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Edinburgh’s New Town

The Architecture of Money

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A self-guided walking audio tour in the Georgian New Town of Edinburgh.

In 90 minutes, you’ll learn how Edinburgh became the largest planned town development in the world – and a “model city”. The narrator will share old maps and drawings with you. 

Although its original Georgian fabric has suffered many alterations, the tour will show you clear traces of the former neoclassical city. You’ll see the often overlooked details in the fanlights and elegant ironwork of the original New Town street lights. 

On this route full of breathtaking landscapes, you’ll dive into the economic and political influence of the union between Scotland and England.

Map of Edinburgh New Town audio tour
Map of Edinburgh New Town audio tour

Edinburgh’s New Town:
The Architecture of Money

“We’ve done architectural tours in a number of cities and this ranks among the top!”

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Highlights

Richard, Edinburgh
As an Edinburgh local I was excited to find hidden secrets in places I've simply just walked past hundreds of times.
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Nick, Bristol
The New Town tour was informative and well-timed. I attended with my BSc Urban Planning students at UWE Bristol who really enjoyed the experience.
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Thomas, Staffordshire
We were novices to Georgian architecture but this added to the enjoyment of the walking tour. We visited places and spotted things which on our own we would have simply have missed. The tour was relaxed and easy going. Highly recommended.
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Caroline, Edinburgh
Really excellent and informative tour. Even though I have lived in Edinburgh for years I still learned and saw new things.
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Michael, Berlin
The tour by Olga was very interesting. She had many facts and good knowledge about architectural details in general and the Georgian buildings specifically. We can highly recommend this tour.
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Lisa, Edinburgh
We really enjoyed the overview as well as the little details that we never knew even though we live in Edinburgh. Highly recommended.
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Mary, Toronto
We had a lovely couple of hours wandering through New Town Edinburgh and learning about the architecture and history of the area. We left the tour knowing much more than we had at the start.
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Lynn, Edinburgh
This is a really interesting and informative tour of New Town and architecture of the Georgian period. We've done architectural tours in a number of cities and this ranks among the top!
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How audio tours work

When you purchase directly from us, you donate £1 from every tour to the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings.

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More about the audio tour in Edinburgh New Town

Along the way, I’ll also answer questions like:

  • What inspired the designers of the New Town?
  • To what extent were the New Towners’ fortunes connected to slavery?
  • Why was so much of the now listed Georgian New Town demolished?
  • Why won’t Edinburgh clean its blackened sandstone facades?

On this Georgian period history walk we will explore how the orderly, symmetrical Neoclassical masterplan of Edinburgh’s New Town became the physical embodiment of the Scottish Enlightenment.  

Indeed, this brave vision would not have been possible without the intellectual curiosity and confidence of the era. 

City Chambers - the promise of the New Town

We will start our walk in the dignified courtyard of City Chambers, which was one of the first improvements to the city brought by Lord Provost George Drummond.  

While crossing the North Bridge we will appreciate the elegant dome of Robert Adam’s Register House, that was to set the tone for the further development of the splendid New Town. 

The First New Town

Further, an unexpected ensemble in Thistle Court will surprise you with its contrasting nature to the rest of the Neoclassical tenements.

Dundas house, the only villa in the New Town, will reveal an exquisite later extension with a starlit dome, serving as a banking hall. 

The gem of New Town - Charlotte Square

Once in Charlotte square, you will admire Robert Adam’s magnificent palatial façades, which will help discover the origins of ubiquitous classical details such as bucrania, and sphinxes. 

Here we will also find the elegant original ironwork such as street lights, railings, and boot scrapers. 

Greek Revival in Moray estate

Built on the slopes, Lord Moray’s development in Greek Revival style will impress even those who travel to far less humble cities than Edinburgh.

book-4

More about the audio tour in Edinburgh New Town

Along the way, we’ll answer questions like:

  • What inspired the designers of the New Town?
  • To what extent were the New Towners’ fortunes connected to slavery?
  • Why was so much of the now listed Georgian New Town demolished?
  • Why won’t Edinburgh clean its blackened sandstone facades?

On this Georgian period history walk we will explore how the orderly, symmetrical Neoclassical masterplan of Edinburgh’s New Town became the physical embodiment of the Scottish Enlightenment.  

