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The New Town Gardens, The Princes Street Gardens


Princes Street Gardens lie in the valley between the Old and New Town in Edinburgh, backed by the Castle Rock to the south. Created in the early- to mid-19th century they divide into two areas on either side of a museum and gallery complex, with Edinburgh's main station at one end. The gardens comprise terrace walks, sweeping lawns and borders. In the western part there is a bandstand, floral clock and fountain. Princes Street Gardens are the venue for many events in the city's festive and cultural calendar.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

Princes Street Gardens are open all year round.


Princes Street Gardens can be accessed by foot from Waverley Station in under 10 minutes.


City of Edinburgh


The valley below the Castle was once dammed to form the Nor' Loch. In 1820 the loch was drained and a subscription pleasure garden was opened shortly afterwards in West Princes Street Gardens. In 1826 a Town Council committee was set up for East Princes Street Gardens, advised by William Playfair. It commissioned Wiliam Sawrey Gilpin to prepare a plan for a pleasure ground. This was not followed, but in 1829 a terrace was set out along Princes Street as proposed by Playfair. The Scott Monument was built between 1836 and 1846, and Waverley Station and the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway between 1844 and 1847. The Ross Fountain by A. Durenne of Paris was added to the western gardens in 1862. The Town Council adopted the gardens in 1876 and made several minor changes in both parts of the gardens including a bandstand by Peddie and Kinnear in 1880. The famous floral clock was initiated in 1903 by John McHattie, the then Park Superintendent.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Ross Fountain
  • Scheduled Ancient Monument

  • Reference: Edinburgh Castle (area south of railway line)
  • Historic Environment Scotland Listed Building

  • Reference: Scott Monument


  • Ornamental Fountain
  • Description: The Ross Fountain
  • Bandstand
  • Floral Clock
  • Description: The famous floral clock was initiated in 1903 by John McHattie, the then Park Superintendent.
  • Earliest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building

Parks, Gardens And Urban Spaces





Open to the public




Related Documents
  • CLS 1/887

    Conservation Management Plan, Vol.1 - Digital copy

    Peter McGowan Associates - 2003

  • CLS 1/888

    Conservation Management Plan, Vol.2 - Digital copy

    Peter McGowan Associates - 2003