Gladstone’s Land accessibility guide

The newly reimagined visitor experience explores 500 years of trading history in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, in one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile.


Contact for accessibility enquiries: Anna Hughes, Visitor Services Manager


Tel: 0131 226 5856

We have a concessionary rate for disabled visitors and a complimentary ticket policy for personal carers.

At a glance

There is level access to:

  • Café and ice cream parlour
  • Ticket/information desk (main till)
  • Accessible toilet
  • Retail space

The upper storeys of the property (including the visitor experience and holiday flats) are accessed via a steep turnpike staircase and are not accessible for wheelchairs.


  • Some parts of the visitor experience have low lighting.
  • The standard information booklet for visitors is small print. A larger print version is available upon request.


  • The café till has an induction loop.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones are available.


  • All dogs are allowed in the café.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome throughout the property.
  • Water and treats can be provided.

Getting here

Gladstone’s Land
477b Lawnmarket

Parking and public transport

There is no parking available on site, but there is free on-street parking on St Giles’ Street for Blue Badge holders.

The closest Lothian bus stop is on George IV Bridge (0.1 mile). Edinburgh sightseeing buses CS1 and ET1 stop directly in front of the property.

The nearest train station is Waverley.

Entrance and coffee shop

The modern coffee shop and ice cream parlour offers a variety of cakes, ice cream flavours, hot and cold drinks, and seasonal specialities. It was once the main shop area for the merchants of Gladstone’s Land and features interpretation to connect visitors to its past.

Visitors order at the main till and staff will bring food and drinks to their tables.

This is also where tickets to the visitor experience are purchased.

  • There is level access throughout the café.
  • There is an accessible toilet in the back left seating area.
  • From the front area to the left seating area the narrowest point is 110cm.
  • From the left seating area to the right seating area the narrowest point is 83cm.
  • The tables are 68cm high – space for wheelchairs can be provided at most tables.
  • Highchairs for small children are available upon request.
  • There are retail shelves throughout the café space. Staff are available to assist with price enquiries and carrying items.

Sensory experience

  • The till has an induction loop.
  • There is background music playing.
  • Each table features a small cup with spices that were traditionally sold at Gladstone’s Land (clove, nutmeg, ginger, liquorice, star anise, cinnamon).
  • There is a life-size mannequin of an 18th-century noblewoman in the right seating area.

The visitor experience

The visitor experience presents the history of Gladstone’s Land through three different time periods. Each floor is set in a different time period, starting in 1911 on the third floor and finishing on the first floor in 1632. Visitors receive a booklet with basic information. Volunteer room guides provide more insight into the everyday life of former merchants and inhabitants of the Lawnmarket.

During self-guided visiting hours (see property page for times) you can go at your own pace and spend as much or as little time as you’d like in each room. The visitor experience is usually quietest for the first hour of the day.

  • The visitor experience is not accessible for wheelchairs or rollators.
  • Tickets for the visitor experience are purchased at the main café till on the ground floor.
  • The property is accessed via 16 stone steps and the entrance door has a width of 65cm (this can be widened to 80cm).
  • The suggested visitor route is to start at the top (third floor) which is 49 steps from the ground floor. The upper floors are accessible only via a steep turnpike (spiral) staircase (90cm width at its narrowest).
  • There is seating on every floor.
  • Having entered the rooms, all transitions within are level with no steps.
  • There are low doorways throughout the property, specifically between the main chamber and the kitchen on the first floor (177cm height).
  • There are two exits from the first floor: either down the back stairs to the café and ice cream parlour, or down the same external stairs that you entered by.

Sensory experience

  • The visitor experience is fully interactive, and visitors are encouraged to touch items.
  • Sound effects or low ambience music is played on the third floor (distant violin music and the sound of neighbours moving around by the fireplace); on the second floor (quiet sounds of chatter and tea cups clinking by the fireplace);and in the turnpike staircase (loud street noises, dogs barking, shouting voices and sound of footsteps between the first and second floor). Noise-cancelling headphones can be provided – please enquire at the café till.
  • If you let us know the time and date you plan to visit, we can arrange to turn the sound effects off for the duration of your time at the property.
  • Although there are spot lights and other low-level lighting interventions throughout the visitor experience, the majority of the light comes from the windows and so rooms can be quite dark, particularly on overcast days or in the late afternoon during the winter months. The first-floor kitchen is always dimly lit.
  • We can provide torches if this would facilitate a visit – just ask at the café counter.
  • There are subtle scents on most floors: tobacco, paraffin, carbolic soap and musk on the third floor; lavender on the second floor; orange and mint in the main chamber of the first floor; smoke by the fireplace on the first floor; and several spices (including nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon) in the back of the first floor.
  • The well-lit Exhibition Space on the first floor can be used as a quiet room if required. Please approach a member of staff.
  • There are no mannequins in the visitor experience.

Guide last updated: May 2024