Indeed, this brave vision would not have been possible without the intellectual curiosity and confidence of the era.

City Chambers - the promise of the New Town

We will start our walk in the dignified courtyard of City Chambers, which was one of the first improvements to the city brought by Lord Provost George Drummond.  

While crossing the North Bridge we will appreciate the elegant dome of Robert Adam’s Register House, that was to set the tone for the further development of the splendid New Town. 

The First New Town

Further, an unexpected ensemble in Thistle Court will surprise you with its contrasting nature to the rest of the Neoclassical tenements.

Dundas house, the only villa in the New Town, will reveal an exquisite later extension with a starlit dome, serving as a banking hall. 

The gem of New Town - Charlotte Square

Once in Charlotte square, you will admire Robert Adam’s magnificent palatial façades, which will help discover the origins of ubiquitous classical details such as bucrania, and sphinxes. 

Here we will also find the elegant original ironwork such as street lights, railings, and boot scrapers. 

Greek Revival in Moray estate

Built on the slopes, Lord Moray’s development in Greek Revival style will impress even those who travel to far less humble cities than Edinburgh.

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Frequently asked questions

We no longer offer public guided tours in Edinburgh. Instead we offer self-guided audio tours for individuals, and private guided tours for groups.

Yes, we offer PRIVATE walking tours guided by a local architect, for groups of up to 30 people. These are well suited for study trips, meetings and conferences, however design geeks on a holiday are very welcome too! Prices start at £175 per tour.

Absolutely, if you are curious about cities and culture, an architecture tour will reveal lots of insights about Edinburgh. 

The audio tour is available in English. Guided tours for private groups are also available in French.

On most audio tours of Edinburgh, we climb from 20 to a 100 steps. Our flattest walking audio tour is in the New Town.

Yes, except Dean Village where the audio tour passes through a private cemetery that does not allow dogs.

Select your audio tour and pay for it. After you paid for the tour, you will receive an activation code by email, along with detailed instructions.

To go out and do the tour, all you need is a free audio tour VoiceMap app for iPhones and Android devices. Install it on your smartphone via Apple AppStore or Google Play’s store. Then download the tour using your activation code.

Don’t forget your earphones!

Once purchased, Edinburgh audio tours are not refundable. However, your ticket will be valid indefinitely, so you can take the tour at any date, gift it to someone else, or enjoy a virtual tour.

Yes, but for the optimal experience and understanding of the content we recommend following a preset order. 

Our Edinburgh audio tours are narrated by Olga Gogoleva, the founder of Cobble Tales. Olga is an architectural designer and tutor.

Yes, audio tour gift cards are available on our gift card page.

loupe-3

Frequently asked questions

We no longer offer public guided tours in Edinburgh. Instead we offer self-guided audio tours for individuals, and private guided tours for groups.

Yes, we offer PRIVATE walking tours guided by a local architect, for groups of up to 30 people. These are well suited for study trips, meetings and conferences, however design geeks on a holiday are very welcome too! Prices start at £175 per tour.

Absolutely, if you are curious about cities and culture, an architecture tour will reveal lots of insights about Edinburgh. 

The audio tour is available in English. Guided tours for private groups are also available in French.

On most audio tours of Edinburgh, we climb from 20 to a 100 steps. Our flattest walking audio tour is in the New Town.

Yes, except Dean Village where the audio tour passes through a private cemetery that does not allow dogs.

Select your audio tour and pay for it. After you paid for the tour, you will receive an activation code by email, along with detailed instructions.

To go out and do the tour, all you need is a free audio tour VoiceMap app for iPhones and Android devices. Install it on your smartphone via Apple AppStore or Google Play’s store. Then download the tour using your activation code.

Don’t forget your earphones!

Once purchased, Edinburgh audio tours are not refundable. However, your ticket will be valid indefinitely, so you can take the tour at any date, gift it to someone else, or enjoy a virtual tour.

Yes, but for the optimal experience and understanding of the content we recommend following a preset order. 

Our Edinburgh audio tours are narrated by Olga Gogoleva, the founder of Cobble Tales. Olga is an architectural designer and tutor.

Yes, audio tour gift cards are available on our gift card page.