Castle Esplanade and Castlehill

Edinburgh’s Castlehill forming part of the Royal Mile. The former Victorian church houses The Hub, an information service for the Edinburgh International Festival. On the right is The Scotch Whisky Experience and on the left the Camera Obscura tower and shops.

The Castle Esplanade was laid out as a parade ground, in 1753, using spoil from the building of the City Chambers. It was formalised in 1816 when it was widened and provided with decorative railings and walls. The Esplanade with its several monuments has been A-listed by Historic Scotland. It is the venue of the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo at which time specially designed temporary grandstands are erected.

Cannonball House is notable for a cannonball lodged in the wall, often said to have been accidentally fired from the Castle but which actually marks the elevation of Comiston springs, three miles to the south of the Castle, which fed a cistern on Castle hill, one of the first piped water supplies in Scotland.

From the Castle Esplanade, the short section of road entitled Castlehill is dominated by the former Tolbooth-Highland-St John’s Church (on the south side at the foot of this section), now the headquarters of the Edinburgh International Festival society – The Hub, and on the north side by the Outlook Tower and Camera Obscura. The Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland and New College are further down on the same side, in an architecturally somewhat understated building as seen from this side. The Scottish Parliament met in the Assembly Hall between 1999 and 2004.

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