Princes Street Tours

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Lined with shops on the north side, Princess Street is Edinburgh’s principal shopping street. To the south, this heavily trafficked thoroughfare borders the memorial-dotted Princes Street Gardens, a park overlooked by Edinburgh Castle. Princes Street is also known for being one of the principal venues for Hogmanay, Scotland’s famous New Year’s celebrations.

The Basics
With its shops, park, prominent position, historic monuments, and views out over the Old Town, Princes Street is undeniably an important lane—second in importance only to perhaps the Royal Mile. Walking tours of Edinburgh’s New Town typically follow a route down Princes Street, allowing visitors to see and, in some instances, even climb the Gothic-style Scott Monument dedicated to the famous Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott. It’s also a stop on hop-on hop-off bus routes and is even included on some Harry Potter-themed city tours, which typically pass by the lavish Balmoral Hotel, where J.K. Rowling composed the final chapters in the series. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Princes Street is a great place to people-watch and observe everyday life in the Scottish capital. 
  • The weather in Edinburgh can change quickly and without warning. Wear layers and bring an umbrella or raincoat.
  • Both Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens are wheelchair accessible. 

How to Get There
Princes Street is located in Edinburgh’s city center and is extremely well-connected. Edinburgh Waverley railway station and Princes Street tram station both provide direct access. Edinburgh Waverley offers connections to destinations all across the United Kingdom, including London.

When to Get There
Shoppers swarm Princes Street on weekends and during the lead-up to Christmas. Beat the rush of the crowds by coming early in the day. During the Christmas period, festive lights and a holiday market add to the atmosphere, while Hogmanay parties and performances are staged here over New Year’s. Princes Street Garden is at its prettiest in spring, when daffodils sprout. 

The Floral Clock
Stroll along Princes Street, specifically at West Princes Street Gardens near where it meets the Mound, between July and October to encounter the 1903 floral clock. Gardeners plant and tend the clock—which changes every year—using thousands of small, colorful blooms to create a clockface around which the electric-powered hands move.
Location
Address: Edinburgh, Scotland
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Admission: Free
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4 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Edinburgh Harry Potter Walking Tour

Experience the magic of the world’s most famous wizard on a 2-hour Harry Potter walking tour of Edinburgh, perfect for families with kids. Alongside your Potter-mad guide, you’ll explore the winding streets and mysterious alleys that inspired J. K. Rowling to create the iconic wizarding world, and see filming locations featured in the movies. Plus, tick off top Edinburgh attractions such as the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, and Princes Street.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$19.17
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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3-Hour Private Edinburgh Castle Tour

If you’re a history buff, no visit to Edinburgh is complete without a tour of Edinburgh Castle. Receive personalized attention on a private 3-hour tour, during which you’ll delve deep into the history of the Edinburgh icon and avoid long lines often in excess of two hours with a pre-booked entrance ticket. Plus, you’re guide collects you from your hotel to prevent you getting lost in Edinburgh’s winding streets.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$255.65
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$255.65

Edinburgh City Tour by Glass-Roofed Convertible Mini-Coach

Ride through Edinburgh in a glass-roofed, convertible mini coach on this 50-minute hop-on-hop-off tour. Learn the history, culture and traditions of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with a small group of fellow travelers, limited to 15 people or fewer. Stop by some of the area's top attractions, such as the Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh’s central university area. Hear an insider's perspective on the vibrant city via the onboard audio commentary.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$19.17
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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Walking Tour of Edinburgh's New Town

Edinburgh’s UNESCO-listed New Town is replete with innovative monuments and history: as the birthplace of seminal inventions such as the telephone and anesthesia, the New Town’s prosperous past begs to be discovered. This 2.5-hour walking tour, ideal for history enthusiasts, takes you to top attractions such as Princes Street, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and the Ross Fountain. Guide commentary reveals tales of secret Edinburgh societies, inventions of the Enlightenment period, and Edinburgh’s campaign to abolish slavery. 
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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US$16.17
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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