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Edinburgh & The Lothians

Gladstone’s Land

One of the oldest buildings on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile boasts fascinating hand-painted Renaissance interiors
Gladstone’s Land exterior wall close up of golden sculpture of a bird of prey clutching a rodent
  • Explore one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile, home to wealthy residential and commercial tenants during its heyday.

  • Learn about the fascinating – and sometimes scandalous – lives of the people who lived in the property.

  • View rare hand-painted Renaissance interiors dating from the 1620s.

  • Shelter under Edinburgh’s only surviving 17th-century arched shop frontage, designed to protect shoppers from the weather.

  • Spot the gilded bird of prey that hangs outside the house.

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Entry prices

One adult family
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At all Trust places, admission is free for members.

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About this place

Just a stone’s throw from the castle, this 500-year-old building is a towering testament to tenement life in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It was once owned by merchant Thomas Gladstone, who extended and remodelled the building to create opulently decorated apartments. Gladstone attracted wealthy tenants including William Struther, Minister of St Giles’ Cathedral, and Lord Crichton, as well as the high-end grocer John Riddoch, who traded from the ground floor.

By the mid-1800s, only the poorest of the city’s inhabitants remained in the Old Town and this once luxurious tenement fell into disrepair. Gladstone’s Land was one of the first buildings that the National Trust for Scotland acquired, rescuing it from demolition in 1934.

Today, Gladstone’s Land shows how the wealthy went about their lives at a time when the cramped Lawnmarket was at the heart of one of the fastest-growing and most influential cities in the world.

Our accreditations and awards

  • Visitor 4 Star Award
  • Green Tourism Gold Award