New Town

Guided Architecture Walking Tour

Guided Tour for the lovers of classical order

Edinburgh New Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed in late 18th century it was the biggest planned town development in the world. Its gridiron plan formed the base for rational, ordered, symmetrical streets of extravagant townhouses and private parks. Neoclassical Georgian architecture is the focus of this guided tour’s itinerary.




English | Russian | Lithuanian

Start outside Register House

Finish near the St Stephen's

Learn the political and social context of the New Town 


Learn the history and principles behind the masterplan of the New Town, designed to chime with enlightenment ideas in a graphical form, and glorify the union


Discuss the works of of Robert Adam, William Chambers, William Henry Playfair, and more


Appreciate beautiful ironwork such as streetlights, railings and bootscrapers


Understand the elements of Georgian Neoclassical architecture


Full Description of the New Town Tour

This guided walk offers a good insight into city expansion, social segregation, accommodation typology, infrastructure, conservation and adaptation to the times.

The tour will start near Register House with an introduction of Edinburgh history that influenced the development of the New Town. As we approach the main axis of the area, the group will discover the principles behind the masterplan of the New Town, designed to chime with enlightenment ideas in a graphical form, and glorify the union between Scotland and England. 
Your guide will compare the villas by Robert Adam and William Chambers and surprise you with an unexpected ensemble in Thistle Court. 
To escape the hustle and bustle of the streets, we will enter the private Queen street gardens to admire the Georgian landscapes. 
Around the corner you will discover the allegedly oldest Masonic lodge in the world. 
Your guide will explain the typical elements of the New Town such as sunken basements, underground vaults, prolific chimneys, and fanlight windows. As we get up and close with the townhouses, various stone finishes will also be introduced.
Once out of the main boulevard, George street, the group will admire the magnificent palatial facades of Robert Adam’s Charlotte Square and appreciate beautiful ironwork such as streetlights, railings and bootscrapers.
Having explored the gridiron network of the first New Town, the group will enter the Greek Revival crescents of the Moray Estate and learn the true reason behind blind windows in Georgian architecture. 
We will complete our itinerary in the most photographed lane in Edinburgh, Circus Mews, previously a service street used only to keep horses and coaches. 

Things you can do before and after the New Town Tour

The sign outside Tourist information Centre

Edinburgh iCentre

If you get to our meeting point early, why not plan the rest of your visit to Edinburgh or Scotland by visiting the tourist information centre.

Rotunda and Dome with records - visit before guided tour

Register House

The guided tour starts just outside, so if you have time - wander inside this public building, marvel at Adam's beautiful rotunda and explore a secret Archivists' garden.

Birch tree art gallery Edinburgh logo - visit after guided tour

Birch Tree Gallery

Dundas Street in the New Town is filled with small cosy galleries, our favourite is Birch Tree which focusses on applied arts. The gallery has an original Georgian shopfront.