The Royal Mile is a walk down High Street from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. Edinburgh Castle was at times the seat of the Scottish monarchy. Holyrood Palace is where the queen now stays when she is town. The route is part of Old Town. The historic, tourist sections of Edinburgh are called Old Town and New Town. Old Town is the Medieval city with parts dating to the 13th century. New Town consists of regal granite buildings built in the 1700s.
Edinburgh Castle is the most visited tourist destination in Scotland. Hours can be spent there exploring the castle, wandering through the museum exhibits, and looking at the Scottish Crown Jewels.
The stroll down the Royal Mile was my favorite part of Edinburgh. With sites linked to famous authors, medieval architecture, varied shops and restaurants, and hidden gardens, block after block there were things to investigate and explore.
Much of the Royal is quite touristy. Being a tourist who wanted to explore medieval settings, this was not a bad thing to me. I actually enjoyed the shops and street performers. I also enjoyed seeing the people of Edinburgh going about their daily business, though.
Walking along streets that are hundreds of years old is a unique experience to an American. Santa Fe has the oldest buildings that I had visited, but Old Town Edinburgh much predates it.
The Royal Mile should be at the top of any travel plan to Edinburgh. When you reach the bottom of the hill at Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace, you can catch a bus or taxi to prevent you from having the long walk uphill. If you have the energy, though, I recommend turning to the left and making for Regent Road. The views over Old Town toward Arthur’s Seat and the sea are worth the climb. Following Regent Road will lead you Princes Street and the edge of New Town.
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