This apartment is situated on Boyd's Entry, off St Mary's Steet, a few metres from the Old Town's main street, the Royal Mile, in the heart of Edinburgh's historic Old Town. St Mary's Street and Jeffrey Street straddle the Royal Mile, the backbone of medieval Edinburgh, which connects Edinburgh Castle at one end with the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Parliament at the other. Edinburgh's main visitor attractions are on your doorstep and the neighbourhood is full of attractive independent shops and restaurants, bars and cafés to suit all budgets, from cheap and cheerful pizzerias to fine dining establishments. The Hub (the official centre for the Edinburgh International Festival) and the Festival Fringe office are on the Royal Mile, and you can easily walk to many of the Festival venues. You are also ideally placed to enjoy the Christmas and Hogmanay/New Year festivities.
The junction of St Mary's Street and the Royal Mile looks across towards Calton Hill and its monuments: Nelson's Monument (from which a time-ball is lowered every day at 1pm as a time signal to ships out on the Firth of Forth), the Observatory and the National Monument, an unfinished replica of the Parthenon. Initiated by Sir Henry Dundas, 18th century bankroller of Edinburgh's Georgian New Town, to embody the city's reputation as the Athens of the North, the National Monument stands as a reminder of the folly of its patron. Dundas ran out of money and abandoned his ambitious plan; the unfinished building is now irreverently known as Edinburgh's Disgrace. There is also an impressive view of St Andrew’s House, one of the finest Art Deco buildings in Scotland. Built in 1939 by Thomas Tait to house the Scottish Office (the Scottish administration of the central UK government), it is now the main office of the Scottish Executive, the Westminster representation to the devolved government of Scotland.
Royal Mile is the combined name for the street formed by Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate. The High Street part ends at the junction of St Mary's Street and Jeffrey Street, where the city's eastern gate, Netherbow Port, once stood. The remaining part of the Royal Mile, the Canongate, was a separate burgh for over 700 years, taking its name from the canons (priests) of Holyrood Abbey. As it was near the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the area developed as the court quarter and many fine residences for aristocratic families were built there. One of these, Queensberry House, now forms part of the Scottish Parliament building. Queensberry House was bought in 1686 by the father of the 2nd Duke of Queensberry, whose eldest son, the mad Lord James Douglas, escaped from confinement one night in 1701 and murdered a kitchen-boy – the very night that his father was signing the Act of Union that dissolved the Scots Parliament and put Scotland under English rule. You can find out more about Edinburgh's grisly past on the guided tours that leave from the Royal Mile. See for example Mercat Tours, Witchery Tours and Mary King's Close.
In the eighteenth century, Boyd's Entry was the site of James Boyd’s Inn, which received a famous visitor, whose stay is commemorated in a plaque on the wall: ‘Boyd’s Inn, at which Dr Samuel Johnson arrived in Edinburgh, 14th August, 1773 on his memorable tour of the Hebrides.’