Princes Street Gardens

Top choice in New Town

These beautiful gardens lie in a valley that was once occupied by the Nor’ Loch (North Loch), a boggy depression that was drained in the early 19th century. At the gate beside The Mound is the Floral Clock, a working clock laid out in flowers; it was first created in 1903 and the design changes every year.

In the middle of the western part of the gardens is the Ross Bandstand, a venue for open-air concerts in summer and at Hogmanay, and the stage for the famous fireworks concert during the Edinburgh International Festival (there are plans to replace the bandstand with a modern pavilion).

The gardens are split in the middle by The Mound – around two million cartloads of earth that were dug out from foundations during the construction of the New Town and dumped here to provide a road link across the valley to the Old Town. The road was completed in 1830.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby New Town attractions

1. National War Museum of Scotland


At the western end of Edinburgh Castle, to the left of the castle tearooms, a road leads down to the National War Museum of Scotland, which brings…

2. St Cuthbert's Parish Church

0.13 MILES

St Cuthbert's Parish Church was built in the 1890s on a site of great antiquity – there has been a church here since at least the 12th century, and…

3. Edinburgh Castle

0.14 MILES

Edinburgh Castle has played a pivotal role in Scottish history, both as a royal residence – King Malcolm Canmore (r 1058–93) and Queen Margaret first made…

4. St John's Church

0.17 MILES

The western end of Princes St is dominated by the tower of St John's Church; the church is worth visiting for its fine Gothic Revival interior.

5. Charlotte Square

0.22 MILES

At the western end of George St is Charlotte Sq, the architectural jewel of the New Town, which was designed by Robert Adam shortly before his death in…

6. Royal Scottish Academy

0.25 MILES

This Greek Doric temple, with its northern pediment crowned by a seated figure of Queen Victoria, is the home of the Royal Scottish Academy. Designed by…

7. Bute House

0.25 MILES

The centrepiece of the grand Georgian facade on the north side of Charlotte Sq, No 6 is the official residence of the first minister of Scotland.

8. Georgian House

0.26 MILES

The National Trust for Scotland's Georgian House has been beautifully restored and furnished to show how Edinburgh's wealthy elite lived at the end of the…