Architectural Walking Tour in Edinburgh

New Town

The Model City

Edinburgh New Town tour for the admirers of scholarly classical beauty

Edinburgh New Town tour, just north of Princes Street. Soak in the Scottish Enlightenment spirit on a walk through the largest Georgian planned town development in the world. 

Stroll the ordered, symmetrical grid of Neoclassical tenements and romantic landscapes of private gardens. 

Grasp the origins of typical Georgian details as your guide introduces the palatial facades, elegant ironwork of the New Town street lights, sunken floors, and a palette of sandstone finishes.

 

English | Mandarin | French | Spanish | Italian | Russian | Lithuanian

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Highlights

  • Private Queen Street Gardens
  • Register House
  • St Andrew's Square
  • Dundas House
  • Charlotte Square
  • Castle Street Tenements
  • Thistle Court
  • George Street

NEW TOWN

2h | £27pp

THE MODEL CITY

For the admirers of scholarly classical beauty

“One of the highlights was the access to the locked Queen Street Gardens!”

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Edinburgh New Town Tour Details

Availability: Edinburgh New Town tours run all year. Check the calendar for available times.

Group size: Public tours consist of small groups up to 8 people. Custom group sizes apply to private tours.

Duration: 2 hours

Price: £27pp. Private tours from £108. Custom pricing for groups.

Distance covered: 2km

Meet: 6 Waterloo Place, outside of Rabbie’s Cafe.

Finish: Charlotte Square

Weather contingency: Tours run rain or shine!

Languages: Public tours in English. Private tours with an instant confirmation are available in French. Contact us to check guide availability for Edinburgh New town tours in Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, Lithuanian.

Nick, Bristol
The New Town tour was informative and well-timed with a guide who was both friendly and enthusiastic! 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. Olga encouraged us to ask questions, express opinions, stimulate discussion and go off at any tangent. 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 private tour. Nick (a PhD Architecture student) and my architect father found lots to talk about in the planning and detailing of the New Town, but the tour was also fascinating for the rest of us. Even though I have lived in Edinburgh for years I still learned and saw new things.
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Michael, Berlin
The tour given by Olga was very interesting. She had many facts and good knowledge about architectural details in general and the Georgian buildings specifically. We also got a stroll through the private park in Queen's street, a place you are normally not allowed to visit. We can highly recommend this guided tour.
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Lisa, Edinburgh
Olga is very well informed and a great communicator. We really enjoyed her 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 with Olga, our Cobble Tales tour guide, wandering through New Town Edinburgh and learning about the architecture and history of the area. Olga is knowledgeable with excellent communication skills and 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. One of the highlights was access to the locked Queen Street Gardens! We've done architectural tours in a number of cities and this ranks among the top!
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The Model City of Edinburgh New Town

Scottish Enlightenment

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 come true would not have been possible without the intellectual curiosity and confidence of the era. 

Register House

The Edinburgh New Town tour will start near Register House that Robert Adam designed to set the tone for the further development of the splendid New Town. 

As we approach the main axis of the area, George Street, the group will discover the principles behind the masterplan of the New Town, designed to chime with the Enlightenment ideas in a graphical form, as well as glorify the union between Scotland and England. 

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

A visit to private gardens

To escape the hustle and bustle of the streets, we will enter the private Queen Street Gardens to admire the romantic Claudian landscapes, and smell the flowers.

Your tour guide will explain the typical elements of the New Town such as sunken basements, underground vaults, and fanlight windows. As we get up and close with the townhouses, the role of varying stone finishes will also be introduced. 

The gem of New Town - Charlotte Square

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

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

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Keep exploring Edinburgh through architecture

OLD TOWN

2.5h | £27pp 

Hidden Castles: a tour for the seekers of romantic bonnie Scotland

DEAN VILLAGE

2h | £27pp

Heritage Valley: a tour for those eager to explore off the beaten path

PICTURESQUE FANTASY

Half Day | Lunch Stop | £57pp

An Old Town tour for true explorers. Discover the mysterious creatures lurking overhead and wander the multitude of atmospheric closes and courtyards around Royal Mile.

ATHENS OF THE NORTH

Half Day | Lunch Stop | £57pp

A New Town tour for modern Georgians. Soak in the spirit of the Scottish Enlightenment and roam beyond the first New Town and into the crescents and lanes of its slopes. 

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