The Closes of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is best known as a hilled, cobblestone street full of history, shops and charm.

The famous street is situated in the heart of Old Town Edinburgh and connects the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Edinburgh Castle. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, showing the beauty of the surrounding mountains and wondrous hiking trails; whereas, Edinburgh Castle is located at the top of the mile, boasting gorgeous views of the city and the surrounding body of water. Yet, what intrigued me most about this single mile was the culture and closes in-between these two royal landmarks.

The closes of Edinburgh, also known as alleyways, show the uniqueness of the established city. As I was only able to spend a day in Edinburgh, I spent most of my time walking along the Royal Mile. As I trekked upwards from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, I noticed several small archways hidden in the facades of the buildings. Curious, I decided to explore!


Dunbar’s Close was the first archway I had the opportunity to wander into, walking under the beautiful stone. As I continued through the tunnel, to my amazement, the close lead straight into an open-space garden courtyard. This courtyard was well groomed with benches that allowed you to sit and observe the view of the mountains and hills surrounding the city.

Short on time, I left Dunbar’s Close and continued my walk towards Edinburgh Castle. Walking up the street, I noticed that each recurring close led to something different; as
if the Royal Mile was central to these small, outstanding walkways.


Another close that I recommend walking through is Advocate’s Close. The close contains a stairway that leads to some shops, along with a restaurant and hotel. It was within this close that I dined at The Devil’s Advocate, an increasingly popular, eclectic restaurant and bar. If you find yourself exploring the closes of the Royal Mile, I suggest you book a reservation at this restaurant for some food or drinks—you won’t be disappointed!

After dinner, I continued down the staircase of Advocate’s Close, which led straight to the front of Edinburgh’s train station.

My favourite part of travelling is having the time to explore and stumble upon what makes each destination unique. While in Edinburgh, I found this in the closes of the Royal Mile.

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Have you ever explored the closes of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! 

2 thoughts on “The Closes of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile

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