Edinburgh is known far and wide as Scotland's capital. This amazing
city has played host to countless tourists over the years as its
cobbled streets and narrow, dark architecture
offer tourists an amazing collection of culture and of course,
entertainment. This town is known fondly by its residents as “Auld
Reekie”, which means “Old Smokey”, and makes its way on many a bucket
list as a must-see. So what's so special about this Scottish city and
why do you need to see it?
Monuments in Edinburgh
The Scottish capital has many impressive monuments that you must
Walter Scott Monument
The Walter Scott Monument has the honour of being the tallest
building to commemorate a writer. And it makes sense that it's in
Edinburgh. As we mention in the Old Town Tour, Walter Scott is one
of the most loved figures in Scotland.
His monument is an excellent example of Victorian neogothic
architecture. Many projects were presented to the city, some of them
by the most prestigious architects of Great Britain. Oddly enough, a
complete stranger named George Meikle Kemp won it. He was a
carpenter and self-taught architect that lacked experience in
projects of this magnitude.
Today the Walter Scott Monument is one of the most recognisable
pieces of Edinburgh. Many people find a resemblance with a church,
and the truth is that the architect we have just mentioned recycled
a previous design that he presented to renovate the Glasgow
Cathedral that didn't make it through.
In the monument, they explain the history, meaning of its statues
and the difficulties that Edinburgh faced to complete it. As a prize
for climbing up the 288 claustrophobic stairs, you can enjoy some
magnificent views of Edinburgh.
Dugald Stewart Monument
The Dugal Stewart monument is the most photographed in Edinburgh.
However, this has not so much to do with the monument itself but
with the privileged location where it is, at the top of Calton Hill.
Probably the best views that you can find in the Scottish capital
are on this hill, as we mention in our
Edinburgh Free Walking Tour. When people take a photo here, this neoclassic monument tends to
be featured, which was inspired by the Lysicrates Monument in
Dugal Stewart was a remarkable teacher of moral philosophy at
Edinburgh University, a member of the Masonry and one of the
founders of the Scottish Royal Society. He was friends with Robert
Burns, one of the most laureate poets of Scotland, who has a similar
monument very close to Stewart's.
Horatio Nelson was the famous great British hero in the sea battle
against Napoleon. Almost a mythical figure, one can't be surprised
that the most important square in London, Trafalgar Square,
commemorates him. As it couldn't be otherwise, in Edinburgh, Nelson
has its monument too.
National Monument of Scotland
Very close to Nelson's Monument, you can find the National Monumento
of Scotland. Originally built to be a replica of Greece's Parthenon,
things didn't go quite well, and the monument was left unfinished
due to a lack of funds. Some people even refer to it as "Scotland's
Folly", "Edinburgh's Disgrace", and "the Pride and Poverty of
Scotland". If you want to know more, in the Ghost Tour we mentioned
the stories related to Calton Hill and its monuments.
The monument erected to commemorate Henry Dundas is one of the
tallest landmarks in the historic town of Edinburgh. However, is not
usually depicted in the "skyline" of the city, and many people just
That might be due to the fact that the statue is quite small. Or
maybe because the figure of Henry Dunda is surrounded by polemic. A
politician that amassed immense power and fortune in Scotland and
was heavily against the abolition of slavery. He even resigned due
to arising doubts regarding some corruption scandals where he was
The biggest city in Scotland has many places of interest worth a
Duke of Wellington statue
The Duke of Wellington was one of the great figures of 19th
century Britain. He was two times prime minister for the
conservative party. Most importantly, he became one of the
greatest military heroes for the United Kingdom when he
defeated Napoleon in the famous Waterloo battle. There are statues of him around the whole country, but the most
famous is the one you can find in Glasgow. Why? Because it has a
cone in the head. The council has removed it many times, spending
thousands of pounds... but people keep putting the cone.
People tend to say that this sums up the unique humour of the
Glaswegians. So unique that Lonely Planet listed the statue of the
Duke of Wellington as
one of 10 most bizarre monuments in the world. In the Glasgow Free Tour, you can learn more about the statue,
among other points of interest.
Robert and James Adam were two prestigious architects at their time
in the United Kingdom. Among other buildings, in Glasgow, they
designed the Assembly Room, a building whose entrance was a
spectacular arch. The building was demolished, but the arch was
relocated to the oldest park in Glasgow, Glasgow Green.
This ceramic fountain was built in the year 1887 to commemorate the
jubilee of Queen Victoria. It was a very popular attraction at the
time, gladly received by Glasgow's inhabitants. Doulton Fountain
shows the power of the British Empire, including nations and
colonies, with remarkable allegorical figures portraying Canada,
India, Australia and South Africa.
Originally, the fountain was an important landmark for a scientific
exposition that happened in Kelvingrove Park in 1888. In 2004 it was
relocated to Glasgow Green, in front of People's Palace.
The Lighthouse was the first building by Charles Rennie Mackintosh
on a public offering. At its time, it was built for the newspaper
Glasgow Herald. The architect designed the tower to keep 30.000
litres of water in case of a fire to protect the building.
Nowadays, the Lighthouse hosts the Scottish Centre of Design and
Architecture, besides showcasing pieces from Mackintosh and his
wife. That tower mentioned earlier is today one of the best points
to see Glasgow's skyline. If you are interested in seeing more
Mackintosh artworks, there are a few more monuments that might call
your attention, such as the Mackintosh House on the West End.
The Tall Ship
The Glenlee is a ship built in Glasgow's shipyard in 1896. The
Spanish Navy bought it in 1922, changing its name to Galatea. The
Spanish used the ship until it was ineffective and broken. In 1990
they decided to destroy it, but luckily, a British navy architect
discovered it and saved it. In 1993, the British bought it back.
The Tall Ship returned to Glasgow for the first time in almost 100
years. It got its original name back, Glenlee, and since 2011 it's
part of the Riverside Museum. Today is a family attraction in
Monuments in Stirling
Along with its incredible castle, Stirling proud itself of having
another significant landmark.
Wallace National Monument
The Wallace National Monument observes the city of Stirling from the
top of Abbey Craig. This impressive tower of victorian style is a
monument to commemorate the Scottish hero
Willian Wallace. Why in Stirling? Because that's where Wallace
delivered a massive victory against the English.
Since the monument was built after the unification of Scotland and
England, there wasn't much interest from London to build it. Oddly
enough, Garibaldi, the leader of the unification of Italy pay for
part of the construction. The William Wallace monument is an
enormous tower that providers a perfect view of Stirling.
Among the beautiful lochs, castles and mountains of the Scottish
Highlands you can find some interesting monuments too.
Glencoe is one of the most recommendable places to visit on the way
to Loch Ness. Actually, it's one of our stops in the
Loch Ness day trip from Edinburgh. The landscapes, with impressive trees, hills and lakes everywhere
is a feast for the eyes. In addition to that, in Glencoe there is
one of the most famous monuments in Scotland, the Commando Memorial.
It's a memorial to remember the British commandos that participated
in the Second World War. The place couldn't have been chosen better,
since the military used to train under the extreme weather
conditions in the Highlands.
Hector Munro, a Scottish military that was India's commander in
chief, built the Fyrish monument in the 18th century. The building
represents the Gate of Negapatam, an Indian port captured by Munro.
The path to visit Fyrish Monument is one of the most popular in the
area of Fyrish. If you are willing to visit it, check this guide to
visit Fyrish Monument.