The Royal Mile is the popular name for a historic and iconic street in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. It stretches approximately one mile (hence the name) and runs through the heart of the city’s Old Town, connecting two significant landmarks: Edinburgh Castle at one end and the Palace of Holyrood House at the other. The Royal Mile is a central hub for tourism, culture, and history in Edinburgh.
The street is composed of several smaller streets and closes, each with its unique character and history. It is lined with medieval and Renaissance-era buildings, many of which have been repurposed into shops, restaurants, pubs, museums, and other attractions. The Royal Mile is known for its cobblestone streets, charming architecture, and vibrant atmosphere that reflects both its historical significance and its modern appeal.
How to Reach
Edinburgh’s efficient public transportation system ensures hassle-free travel. The city’s extensive bus and tram network connects major points, making it easy to reach The Royal Mile from anywhere in the city.
Embrace the rhythm of Edinburgh by taking a stroll from landmarks like the imposing Edinburgh Castle or the regal Holyrood Palace. The journey itself becomes an immersive experience as you meander through the charming streets.
- From the Airport: Arriving at Edinburgh Airport? Hop on the Airlink Express bus, and within 30 minutes, you’ll find yourself at Waverley Bridge, a mere stone’s throw from The Royal Mile.
- From the City Center: If you’re exploring the city center, a pleasant 15-minute walk down Princes Street will lead you directly to the bustling heart of The Royal Mile.
Affordable Hotels along The Royal Mile
The historic thoroughfare offers a range of affordable hotel options that not only provide a cozy retreat but also grant convenient access to the myriad attractions that line this iconic street.
Several hotels along The Royal Mile offer budget-friendly options that cater to various preferences and travel styles:
- Castle View Hotel: Imagine waking up to the awe-inspiring sight of Edinburgh Castle from your window. This budget-friendly gem offers a range of well-appointed rooms, starting at an affordable £60 per night. The proximity to the castle allows you to relish its grandeur and history with ease.
- High Street Hostel: If you’re a solo traveler or seeking a communal atmosphere, the High Street Hostel is an excellent choice. Dormitory beds start as low as £20 per night, providing an economical option for those who wish to connect with fellow travelers and share stories of exploration.
- Royal Mile Backpackers: For those seeking a blend of affordability and prime location, Royal Mile Backpackers offers a unique stay experience. With rates starting at £25 per night, this hostel exudes a lively vibe, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious adventurers.
To make the most of your budget while securing comfortable accommodation, consider the following booking tips:
- Early Planning: Booking your stay well in advance often leads to better rates and availability.
- Online Platforms: Utilize reputable online platforms such as Airbnb, or hotel websites to compare prices, read reviews, and find exclusive deals.
- Flexible Dates: Adjust your travel dates if possible, as rates can vary based on the time of year and local events.
Famous Bars on The Royal Mile
The vibrant nightlife of this historic thoroughfare beckons, offering an array of famous bars that are more than just places to enjoy a drink. Bars along The Royal Mile become social hubs, inviting both locals and visitors to partake in an evening of camaraderie, music, and, of course, exceptional beverages.
Iconic Drinking Establishments:
Venturing into the renowned bars along The Royal Mile is an adventure that reveals the heart of Edinburgh’s social history. Here are some iconic bars that stand out:
- The Devil’s Advocate: A hidden gem nestled within an old Victorian pump house, The Devil’s Advocate seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. Its extensive selection of finely crafted cocktails and an impressive array of whiskies make it a haven for connoisseurs.
- Whiski Rooms: This establishment is a true haven for whisky aficionados. With a staggering collection of over 300 single malts, the Whiski Rooms offers a journey through Scotland’s national drink.
- The Jolly Judge: Tucked away in an intimate close, The Jolly Judge exudes an old-world charm that transports patrons to a bygone era. As you step inside, you’ll feel a sense of timelessness, surrounded by wood-paneled walls and dimly lit corners.
Immerse in Local Bar Culture:
The bars on The Royal Mile offer more than just drinks; they provide a portal into the heart of Edinburgh’s local culture. Engaging in conversations with friendly locals and fellow travelers can lead to unexpected friendships and shared memories.
Things to Do on The Royal Mile
This iconic street offers an array of activities that cater to all interests and passions.
Exploring Historical Landmarks:
The Royal Mile is a treasure trove of historical landmarks that reflect the rich tapestry of Edinburgh’s past. Two notable highlights beckon:
- Edinburgh Castle: This majestic fortress is a beacon of Scotland’s history. Embark on guided tours that lead you through its storied halls, regal chambers, and fortified walls. The panoramic views of the city from its ramparts provide an awe-inspiring perspective that transcends time.
- Holyrood Palace: Journey to the opposite end of The Royal Mile and step into the realm of royalty at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Wander through opulent state apartments, meander through manicured gardens, and marvel at the grandeur that once hosted monarchs and dignitaries.
Shopping and Souvenirs:
Each shop tells a story of Scotland’s heritage and craftsmanship.
- Tartans and Kilts: Dive into Scotland’s history at tartan and kilt shops on The Royal Mile. Get your piece of Scottish culture or just enjoy the intricate designs that tell a story of the country’s traditions.
- Handcrafted Jewelry: Discover pieces of wearable art crafted by local artisans. From intricate Celtic designs to contemporary creations, these jewelry shops showcase Scotland’s commitment to craftsmanship and design.
- Art and Crafts: Discover Scotland’s artistry at galleries and shops on The Royal Mile. See hand-painted landscapes, sculptures, and more that showcase the country’s beauty and creativity.
- Local Products: Seek out shops that specialize in locally made products, such as whisky, preserves, and textiles. These items not only make for wonderful souvenirs but also provide a genuine connection to Scotland’s culture and traditions.
Prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure that encapsulates Scotland’s rich flavors and international influences.
- Traditional Scottish Cuisine: Head to local eateries where you can savor haggis, a savory dish made from sheep’s offal, neeps (turnips), and tatties (potatoes). The flavors are hearty and robust, evoking a sense of warmth and authenticity that is uniquely Scottish.
- Cosmopolitan Flavors: Indulge in a world of flavors on The Royal Mile. From the zesty Indian curries to the savory Italian pasta, this street takes you on a global food adventure that crosses continents.
- Charming Cafés: Take a relaxing break at charming cafés along The Royal Mile. Enjoy freshly brewed coffee, delicious pastries, and light snacks while soaking in the beautiful surroundings.
The Royal Mile is more than a street; it’s a journey through time, culture, and the essence of Edinburgh. This guide equips you to make the most of your visit, ensuring that every step you take is enriched with history, hospitality, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re an explorer of the past, a seeker of vibrant nightlife, or simply a traveler in search of genuine moments, The Royal Mile promises to be an adventure unlike any other.