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Princes Street Gardens

Spend time in this attractive green space that separates Edinburgh’s Old Town from its 18th-century New Town.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the grounds of Princes Street Gardens, the city’s most famous open space. For hundreds of years the area was known as Nor’ Loch, but after a long draining process, the gardens were created in the 1820s.

The large green space runs the length of Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main shopping street, and is divided in two by the Mound, an artificial hill. The two parts are East Princes Street Gardens, which is the smaller of the two, and West Princes Street Gardens.

One of the main attractions in West Princes Street Gardens is the floral clock, an attractive display made from thousands of plants. The fully functioning timepiece was first planted in 1903 and is believed to be the oldest floral clock in the world. Even the clock hands and numbers are made from flowers.   

Visit the Ross Fountain, a gold-colored cast-iron structure featuring sculptures of mermaids and four female figures representing the arts, science, poetry and industry. Take your children to the large play area that has lots of amusements including slides, carousels, tunnels and climbing ropes.

Princes Street Gardens is also well known for its collection of monuments and memorials. Climb up the 287 steps of the Scott Monument in East Princes Street Garden. This tribute to the writer Sir Walter Scott charges a small admission fee. While you are in this part of the gardens look for the David Livingstone monument that honors one of Scotland’s most famous explorers.

The gardens are a lovely place to visit year-round. One of the best times is in December when they are transformed into the annual “Winter Wonderland.” There are attractions and activities for all ages including an ice rink, Ferris wheel and sleigh rides.

Due to its central location the gardens are easily accessed by public transportation. Princes Street Gardens are open daily from dawn until dusk and have public restrooms.


Guide to Exploring around Princes Street Gardens


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Map

Lodging Near Princes Street Gardens

See all 768 Hotels near Princes Street Gardens
$179
Old Town Chambers

Old Town Chambers

Roxburgh's Court, Edinburgh
4.8
of 5, from 809 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this luxury apartment building is steps from City Chambers, St. Giles' Cathedral, and Real Mary King's Close. Gladstone's Land and Camera Obscura and World of Illusions are also within 5 minutes.

$72
Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

61 Grassmarket, Edinburgh
4.4
of 5, from 1,823 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Two blocks from towering Edinburgh Castle, this hotel is in Old Town's bustling Grassmarket district, with the Waverley railway station and four major theaters within a half-mile.

$129
The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square

The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square

38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
4.4
of 5, from 65 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This central Edinburgh hotel overlooks the gardens of Charlotte Square, and is a 15-minute walk from Haymarket and Waverley stations, and a 20-minute drive from Edinburgh Airport. Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle are nearby.

$52
Cairn Hotel

Cairn Hotel

10-18 Windsor Street, Edinburgh
4.0
of 5, from 880 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in New Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre and Calton Hill. Palace of Holyroodhouse and St. Giles' Cathedral are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$61
Princes Street Suites

Princes Street Suites

16 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh
4.5
of 5, from 683 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This all-suite Edinburgh property is 5 minutes away from St. Andrews Square and George Street. Edinburgh Castle is a 15 minute walk away, up the Royal Mile. Princes Street and Waverley Station are nearby.

$81
Old Waverley Hotel

Old Waverley Hotel

43 Princes Street, Edinburgh
3.9
of 5, from 1,630 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Built in 1848, this eight-storey Victorian hotel is on Princes Street, with views of Edinburgh's famous castle and opposite Waverley railway station.

$58
Jurys Inn Edinburgh

Jurys Inn Edinburgh

43 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh
3.9
of 5, from 1,812 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Modern hotel in the heart of historic Edinburgh next to Waverley Station, one mile from the famous castle, and 400 meters from the New Scottish Parliament.

$105
Fraser Suites Edinburgh

Fraser Suites Edinburgh

Fraser Suites Edinburgh, Edinburgh
4.4
of 5, from 1,638 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Centrally located in Edinburgh's Old Town, this boutique hotel is located just off the Royal Mile, a 5-minute walk from Princes Street, Parliament House, and Edinburgh Castle.