Trip Planner:   Europe  /  UK  /  Scotland  /  Edinburgh  /  Gladstone's Land

Gladstone's Land, Edinburgh

4.1
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Gladstone's Land is a surviving 17th-century high-tenement house situated in the Old Town of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. It has been restored and furnished by the National Trust for Scotland, and is operated as a popular tourist attraction.

The "Land" (sited at 481 and 483 Lawnmarket) was originally built in 1550, but was bought and redeveloped in 1617 by a prosperous Edinburgh merchant and burgess, Thomas Gledstanes, and his wife, Bessie Cunningham. The work was completed in 1620. Its prominent siting (on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood) and the extent of its accommodation mark out the affluence of its mercantile owner. However, not only did Gledstanes reside there, he let out parts of the building to an assortment of tenants of different social classes (another merchant, a minister, a knight, and a guild officer). Thus the restored building allows an insight into varieties of Edinburgh life of the period. The cramped conditions of the Old Town, and the physical size of the lot, meant that the house could only be extended in depth or in height. As a result, the house is six storeys tall.
In 1934, the building was condemned and scheduled for demolition, until it was rescued by the National Trust for Scotland. Under the auspices of the Trust, restoration of the building was carried out by the architect, Sir Frank Mears, in consultation with the Ancient Monuments Department of the Ministry of Works in Edinburgh. Original renaissance painted ceilings were uncovered in the process. Today the restored premises offer a glimpse of 17th-century life, with open fires, lack of running water, and period decoration and furniture. At ground level, there is an arcade frontage and reconstructed shop booth, complete with replicas of 17th-century wares. This would originally have provided shelter for the merchant's customers. On the left of the building, a curved stone forestair with iron railings leads from the street to a door at 1st floor level.

The sign above the entrance to the building displays the date 1617 and a gilt-copper hawk with outstretched wings. Although not an original feature, the significance of this is that the name "Gledstanes" is derived from the Scots word "gled" meaning a kite or hawk.
By the late-18th century, Edinburgh's Old Town was no longer a fashionable address. Increasing pressures from population growth encouraged the flight of the affluent from cramped conditions to the developing New Town. Today, visitors to the city can contrast Gladstone's Land to the Trust's restored example of a New Town residence, The Georgian House, at No. 7 Charlotte Square.
Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Gladstone's Land by using our Edinburgh vacation maker tool.
Source
Create an itinerary including Gladstone's Land
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Gladstone's Land reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
535 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • Really great little place. The house is amazing and fascinating.You have to be able to climb a few narrow stairs to see the rooms. It was interesting going through the rooms and there is a lot of...  more »
  • I was happy no reservation was needed and I just paid my 7 Euros and walked in. It was interesting going through the rooms and there is a lot of fascinating info on laminated sheets in every room. A.....  more »
Google
  • We visited without a tour (sadly none was available that day). You have to be able to climb a few narrow stairs to see the rooms. Upstairs a very friendly young woman answered all our questions and was really knowledgeable about historical questions, which gave us excellent impression of the life then. If you wish you can dress in costumes while you walk around the museum. On the ground floor is a nice gift shop where you can find pretty candles, jewellery, cosmetics, scarfs, books and decorative stuff (also outlander merchandise) and thereby support the National Trust for Scotland with a little shopping.
  • Intimate setting and super informativeabout daily life in historic Edinburgh. Super friendly and enthusiastic volunteers. Also a nice stop with well curated local products. Also affordable.
  • Build a plan

    Tell us where and when you
    want to go, we will build
    the best sightseeing itinerary
  • Refine it

    You have complete flexibility on your destinations and itinerary
  • Book as a package

    Use our travel agents to get
    package savings and hassle free booking
  • Enjoy your trip!

    Enjoy our 24x7
    on-trip assistance

Popular things to do in Edinburgh

See all ›
4.4
Duration: 3 hours
4.5
Duration: 3 hours
4.7
Duration: 2 hours
4.9
Duration: 2h 30 min

Museums in Edinburgh

See all ›
4.7
Duration: 3 hours
4.6
Duration: 2h 30 min
4.7
Duration: 2 hours
5.0
Duration: 1h 30 min

Historic Sites in Edinburgh

See all ›
4.1
Duration: 1 hour
4.5
Duration: 1h 30 min
4.5
Duration: 1 hour
5.0
Duration: 2 hours

Side trips from Edinburgh

4.7
Duration: 2h 30 min
5.0
Duration: 2h 30 min

Hidden gems in Edinburgh

5.0
Duration: 2 hours
4.8
Duration: 1h 30 min
4.9
Duration: 1h 30 min
4.7
Duration: 1h 30 min

Nearby attractions in Edinburgh

4.8
Duration: 1h 30 min
4.8
Duration: 2h 30 min
4.8
Duration: 1h 30 min
5.0
Duration: 2h 30 min
4.8
Duration: 2h 30 min
4.7
Duration: 1h 30 min
4.0
Duration: 1h 30 min

Plans to Gladstone's Land by other users

See more plans