Calton Hill is home to a number of Edinburgh landmarks, including the Nelson Monument, the Dugald Stewart Monument, the Old Royal High School, the Robert Burns Monument, and the National Monument of Scotland—although it looks like an ancient ruin, its an unfinished tribute to Scottish servicemen inspired by the Parthenon in Athens.
Many sightseeing tours of Edinburgh Old Town and the Royal Mile include a visit to Calton Hill; tours tend to uncover the city’s lesser-known histories and give you the choice of exploring by electric bike, Segway, or on foot.
Things to Know Before You Go
Calton Hill provides a less-strenuous alternative to climbing Arthur’s Seat while still offering panoramic city views.
Walking to the summit requires a steep climb, which makes sturdy footwear a must.
A gated access road and parking are available for use by blue badge holders with mobility issues. If you don’t have the badge, you can take a taxi via the access road.
How to Get There
Calton Hill is in the center of Edinburgh, less than a 10-minute walk from Waverley Train Station. It’s also within easy reach of attractions such as the Scottish Parliament Building, which is a 15-minute walk away.
When to Get There
Sunset is one of the best times of day to visit, especially in winter when the city takes on a warm glow from mid-afternoon. The hill also hosts the annual Beltane Fire Festival in April. It’s also the setting for the fireworks display of Edinburgh’s annual torchlight procession on December 30.
Exploring the Collective
In late 2018, the long-established Collective Art Gallery opened a new space on Calton Hill, which includes the restored City Observatory, a former astronomical observatory, and a purpose-built exhibition space. The gallery showcases contemporary art from emerging artists via a diverse program of exhibitions, walks, and events.
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- The Canongate
- John Knox House
- Scottish Parliament
- Edinburgh Dungeon
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- Scott Monument
- Real Mary King's Close
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- National Museum of Scotland