is the Royal Mile?
The royal mile is actually the main thoroughfare that connects the old town of the city to the castle at the top of the hill. Whilst the main street hold many stories and fascinations of it’s own – there are many alleyways and streets leading to and from the royal mile too – all with interesting tales of their own too. It’s not difficult to find – simply walk towards the castle and you’ll stumble upon it sooner or later. As the mile is actually quite steep (our hills are famous here in Scotland!) you may want to walk from the Castle (as your starting point) down hill towards Holyrood House. That way you can enjoy a leisurely downhill stroll – rather than an up-hill climb!
How long should I plan to see the royal mile?
It’s really up to you and how long you plan on browsing the shop along the way! If you were to walk without stopping anywhere it would likely take you about 20 minutes – but where is the fun in that!?
Dedicate an entire afternoon to this beautiful area of the city and don’t rush yourself. You could stop for lunch halfway, in a cute coffee shop – and you could stock up on souvenirs in the various shops you’ll pass. The important thing is to enjoy the things on offer!
What are the points of interest along the way?
The first point of interest is most notably the castle of course! You’ll start you’re walk through the royal mile here, so enjoy the views of the city from up this high point. The castle is a spectacular attraction in itself – so set aside another afternoon to look around it.
Whilst walking down the mile there are lots of interesting things to see and do. During the fringe festival you’ll find actors and performers working on the mile, or practicing. During the summer you may get street performers here too. Feel free to watch them – and maybe donate a little to their hat after they’ve finished!
After that, it’s really up to you what to see and do – if you love shops spend the afternoon looking through the array of shops here (there are so many to choose from after all). There are some lovely independent shops here too – where you can purchase original items and unique pieces, found only in Scotland.
There are even tours that run up and down the royal mile – some are even free and are run by local history students. With tours like this, it is customary to leave tip at the end though! As a thank you.
Other tours include spooky ghost tours, historical tours, comedy tours and even witchery tours. You’ll be spoilt for choice, trust us!