[ultimate_spacer height="10"]Edinburgh is a historic, picturesque city, so it’s not hard to see why the city’s Old and New towns were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995. Edinburgh has been inhabited for thousands of years, and the history and development of our city is incredible, but just how much do you know about Edinburgh’s architecture? Properties in Edinburgh are known to be safe and robust, with many properties dating back to the 1800s still standing strong today!
So what makes traditional Edinburgh properties so unique?
Old Town – The Stuart Period
Stroll around Edinburgh’s Old Town and you’ll come across medieval cobbled streets, tall Reformation-era buildings separated by steep narrow closes and wynds (lanes and winding streets), hidden courtyards and historic tenements. Here you will find the famous Royal Mile, recently voted the UK’s second prettiest street.
Due to the narrow streets, and the proximity of the city wall, tenements in the 16th century had to be tall and narrow in the overpopulated city – some were even 14 stories high! These were considered the world’s first ‘high rise’ flats.
In the 1800s, many of the Old Town’s tenements were rebuilt – this would have been due to the Great Fire of Edinburgh destroying numerous buildings, or as a result of slums being torn down. Most of the tenements currently standing in the Old Town date back to this time, featuring large rooms and high ceilings.
The Old Town is situated within walking distance to Waverley Station, Princes Street and many of the University of Edinburgh’s buildings and campuses - a fantastic location for both students and professionals, as long as they don’t mind the abundance of tourists the Old Town attracts year-round!
New Town – The Georgian Period
The New Town was constructed between 1767 and 1890, due to the overcrowding in the Old Town, and as a place to house the upper-classes. Here, you’ll find wide, symmetrical streets, neoclassical buildings, green open spaces and gardens, and beautifully preserved Georgian town houses dating back to the 18th century. At the time, the construction of the New Town was the largest planned city development in the world, and it’s widely regarded that it has influenced architecture and development throughout Europe.
Originally created as luxury town houses, the New Town’s magnificent buildings comprised three to four floors above ground level and would be home to wealthy families, with servants’ quarters located in the basements. Nowadays, most of these town houses have been separated into spacious flats. Most of the sandstone properties were designed with beautiful ornate cornices and large airy rooms, and many of the properties still boast their original features today!
Edinburgh’s New Town is popular with both student and professional tenants. As well as being within walking distance to the University of Edinburgh and the city’s financial district, the New Town is a hub for many transport links including buses, trains and trams.
Marchmont – The Victorian Period
Marchmont, separated from the Old Town by the Meadows, was developed to provide middle-class tenements in the 19th century. Property was revolutionised in the Victorian period – homes now featured running water and gas lighting, and large bay windows were common. Similar to Georgian windows, they were sash and case, however, contained much larger panes of glass.
Many households still employed servants during this era, so almost all of the properties comprised four floors, similar to the New Town. Early Victorian tenements found in Marchmont were designed in the Scottish baronial style, featuring pink sandstone and small turrets – many of which are still intact today.
An incredibly popular area for students, Marchmont is situated across the Meadows from the University of Edinburgh, and is also within walking distance to Edinburgh Napier University. Its close proximity to the city centre, as well as the large green spaces on its doorstep and numerous shops, bars and cafes, makes Marchmont a popular place to live.
Did you know the view of Edinburgh Castle from properties situated along Warrender Park Terrace is considered to be one of the best in the city?
At Cullen Property we specialise in sourcing and refurbishing Georgian and Victorian period properties for investors, as we’ve found these are in high demand and are loved by tenants in the city. Edinburgh’s architecture is so diverse, adding to the charm of this historic city – it’s no surprise that people from all over the world come to Edinburgh to live, work and study in this magnificent city!