Architecture Tour of New Town

It’s August, and we know what has lured all of you to Edinburgh—the neoclassical architecture!

While you’re here enjoying the Fringe, take some time to get to know the real city—it’s so much more than just a festival venue.

Whether you’re a regular tourist, Fringe-goer or resident, Cobble Tales' Architecture Tour of New Town will inspire you to see the city in a whole new light. Focused specifically in the New Town, this two-hour walk covers the National Records of Scotland building, Royal Bank of Scotland's main branch, Thistle Court, the Queen Street Gardens, Heriot row, George Street and the First Minister’s House at Charlotte Square.

If you’ve ever wandered down George Street admiring the sandstone uniformity, mysterious basements and majestic columns, this tour will give you enough background information to appreciate the well-thought out planning that went into creating our unique city. Two hours barely brushes the surface of even this small portion of Edinburgh, but Cobble Tales do an admirable job of covering the history, central figures and main architectural features of the area.

Although the tour is given with the assumption that most participants have some knowledge of architecture, with a lot of terminology thrown around that might as well be pig Latin to the novices amongst us, they also make an effort to explain the relevant characteristics of the neoclassical style more common to New Town. Using portraits, sketches and blueprints, our guide constantly refers back to the information we have received so far, helping us to place ourselves clearly within the modern map and historical timeline of the city.

Edinburgh is a truly fascinating place. The contrast between the haphazard, winding cobbled streets around the Royal Mile, and the deliberate, gridiron plan of New Town gives each visitor to the Scottish capital a completely unique experience. While you’re here enjoying the Fringe, take some time to get to know the real city—it’s so much more than just a festival venue. And citizens of Edinburgh, this is your chance to finally get into those private Queen Street Gardens! Need I say more?

Reviews by Kate Nora

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

On a small group walk, explore the principles of Georgian Neoclassical town-planning and architecture. Soak in the enlightenment spirit as you stroll the ordered, symmetrical grid of extravagant tenements, designed to chime with the union between Scotland and England. With the aid of 18th century illustrations, grasp the origins of typical Georgian details as your guide introduces fanlights, elegant ironwork of the New Town street lights, bowed dormer windows, sunken floors and a palette of sandstone finishes. You will finish the tour in the majestic Charlotte Square, surrounded by Robert Adam’s palatial facades.

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