The Royal Mile passes through Edinburgh’s historic Old Town of Edinburgh (for actually a little more than a mile), connecting the imposing Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse royal residence. Here, you’ll find tourists and locals alike enjoying the bustling eating and drinking establishments as well as browsing the many boutiques that line the thoroughfare. Whether you’re visiting Edinburgh for the first time or on a return trip, it’s a great place to start acquainting yourself with this fair city.
The Royal Mile is actually a succession of several streets. Since medieval times, it’s been the busiest and most significant part of the Old Town. Forming part of the Royal Mile is Grassmarket, a handsome square where public executions used to take place. Thankfully, those days are over, and Grassmarket now buzzes with restaurants, shops and traditional pubs. In the warmer months, many spots offer alfresco dining, so you can kick back, enjoy the fresh air and watch the world go by (and marvel at looming Edinburgh Castle).
When you’ve had your fill of food and drink, there are some must-visit attractions dotting the Royal Mile. Stop at The Real Mary King’s Close, a labyrinth of historic underground streets; you can book a number of fascinating seasonal or themed guided tour. Don’t miss stunning St Giles’ Cathedral and the strikingly modern Scottish Parliament building. The Lawnmarket area of the Royal Mile was formerly the city’s busy open-air marketplace, where locals traded everything from fresh produce to textiles.
Waverley station is the closest train station to the Royal Mile – just a five-minute walk. The convenience of the station, along with the loads of accommodation options, attractions and activities within walking distance make this an ideal base from which to explore Edinburgh.