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Brief description of site

Dunbar's Close is a largely formal garden in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. The site runs north from the Canongate, the main spine of the Old Town, down a slope towards Calton Road. The formal part of the garden is divided into three parterres, one of which includes seasonal planting. It is mainly a garden of green hedges, yew, box and bay. There is a large east-facing garden with old roses and irises, bordered by a long hedge of lavender. It is a secluded place, offering an area of calm off a very busy street.

Brief history of site

On the 1647 map of Edinburgh by Gordon of Rothiemay the site was a garden. Since then the site was built over but the buildings were cleared in the early-1970s and this garden created. The garden is designed to give an impression of what gardens in this area were like in the 17th century but it is not an exact historical reconstruction. It is, however, a very historic site. The west wall of the garden is a party wall of the graveyard of the Canongate Church, (dedicated 1691) and looking towards the garden on the east side is Panmure House where Adam Smith lived from 1772 until his death in 1790. Holyrood Palace is nearby in the grounds of which the Botanic Garden was first sited in 1670.

Location information:

Address: 137 Canongate, Edinburgh , EH8 8BW

Locality: Edinburgh

Local Authorities:

Edinburgh, City of

Historical County: Midlothian

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 66 Grid Ref: NT264738
Latitude: 55.9516 Longitude: -3.1802


The site is on the north side of the Canongate, adjacent to the Canongate Church.

Visitor facilities

Opening contact details:

The site is open daily except Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Key information:

Form of site: formal garden

Purpose of site: ornamental garden

Context or principal building: parks, gardens and urban spaces

Site Style : formal

Site first created: After 1977

Main period of development: Late 20th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 0.4

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