Gracious Princes Street, with its epic length, gardens, stellar shopping, and knockout views, is the central vein of Edinburgh and one of Europe's great thoroughfares. It’s also at the center of the city’s world-famous Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) celebrations, which revolve around a massive street party. If you’re newly arrived in Edinburgh, a stroll along it is one of the finest ways to orient yourself.
Why Princes Street? Because it’s named after two of them – the sons of King George III. The street was hewn out as part of the building of the New Town in the 18th century. The Nor Loch, once a defence for the Castle was drained to make the gardens.
These days, Princes Street offers a variety of pleasures. Kick back in the gardens, particularly in spring, when weeping cherries and daffodils are working their charms. Enjoy the piquant contrast between, on one side of the road, the looming fronts of major chain stores (Marks and Spencer, Debenhams) and the opening out of Castle views on the other. Wander up and admire the neo-Gothic rocket that is the Scott Monument. In the mood for walking? Follow the length of the street to Leith.
As you'd expect, all Princes Street buses will take you there.