The New Town sector of Edinburgh is found in the centre of the city and is often considered to be the perfect ideal of city planning and is recognized officially as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its name, the New Town was actually constructed between the years of 1765 and 1850 approximately, and still has most of its neo-classical architecture from its time period.
The main purpose of building the New Town was because of overcrowding in the main section of Edinburgh, which is now called the Old Town. The area is known for its neo-classical architectural building style that at times can be a bit grandiose, complete with tall ceilings and large pillars in front. Most of the residences have now been converted into office spaces and flats as well as some new buildings.
The buildings are all ‘listed’, preserving the sandstone facades and black wrought railings. In between the buildings are usually attractive communal gardens, which add piece to the area even though it is a high traffic residential area. For this reason property values within the area of Edinburgh’ New Town are usually quite high and considered to be upscale accommodations.
The most famous street within the New Town is Princes Street, which faces the Old Town and the Edinburgh Castle from the Nor Loch.
Within the New town are both the Royal Scottish Academy and the National Gallery of Scotland, which are found in the Mound area. Nearby on Queen Street is the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Also located close by are the George Street Assembly Rooms, the Waverley Station and its clock tower, the Balmoral Hotel, and the Scott Monument.
New Town is also the portion of Edinburgh where the main shopping district is located. Most of the chain shops line Princes Street including Jenners department store, which is an institution in the city. Along George Street where the financial centre once boomed there are many bars within the previous banking halls. Nearby on St. Andrew’s Square along the newly developed Multrees Walk are the designer shops and the Harvey Nichols store.
There is also an indoor mall to the east end of the area known as the St. James Centre, which is generally thought of as an intrusion to the classic architecture and is home to a large John Lewis store. Many high street big name stores are found near the Waverly Train Station within the Princes’ Street Mall.