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Gladstone's Land, Edinburgh

4.1
Mary Queen of Scots has irrevocably changed Scotland forever and her son, King James VI, is now on the throne. The country is experiencing a magnificent Renaissance as Scotland emerges from the turbulent 1500s.

Step back into a colourful and exciting world, where the wealthy and privileged live side by side with the poor, in unfathomably cramped living conditions. Accused witches are being rounded up and drowned in the nearby Nor Loch; hangings and beheadings are a regular occurrence on the Royal Mile; and pigs roam freely, scavenging from the filth ridden street. Wealthy ladies wear clothing of fine imported silks in a beautiful array of colours and wear special over shoes to elevate their skirts out of the muck! They tie a chicken bone to their ankle to encourage the fleas away from their head when they visit the Assembly rooms looking for a husband. People rarely bathed; living and sleeping in the same underclothes they were sewn into each year.

At the beginning of the 1600s, Thomas and Bessie Gledstanes, a wealthy business man and his wife, purchase 477 Lawnmarket. A typical Royal Mile building, it towered seven stories high and stood just a stone's throw from the Castle. They rent out the basement as a Tavern, the ground floors to merchants, the coveted first floor to the wealthiest of Edinburgh's elite and the subsequent floors to the less well off. They decorate the main rooms in the height of fashionable interiors – luscious tapestries on the walls and stunning hand–painted ceilings depicting exotic fruit, roses, Greek pillars, an array of birds and and, best of all, a monkey!

Discover the highs and lows of one of the busiest streets in the world, experiencing how people lived day to day through this enigmatic and atmospheric property. Learn about this magnificent period through dramatic storytelling and experience the awe-inspiring technicolour interiors. Let yourself be immersed in Thomas and Bessie's world and you will have discovered the real Royal Mile.
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Gladstone's Land Reviews
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525 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • Just overlooking the Royal Mile this house features home lychee and bourgeois furniture between 1500 and 1700. Really very interesting, the kitchen and the desk (the cabinet is full of secret compartments, shown by the very kind guide) especially. A slightly small environment (the area you can visit is on one floor, it would be nice to visit the house in all its height) but still interesting. Beautiful view of the Writers Museum from the windows of the house.
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  • The building outside is a beauty and the visit was very enjoyable. The gift shop is very detailed.
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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.
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