Collective/City Observatory

New Town

The design of the City Observatory, built in 1818, was based on the Temple of the Winds in Athens. Its original function was to provide a precise, astronomical time-keeping service for marine navigators, but smoke from Waverley train station forced the astronomers to move to Blackford Hill in the south of Edinburgh in 1895. The observatory has been redeveloped as a stunning space for contemporary visual art, and opened to the public for the first time in its history.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby New Town attractions

1. Calton Hill

0.03 MILES

Calton Hill (100m), which rises dramatically above the eastern end of Princes St, is Edinburgh's acropolis, its summit scattered with grandiose memorials…

2. Nelson Monument

0.06 MILES

Looking a bit like an upturned telescope – the similarity is intentional – and offering superb views over the city and across the Firth of Forth, the…

3. National Monument

0.07 MILES

The largest structure on the summit of Calton Hill, the National Monument was a rather over-ambitious attempt to replicate the Parthenon in Athens, and…

4. St Andrew's House

0.11 MILES

On the southern side of Calton Hill stands the modernist facade of St Andrew's House, built between 1936 and 1939 and housing the civil servants of the…

5. Old Calton Burial Ground

0.14 MILES

One of Edinburgh’s many atmospheric old cemeteries, Old Calton is dominated by the tall black obelisk of the Political Martyrs’ Monument, which…

6. Burns Monument

0.23 MILES

The neoclassical Burns Monument (1830), a Greek-style memorial to Scotland's national poet Robert Burns, stands on the southern flank of Calton Hill. It…

7. Register House

0.24 MILES

The beautiful Register House, designed by Robert Adam in 1788 and with a statue of the Duke of Wellington on horseback in front, houses the National…