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Charlotte Square

This prestigious square is the architectural jewel of the New Town.

TravelCurious Tip

The National Trust for Scotland also have a restored property on the Royal Mile you can visit: Gladstone’s Land

Charlotte Square, found just off Princes Street, is one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious plazas. It was designed by the famous Scottish architect Robert Adam shortly before his death in 1791. Completed in 1820 and named after King George III’s Queen and first daughter (different people), it is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in Britain.


It is a treat for architecture and history buffs. The town houses on each of its four sides are unified, giving the impression of palace-like frontages. Many of these grand old buildings have been maintained, and Charlotte Square was recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Number seven is owned by The National Trust for Scotland and is open to the public; it has been restored to once more resemble an early 1800s residence, so you can get a glimpse of Georgian life as it would have been (for the 1%).


Fall from summer

For the last three weeks of August every year Charlotte Square is the site of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, a huge event that typically welcomes more than 800 authors in over 700 events. More novelists, poets, scientists, illustrators, and environmentalists than you can shake a stick at.


An important guest

Bute house at number six Charlotte Square was given over to the National Trust for Scotland by the Marquess of Bute in 1966. It now serves as the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland.


Put a lid on it

Walking around the square, you might notice some peculiar trumpet-shaped pieces of metal worked into the railings. These were once used to snuff out the torches carried by ‘link boys’ who would light your way home at night.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle
For nearly 1000 years Edinburgh Castle has shaped Scottish history as both a royal residence and a military stronghold.
Princes Street Gardens
The lovely Princes Street Gardens lie in a valley previously occupied by the North Loch, drained during the construction of the New Town of Edinburgh.
St Giles’ Cathedral
St Giles’ Cathedral has been at the spiritual heart of Edinburgh for over 900 years.
George Heriot's School
An outstanding example of Scots Renaissance architecture, now known worldwide as a mecca for Harry Potter fans.
Scottish National Gallery
The Scottish National Gallery is home to the country's spectacular collection of fine art.
Parliament Square
The historic hub of the Old Town of Edinburgh.

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