West End, Edinburgh

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West End
Standard Life Building, Lothian Road Edinburgh.jpg
Standard Life Building
Council area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtEH
Dialling code0131
EU ParliamentScotland
List of places
Map of the city, showing New and Old Towns, as well as the West End (in orange)
Typical West End street

The West End (Scottish Gaelic: An Ceann Siar) of Edinburgh, Scotland, forms a large part of the city centre. The West End boasts many of the city's arts venues,[1] such as the Usher Hall, the Filmhouse, the Royal Lyceum and the Traverse Theatre. The Village hosts art festivals and crafts fairs.[2]

The northern half of the West End lies in Edinburgh's World Heritage Site, of which it makes up a fair proportion. As can be inferred by its inclusion in this, this area of the city contains many buildings of great architectural beauty, primarily long rows and crescents of Georgian terraced houses.


In 1615 John Byres the city Treasurer built a new house called Coates Hall to the west of the city. The house had a truly huge estate, stretching to St Cuthbert's Church.[3]

Around 1800 the estate was bought by William Walker who began developing the east section of the estate, adjacent to the then newly built New Town. This included William Street and Walker Street, named after himself. He also developed Melville Street, Atholl Crescent and Coates Crescent.[4]

Walker left the land north and south of his home as garden ground and it remained such until the 1870s. The estate was inherited by his two spinster daughters: Mary and Barbara Walker. They began to sell off the western section of he estate for development around 1860. Devout Episcopalians they gifted their own garden and fully underwrote the entire cost of building an Epicopalian Cathedral as a centrepiece for the whole West End. This begun in 1873 and opened in 1879 and was named St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral. The Walker's funds did not cover the cost of all three spires. The two front spires were not added until 1917.[5]

Although built as a residential district, for most of the 20th century buildings were predominantly in office use.

Retail uses are concentrated on Shandwick Place, West Maitland Street and Queensferry Street where the area abuts the Moray Estate. William Street is the only street which has a continual commercial ground floor of 19th century character.



Haymarket station is in the West End.


The island tram stop at Coates Crescent was originally called 'Shandwick Place' until it was renamed West End - Princes Street at the request of local traders.[6] As this stop sits on a switching point, it can act as an eastern terminus when Princes Street is closed to traffic.

Preceding station   Edinburgh Trams   Following station
Princes Street
towards York Place
  York Place - Edinburgh Airport   Haymarket
towards Airport


The Shandwick Place/ Maitland Street corridor is well-served by Lothian Buses and other operators with destinations outwith Edinburgh.

All buses eastwards go to Princes Street, where there are easy links to the Lothian Road corridor. Westward routes split at Haymarket: either to the Gorgie/Dalry district or westwards to Roseburn, Murrayfield and Corstorphine.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "West End, Edinburgh - Edinburgh Guide".
  2. ^ "Enjoy the Spirit of Christmas in Edinburgh's West End Village Street Market - Edinburgh Guide".
  3. ^ The Closes and Wynds of Edinburgh: The Old Edinburgh Club
  4. ^ Buildongs of Scotland: Edinburgh by Gifford McWilliam and Walker
  5. ^ History of St Marys Episcopal Cathedral
  6. ^ "Trams: Shandwick Place stop renamed Princes Street".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°56′53″N 3°12′52″W / 55.94814°N 3.21453°W / 55.94814; -3.21453