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World Heritage Trail (3rd Part)

Stop 9 – Opposite 40 Royal Terrace

Look west along this magnificent New Town terrace and marvel at its scale. Designed by the famous architect William Playfair in the 1820s, its frontage seeks to give 40 individual town houses the external appearance of a great classical palace. This was an approach pioneered by the great Robert Adam in Charlotte Square during the earlier stages of the New Town’s development.

Cross over and stroll up Carlton Terrace Lane. As you walk why not take time to explore the hidden gems of Carlton Terrace Mews and Royal Terrace Mews? These pretty but rarely visited lanes and courtyard comprise converted stables and workshops which now provide tranquil dwellings within a stone’s throw of the bustling city. At the top of the lane, turn right on to Regent Terrace and walk west towards the hotel.

Stop 10 – Regent Terrace

In this street Playfair designed a line of beautiful, well-proportioned terraced houses with continuous trellis balconies and Greek Doric porches.

As you walk along look out for:

  • Ornate ironwork including boot scrapers, and railings topped with pineapples, acorns and spearheads.
  • At No. 28, the Scottish Free French House with links to General de Gaulle France’s World War 2 leader.
  • At No. 3 sits the United States Consulate in Edinburgh

At the end of Regent Terrace re-enter Regent Road and make your way back to the hotel.

Stop 11 – Old Royal High School (New Parliament House)

You are walking past the old Royal High School of Edinburgh built in 1825-9 to a Greek Doric design by Thomas Hamilton. It is an important monument of the Greek revival which led to Edinburgh’s New Town being described as the ‘Athens of the North’. The school moved to another part of Edinburgh in the 1970s.

In the late 1970s, the building was adapted to provide a new parliament building for Scotland but the referendum of 1978 failed to confirm a Scottish assembly and the building lay dormant.

When Scotland finally regained a parliament in the late 1990s, this building was no longer seen as fit for purpose. As a result, in spite of its new title, it never hosted the Scottish Parliament.

Above this building sits Calton Hill with fantastic views of the city and many monuments which contribute to its reputation as the Athens of the North. If you wish to undertake an exploratory climb (highly recommended in daylight hours) a guide to the monuments of Calton Hill is available from the hotel reception.

Researched by Edinburgh World Heritage. EWH is a charity, funded by donations, City of Edinburgh Council and Historic Scotland, which seeks to conserve and promote the city’s World Heritage Site. Visit the website www.ewht.org.uk

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