Charlotte Square

Charlotte Square

Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

The history of Charlotte Square

Charlotte Square is believed by many to represent the highpoint of the first New Town’s planning. The famous Scottish architect Robert Adam designed the townhouses on each side of the square as unified blocks, creating palace-like frontages. Charlotte Square soon became one of the most prestigious addresses in the city.

Cultural significance

Charlotte Square is culturally significant as a prime example of Georgian urban planning and architectural excellence. Its symmetrical layout, neoclassical facades, and central garden create a sense of timeless grandeur. The square’s role as a hub for culture, literature, and history further enhances its cultural prominence.

Why is it important to Edinburgh?

Charlotte Square stands as a cornerstone of Edinburgh’s New Town, overlooking the lush gardens and the elegant facades. It is home to numerous organisations and the First Minister of Scotland’s official residence.

Key events

Charlotte Square was the longstanding venue for the Edinburgh International Book Festival from its inception in 1983 until 2020. This initially biennial, then annual event hosted a diverse array of authors, thinkers, and cultural figures, making Charlotte Square a hub for intellectual discourse and literary celebration. The square’s tranquil gardens continue to provide an idyllic setting for engaging conversations and thought-provoking sessions.

Additional information

Charlotte Square was designed in 1791 and the first house completed in 1794, as a centrepiece of James Craig’s visionary plan for the New Town.
Charlotte Square’s architectural grandeur, coupled with its central garden and its association with prominent historical figures, sets it apart. It offers a window into the elegance and sophistication of 18th-century Edinburgh.
Charlotte Square is situated at the west end of George Street, in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town.

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