Scott Monument

Climb up one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, a tower built to honor a Scottish literary legend.

Scott Monument is a tribute to Scotland’s most famous author, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). The Victorian Gothic-style tower stands 200 feet (60.9 meters) high and lays claim to being the largest monument to a writer in the world.

Following Scott’s death there was a feeling that the city should erect a monument to the memory of one of its most famous residents. Construction started in 1840 and the monument first opened to the public in 1846.

Make your way up its 287 steps. There are several viewing platforms situated at different levels so you don’t need to tackle the full ascent at once. Access to the very top requires a steep climb up a narrow spiral staircase.

While most people visit the monument for its views of the city, take the opportunity to study the splendid architectural details as you walk around it and ascend.

Try to spot the 64 statues of characters from Scott’s books. The white marble statue of Sir Walter with his favorite dog, Maida, is at the base between the monument’s four columns. Look for the gargoyles, the grotesque character faces common in Gothic architecture.

Learn more about the monument and Sir Walter in the Museum Room on the first floor. It houses a small exhibition on the writer’s life. Admire the room’s four stained-glass windows. They show the coat of arms of Edinburgh, the coat of arms of Scotland, Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, and Saint Giles, the patron saint of the city.

Situated in East Princes Street Gardens, the Scott Monument is easily accessible by all forms of public transportation.

The Scott Monument is open daily. Opening hours change throughout the year; check the Edinburgh Museum’s website for specific opening times. There is no wheelchair access to the monument.

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