Scott Monument is a massive tower built in honour of Sir Walter Scott, a Scottish author known for the 'Waverley' novels, 'The Lady of the Lake' and others. The tower reaches about 61 metres in height and was crafted using Binny sandstone from quarries in West Lothian near Ecclesmachan. The structure sports pristine Victorian Gothic architecture with imposing spires and intricate detailing.

    You can visit this monument and climb to its peak on a series of spiral staircases. To reach the panoramic views at the summit, you'll have to climb 287 stairs. Once you reach that viewpoint, you'll be able to see virtually all of central Edinburgh and its surroundings, including Old Town. Even if you don't make the climb, you can stand in awe of the eerie, yet alluring blackish colouring of this massive monument.

    Scott Monument in Edinburgh - one of the highlights of 10 Best Things to Do in Edinburgh (Read all about Edinburgh here)

    Scott Monument highlights

    Scott Monument is impressive from a distance, but as you approach, you'll notice the details that truly set it apart from other monuments in the UK. On the monument are 68 unique statues, although 4 of them aren't visible from the ground. The remaining statues are located above the final viewing gallery. Most of the statues depict characters from Sir Walter Scott stories.

    In addition to the character statues, you'll find 16 heads depicting other Scottish poets and writers, including Sir David Lindsay, James Beattie, Tobias, Smollet, Lord Byron and Mary, Queen of Scots. These can be found on the lower faces at the top of the lower pilasters. Finally, you'll be able to see 8 kneeling Druid figures supporting the final viewing gallery, as well as a statue of Scott with his dog.

    Scott Monument history

    The Scott Monument dates back to just a few years after Sir Walter Scott's death when the foundation stone was laid in 1840. After 4 years, construction was finally finished, and the monument was inaugurated 2 years after that. Since then, it has stood tall in Edinburgh and delighted visitors from all across the world.

    Famous Scottish sculptors like John Rhind, William Brodie, David Watson Stevenson and Amelia Robertson Hill contributed to the monument's construction, with a special focus on the miniature statues included within the monument. The monument underwent a restoration in the early 1990s, and it was equipped with an LED lighting system in 2016.

    Good to know when visiting Scott Monument

    At the main entrance of Scott Monument, you'll find 1 step to conquer without any lift or ramp as an alternative. As you climb to the summit, you'll find 4 levels in the monument where you can take a break.

    Climbing up the monument can be quite challenging for some. If you have trouble climbing steps or are claustrophobic, then you may want to consider viewing the monument from the ground. As you get closer to the summit, the walls become narrower and can feel as if they're pressing in on you. Once you reach the top, however, the panoramic views from the summit are breathtaking, making the whole ordeal well worth the effort.

    Scott Monument in Edinburgh

    Location: E Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1315 294068

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