The largest monument ever built to a writer, this imposing Gothic spire, built in 1840, commemorates celebrated Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott. It’s easy to spot it looming from the centre of Princes Street, looking almost out of place amongst its neighbouring buildings.
The tower, built around a marble statue of Scott, can be found in the Princes Street Gardens. At £5, the admission fee may seem a bit steep, but climbing the monument itself gives an entirely new meaning to the word. The 287 steps winding around the tower get increasingly narrow – you can just about squeeze through the final staircase, but you don’t want to bump into someone coming the other way!
Four floors offer welcome breaks between the spiralling stairs, with a small museum room on the first floor offering some information about Scott’s legacy. Beneath stained-glass windows, it feels almost like a shrine to Scott himself.
When you eventually get to the top, the literally dizzying heights are well worth the money, the tight squeezes, and the climbing in circles. You’ll be rewarded with unparalleled vistas across all of Edinburgh’s major landmarks, stretching all the way out to the sea.