The Scott Monument honours and celebrates the life of the great Scottish novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott. With its ornate Gothic spires rising high above Princes Street Gardens for all to see, the monument is the largest in the world to be devoted to a writer. Visitors are welcome to climb the 287 steps to the top for gorgeous views of Edinburgh city and surrounding countryside.
Following Scott’s death in 1832, it was decided that a monument should be erected in memory of this beloved figure in national literary history, prompting an architectural competition to be launched in 1836.
Self-taught architect George Meikle Kemp emerged as the winner. The monument’s foundation stone was laid on 15 August 1840 (Scott’s birthday), and it was inaugurated six years later again on Scott's birthday.
Adorning the 61-metre monument are 64 character statues drawn from Scott’s historical novels. The towering structure also features four levels which can be ascended via a spiral staircase, where visitors will be rewarded with spectacular views over the city below – an excellent journey to undertake if you are not afraid of heights. Situated at the base of the monument is a large statue of the man himself and his faithful dog, Maida, carved from Italian Carrara marble.
Entry to the monument is about $8 and audio information is available in several languages. The Scott Memorial is located in the city centre at East Princes Street Gardens, just 300 metres from the main train station of Waverley (which was named after Scott’s novel). Nearby on The Mound is another popular arts and cultural attraction, the Scottish National Gallery, which boasts one world's finest art collections.