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Famous Edinburgh Residents: The People Who Shaped Our City

Edinburgh is a city renowned for its natural beauty and man-made wonders. From its iconic Castle and historic streets, to its celebrated architecture and literary legacy, this stunning and historic city has become a fascinating mix of Old Town character and New Town charm. So in celebration of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we thought we’d take a look at some of Edinburgh’s most famous residents and the role they played in shaping one of the best-loved cities in the world.

Monuments designed by William Henry Playfair atop Calton HillWilliam Henry Playfair – Building Edinburgh Brick By Brick

Where better start our exploration of famous Edinburgh residents, than with the man behind the historic Edinburgh architecture we all know and love? William Henry Playfair was one of the most prolific architects of his day. As the mastermind behind Calton Hill, as well as large parts of Edinburgh’s New Town, examples of his work and architectural influence can be seen throughout the city.

Statue of Walter Scott beneath Scott Monument on Princes Street in EdinburghSir Walter Scott – The Pen Behind Edinburgh’s Literary Legacy

While William Henry Playfair was designing the Edinburgh you see today, Sir Walter Scott was busy becoming the voice of Scottish literature. Founder of the historical novel genre, this lawyer-turned-writer used his popular literary works to write himself out of debt. Extremely popular and a loyal patriot, he became one of the most influential figures in Edinburgh. In 1818, he was granted permission by the future King to carry out a search of Edinburgh Castle, where he helped uncover the Scottish Crown Jewels. But the crowning jewel in his literary legacy was his collection of Waverly novels. Today, tributes to Walter Scott can be found throughout the city, including Edinburgh’s Waverley Station and the Scott Monument on Princes Street.

Metal witch sign outside a building in EdinburghJ.K. Rowling – The Most Famous Of Edinburgh Residents

Perhaps one of the most famous Edinburgh residents is the woman behind the world’s favourite wizarding trio. It was here, in the cosy cafes of Edinburgh, that J.K. Rowling wrote a magical masterpiece that would inspire an entire generation to turn off the telly and pick up a book. From the Elephant House to the grave that is said to have inspired Lord Voldemort, thousands of people head to Edinburgh every year to see where the magic began.

So there you have it. 3 famous Edinburgh residents that each played a profound role in shaping our historic city. To find out more about Edinburgh’s famous residents, book your Edinburgh accommodation today.

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