Princes Street

Princes Street

Princes Street, Edinburgh

The history of Princes Street

The name Princes Street is synonymous with Edinburgh, but city residents often overlook its architecture. In fact most of its buildings are now listed, and in amongst the modern stores are some real treasures.

Princes Street is part of the New Town plan designed by James Craig in 1767, and took its name from the sons of King George III. In stark contrast to today, it started out as a residential street with the first inhabitants moving in during the 1770s.

Cultural significance

Princes Street is culturally significant as the main artery of Edinburgh’s New Town. Its elegant Georgian and Victorian architecture, lush gardens and panoramic views of the castle, create a scene of urban grandeur. The street’s array of shops, boutiques, and historic landmarks make it a hub of commerce, culture, and leisure.

Why is it important to Edinburgh?

Princes Street is the beating heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, connecting Waverley Station to the West End. It’s a thoroughfare that seamlessly marries commerce with culture, offering an inviting space for shopping, strolling, and sightseeing. The street’s Gardens and key landmarks like the Scott Monument and the National Gallery of Scotland makes it an essential stop on every Edinburgh itinerary.

Key events

In 1949 the ‘Abercrombie Plan’ proposed radical changes to Princes Street, with extensive redevelopment, and only three historic buildings considered worthy of retention. In 1967 a report recommended building first floor balconies to form a continuous walkway across the front of the entire street.

Additional information

Princes Street traces its origins back to the late 18th century.
Princes Street’s unparallelled vista of Edinburgh Castle, coupled with its historic and architectural significance, sets it apart. It provides a captivating panorama of the city’s heritage and urban splendour.
Princes Street graces the southern edge of Edinburgh’s New Town, offering an unrivalled view of the iconic Edinburgh Castle.

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