Sometimes you can live in a city for a long time and not realise what’s on your doorstep. And that’s exactly true of myself and Edinburgh’s Calton Hill. Until a few weeks ago I had never made the short ascent of the steps at Waterloo place to the summit of Calton Hill, although I could have also driven up to the summit. Calton Hill isn’t that high up but the views offered right across the Edinburgh cityscape are truly stunning.
The above photos are from Calton Hill, with the first showing the superb view you get down the entire length of Princes St and the second the stunning view of North Bridge. You can also see right to the Leith coastline and the Firth of Forth; the Forth road and rail bridges; Edinburgh castle; Holyrood Parliament; The Palace of Holyroodhouse; Salisbury Crags; Arthur’s seat and the impressive Dynamic Earth structure. For observing Edinburgh from an elevated position Calton Hill is truly superb and taking a camera is essential. When I visited at just past midday on a Saturday there was a tour guide showing some German tourists around and a fair few people enjoying the sun by stretching out on the plentiful grass banks of Calton Hill. It wasn’t crowded by any means though.
Edinburgh’s Calton Hill is not all about the views though, although that would be worthy enough reason for a visit. The National Monument (pictured below), intended to commemorate those who died in the Napoleonic wars, stands atop Calton Hill and is an impressive sight, even though it never became the replica of the Parthenon it should have been, due to the money running out. Some will call it “Edinburgh’s disgrace”, but for the current generation I guess The National Monument is just how it is; and it’s the structure in it’s current form that is synonymous with Calton Hill.
Nelson’s monument offers, for Â£3 and a draining climb of 170 circular steps, an even better view of Edinburgh. Once at the top you enter a walkway through a smallish door where upon stepping outside you will have gained an extra 106 feet. It’s a worthwhile trip to make and the foyer area contains some history regarding Admiral Nelson and the battle of Trafalgar, with a few models and artifacts. Nelson’s Monument was completed in 1852 and is pictured above, right.
The Dugald Stewart monument appears in numerous images taken from atop Calton Hill with Edinburgh Castle appearing in the background and there’s the Burns monument that sits just beneath Calton Hill itself, on Regent Road.
Though I’ve never experienced watching the sun rise or set from Calton Hill I’m told it’s an awesome sight. If you’re a resident of Edinburgh and have never been to Calton Hill to catch a glimpse across Edinburgh’s cityscape, or you’re a tourist visiting Edinburgh, I would highly recommend Calton Hill, as the views afforded are superb. Note: Calton Hill has a poor reputation at night-time for Non Educated Delinquents (NEDs). This shouldn’t deter you from visiting Calton Hill but if watching the sun set from the hill, just be aware of your surroundings and stay alert! During the day-time it’s tourist central, so there should be no need to worry.