Calton Hill

An unfinished Acropolis and Celtic fertility festivals - it all happens on Calton Hill!


With some of the best views over Edinburgh city and the Firth of Forth, Calton Hill stands proudly above the city centre, with an Athenian Acropolis dominating the skyline.

The Acropolis style structure is actually unfinished, it was commissioned in 1816 following Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Originally designed as a replica of the Parthenon in Athens and as a memorial to those lost in the wars. However, funds depleted and the monument never reached completion.

Nowadays, the monument is a popular city landmark, a quiet place to sit and reflect overlooking the cityscape. Panoramic views stretch all across Princes Street and the new town over to Edinburgh Castle and behind to Arthur’s seat in Holyrood Park– if you are a keen photographer the location is perfect for you to gain some spectacular shots.

For stargazers, the Old Observatory house and the City Observatory have exhibitions and night sky star parties on the hill throughout the year.

On the last night of April and first day of May, the Beltane Fire Festival takes place here, an ancient Celtic fertility festival which is still popular today. The fire festival is not for the faint hearted as it includes a May Queen, Green man and some uninhibited and possibly naked behaviour!

During the month of August and during Hogmanay celebrations, Calton Hill has fabulous views of the festival fireworks.

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