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Royal Circus Gardens (North)

Door open days


The Circus was laid out by William Playfair in 1823 and took five years to build. Twelve houses and two tenement blocks make up the north side of the Circus. These grand houses had private rear gardens but the fashion of the time was to incorporate a communal ‘ornamental pleasure ground’. The upkeep of these gardens is enshrined in the ownership of a property on Royal Circus. In 1879 the gardens were almost handed back to the council on a 20 year lease as they were in such bad condition. Thanks to a deputation headed by Professor Sir Henry Littlejohn (1828-1924) Edinburgh’s first Medical Officer Of Health who lived at 24 Royal Circus (and inspiration for Sherlock Homes) the gardens were again brought back to an acceptable standard. The railings were removed during the war but were replaced in the original design in 1975 with help from the New Town Conservation Committee. The arch was replaced in the1990’s and modelled on the cast iron gateway at Drummond Place.

Key Information

ACTIVITIES: information leaflets/notes.

Where to find us

  • EH3 6SS