Royal Mile

Royal Mile, Edinburgh: Hours, Address, Royal Mile Reviews: 4.5/5

Points of Interest & Landmarks
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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Stretch of road connecting Edinburgh Castle with Holyrood Palace, the Queen's residence in Scotland.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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The area
Neighborhood: Old Town
Few Edinburghers live in the Old Town, but its labyrinth of dank alleys and steep streets suggests this was not always the case. Today, it’s mostly visitors, tartan-flavored souvenir shops, and pipers that you’ll find on its cobbled streets. This is the place to get a feel for Auld Reekie (Old Smelly), as the town was once nicknamed, and stroll the Royal Mile, the thoroughfare that links the castle with the royal palace – two of Edinburgh’s great set-piece attractions. But there’s lots more exploring to do here down dozens of little alleys, or wynds, while at night the city’s busiest clubs erupt along the Cowgate which is closed to traffic for this purpose.
Best nearby
2,053 within 3 miles
455 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

25,467 reviews
Very good

Roberta C
Boston, MA24 contributions
May 2022
This popular tourist attraction is full of old buildings that are interesting to look at. However, the street is lined with shops that cater to tourists, selling overpriced Scottish scarves, sweaters, and knickknacks. And it's quite a steep hill. Despite the hill and the shops, it's well worth the visit.
Written May 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Jose, Costa Rica645 contributions
Aug 2020
This is a must cannot miss this
Perfect place to walk around for a few hours and get lost within the different closes (alleyways) and find many different interesting, gardens, pubs, etc within the city.

You will find many different places to eat and have a pint but I would recommend to leave a few blocks away to find a bit more reasonable prices.

Likewise with souvenirs...walk and ask around.

I was looking at prices for whiskey bottles and it was more expensive here than at the airport since it's normally more expensive to buy at airports but for whiskey you can buy on the way out (if you fly out).
Written August 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jamal Rafat
Fort McMurray, Canada83 contributions
May 2022
A must-do if your are visiting Edinburgh for the first time. Leading up to the Edinburgh Castle its is swarmed with historical stories of how the city started and how this street was the hub of all action in the community. Now laden with over priced shops its not so much for shopping but more for entertainment and photography. If you get a nice sunny day like I did, you don't mind taking a few minutes strolling through the 'closes' each of the street open into. Ten steps away from the chaos of Royal Mile and you are in a quiet little 'close' where you can catch a breath. I also took a walking tour that made my experience richer.
Written May 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sarah H
Canberra, Australia190 contributions
Nov 2019 • Couples
Although technically longer than a mile, The Royal Mile is a great introduction to the heart of Edinburgh City’s old town. With Edinburgh Castle at one end and Holyrood Palace at the other, the mile is packed with shops, bars, restaurants, churches and history for the entire length of the mile.
Plaques provide the stories of previous lives on the mile, its buildings, and the laneways coming off of it.
If you only have a day in Edinburgh, the mile is a great place to go. With free tours available, it is a thrifty way to learn the history and take in the charm of the area.
Written January 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cambridge, UK154 contributions
Dec 2019
I walked from one end to the other of the Royal Mile taking in the Edinburgh Castle, retail shops full of tartans, plaids; all things Scottish. Visits to St Giles Cathedral and the John Knox House confirm the incredible history which underpins the significance of the City beyond its commercial centre. I highly recommend a trek along the Royal Mile even if you do so over a few days to get to grips with the significance of this historic mile.
Written January 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Manchester63 contributions
Mar 2022
You can't visit Edinburgh and not walk the Royal Mile. Lots of fascinating history, not least the many closes and alleyways leading off it. You're almost guaranteed to encounter busking bagpipers, fortune-tellers and escapologists. Unfortunately, 90% of the shops on the street are selling exactly the same selection of tourist tat. There can't be a higher concentration of cashmere scarf stockists anywhere in the world.
Written April 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

8 contributions
Sep 2020 • Family
Love the Royal Mile, so many interesting shops and restaurants. Love the people entertaining on the street with bag pipes, get you photo taken with an owl, ect... And the view at the castle is outstanding without having to pay to get into the castle which I don't recommend. When walking down the mile keep your eyes open for the little alleys between the shops which gives you a fantastic feel of Old Edinburgh. I'm Scottish from Glasgow and this still gets me everytime.
I love reading the intriguing menus outside of the restaurants but would only book for a special occasion as they are expensive. If your here for an experience though I would recommend giving one a go.
Written September 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rodger D
Biddulph, UK195 contributions
Sep 2020
Start at either end of the Royal Mile,perhaps going down one side and up the other; and visit the tourist shops selling all manner of tartans and wool wear. Take some time exploring the alleyways on either side of the route. Before purchasing a bottle of the amber liquid, inspect the whisky shops to get the best bargain.It must be a malt that you go for! A visit to the Cathedral is well worth it. If you are lucky stop and admire a piper as he or she plays for the tourists, and please leave a token of your appreciation!.At the bottom of the mile is Holyrood House, which itself is worth a visit and of course the Seat of the Scottish Parliament.
Written October 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Quincy C
Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Canada3 contributions
Jan 2020
Whien my father studied music in Edinburgh, I was born. Soon, life would carry me to Canada. It would be 66 years until I would see Edinburgh as an adult.

What did I expect to find beside the hospital where I was born and my father's music School? ( Success in both areas.) I found gorgeous stone architecture, green grass, and January temperatures of 47 F at 56 degrees N! There was a wonderful Museum of Childhood, and a fantastic National Mueseum of Scotkand ( at a price every Scotsman can The Castle was exopensive but magnificent and as was the Museum of of the military, and the wonderful views of Edinburgh were very satisfying.

Our accomodations at the Fraser Suites was lovely, with the attached restaurant with great breakfasts and suppers were much enjoyed. It was just a few feet off the Royal Mile.

The downside? The Royal Mile is filled with shops all selling the same merchandise right diwn to the same price. . The presence of homeless was a sad reminder that Scotland suffers from a high level of drug/gambling/alcohol abuse according to a young social worker I sat next to on our flight from London to Edinburgh. One humourous note a mute beggar repeatedly approached tourists indicating he needed donations in order to eat. I spotted him in an unguarded moment on a side street having a lovely chat woth a friend on a cell phone. Ahem.

St Giles Cathedral, of Scottish Presbyterian Reformer fame John Knox ( " Give me Scotland ere I die" was conducting tours at a cost. As we happened to arrive at noon we were able to be part of a short no cost. ( Being a retired Canadian Pastor I have a hard time with churches charging admission!) The alley's off the ridge of the Royal Mile, called " closes" are well worth wandering. Given our short stay ee never visited other attractions.

It was worth going home, a closing of a chapter. A lovely city alive with pipe music. (Yes, as a wayward son I took up the pipes a number of years ago and have endured all the Pipe Jokes. " A gentleman is one who knows how to plays the Pipes...but doesn't." )

Old Edinburgh is beautiful and honest, well worth seeing and easy to walk. I cannot comment on how crowded the streets would be in the summer, but with fewer tourists the experience was much the richer for one from rural Canada.)
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jason M
Cardiff, UK67 contributions
May 2021 • Couples
From the castle to the palace the royal mile runs downhill.
Really photogenic buildings and alleys
Explore all things touristy and Scottish (but none the worse for that).
It is a long hill so it may be easier for sone to explore top (castle) down rather than bottom (palace) up.

Holyrood palace and the Castle require booking.
Also worthy of note that Holyrood is not always open to visitors, it is off limits when required for official functions so check ahead.
Written July 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Royal Mile

Royal Mile is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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