Edinburgh’s Old Town is one of the most famous places in the world and rightly deserves its accolade as a World Heritage Site. What’s amazing is the variety of superb places that can be found to live in this part of the city, providing homes amidst such landmarks as Edinburgh Castle, St Giles’ Cathedral and the famous steep winding Victoria Street.
With thousands of tourists flocking to Edinburgh every week, and the Old Town usually being top of their itinerary, it is always bustling and never a dull moment. During festival season, this area is where it’s at in every sense, with countless venues, street entertainers and culture-vultures creating an unrivalled atmosphere that’s impossible not to love.
Transport and getting around is easy, but driving can be tricky through congestion during the busiest times of the year. The Old Town is walkable from Waverley Station and lots of bus routes carve through the area en route to Princes Street, where you can pick up the tram and airport buses too. Walking is the best way to get around but be prepared for the odd steep hill here and there!
The Old Town offers a mix of shopping. Plenty of convenience stores and mini-supermarkets make everyday essentials easy to access, and you’ll find all the high street names you can think of on nearby Princes Street. For those seeking something different, the area has a wealth of small independent retailers offering original fashions, gifts and food, amongst other things.
As you would imagine for an area that’s a magnet from tourists from all corners of the world, there is no shortage of great restaurants, cafes and bars. For those who like great coffee, avoid the tourist-packed chains and head for brilliant independents like The Milkman on Cockburn Street.
The area is home to the Scottish Parliament Building, located at the foot of the Royal Mile next to the famous Holyrood Palace (or Palace of Holyroodhouse to give it its formal name). This is also the route to enter the spectacular Holyrood Park for Arthur’s Seat and a vast expanse of open space for walking, running, cycling or just relaxing.
This is part of what makes the Old Town a remarkable place for families. A variety of good schools are dotted throughout the area, including the Royal Mile Primary.