7 Oldest Buildings in Edinburgh

Fitting Scotland Perfectly

7 Oldest Buildings in Edinburgh

7 Oldest Buildings in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is renowned across the world for its incredible history with hundred’s of centuries old buildings lining the cobbled streets of Scotland’s capital city.

Ariel View Of The Oldest Buildings In Edinburgh From Carlton Hill


In fact, the city has one of the highest concentrations of historical architecture in Europe with many buildings dating back well over 600 years.

In you are planning a visit to the city, you are in for a treat, and you are guaranteed to see some pretty incredibly architecture simply strolling around this incredible place.

There are so many special landmarks in Edinburgh that it can be hard to know where to go first, but a list of 7 of Edinburgh’s oldest buildings is a pretty good place to start.


1. St Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh Castle

We might as well start right back at the beginning with what is thought to be Edinburgh’s oldest surviving building in St Margaret’s chapel.

With historians believing the chapel to have been completed all the way back in 1130, there have been numerous refurbishments and changes to the structure over the years, but the fundamental structure remains, having first been built by King David in the honour of his mother Queen Margaret.

Found within Edinburgh Castle itself, St Margaret chapel is not only the oldest building in Edinburgh, but has been right at the heart of power struggles, battles, and wars for nearly nine centuries. The chapel remains in use to this day with small weddings and ceremonies frequently held in this remarkable place.


2. Huntly House, Royal Mile

Build in the 16th century, and named after the Marquis of Huntley who frequented the building in the 17th century, Huntly house is a great place to start if you are looking for a history of Edinburgh.

Not only because it is one of the oldest residential buildings in the city but also because it now houses the museum of Edinburgh.

Whilst you are on the royal mile, why not take a wander down the road and take in John Knox house or Moubray house, two more historical residences that share the overhanging gables found on Huntly house.


3. St Giles Cathedral

First built in the 1100s, St Giles may be unrecognisable today to the small church that was first built, but despite being burned to the ground by the English in the 1300s the cathedral remains one of Edinburgh’s oldest and impressive building.

The cathedral remains a working church and has done so throughout the whole of its history, thriving throughout Scotland’s bloody history and becoming one of the most iconic buildings in the Capital today.

John Knox, leader of the Scottish protestant reformation served as minister at St Giles during the 16th century before briefly fleeing the city during a short period when St Giles became a Roman Catholic church for less than 6 months.


4. Trinity Apse

Found in Chalmers Close, Trinity Apse was first built on the banks of Nor’ Loch in the 15th century.

There is stood until 1840 when the kirk was demolished to make way for Edinburgh Waverly station which was expanding at the time.

By the time the church was rebuilt, many of the existing stones had either been stolen or moved to Calton Hill, but the Apse was rebuilt and can now be found on Chalmers Close, between Jeffrey street and High Street.


5. Canongate Tolbooth

Built in 1591, the Canongate tolbooth has had numerous functions over the years, from a meeting place for merchants, to a prison and courthouse.

The ground floor of the tolbooth has historically been used solely as a prison for lesser offences with the upper floors used for administrative affairs.

Nowadays the building is one of Edinburgh’s most photographed located, home to the People’s Story Museum and a protected A Listed Building.


6. Merchiston tower

Merchiston tower or Merchiston castle was built in the 15th century by then laird of Merchiston Alexander Napier.

It was later home to John Napier, another laird of Merchiston and the inventor of logarithms. Despite being located outside of the old town, Merchiston tower is well worth your time with the tower now serving as the heart of Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston campus.


Advanced Group Edinburgh

As one of the leading double glazing Edinburgh installers, we don’t work on many properties quite as old as those in this list, but we do install windows on many historic building’s across the city, with a selection of tasteful designs that combine more energy efficiency with an appearance that fits perfectly in the historic streets of Scotland’s capital city.

If you are wondering if you need planning permission for windows in Edinburgh, or have any other questions about owning property in the area, our expert team are just a phone call away.


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