Gladstone’s Land

477B Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2NT, UK

One of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile, Gladstone’s Land stands as a tribute to tenement life in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It was once owned by merchant Thomas Gladstone, who extended and remodeled it to include opulently decorated apartments, attracting wealthy tenants like Lord Crichton and the minister of St Giles’ Cathedral. By the mid-1800s, however, only the city’s poorest residents remained in the Old Town, and the building fell into disrepair. It was rescued from demolition in 1934 by the National Trust for Scotland and today serves as a tourist attraction where visitors can learn about the fascinating—and sometimes scandalous—lives of the people who lived on property. Guests can also view rare, hand-painted Renaissance interiors dating from the 1620s; seek shelter under Edinburgh’s only surviving 17th-century arched store frontage (designed to protect shoppers from the weather); and admire the gilded bird of prey that hangs outside the house.

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