(n.) A close is a narrow alleyway or passage between buildings, often leading to a courtyard.
Edinburgh is filled with secret alleyways and closes off the main street, locals expertly dart through them on their morning commute through the city, while tourists nervously stand at the entrance with their maps deciding if they want to venture down the unknown passages.
Lady Stairs Close, possibly the most well known of the Royal Mile’s 80+ closes, it has a dark little alley and slabs filled with famous quotes that leads you down to one of the most outstanding buildings in the city, Lady Stairs House on Makers Close.
Originally known as Lady Grey’s House, it was built by a successful city merchant in 1622, Sir William Gray of Pittendrum. He passed in 1648 and the building continued its name, until it was bought by Elizabeth, Dowager Countess of Stair, and it then became known as it is today: Lady Stairs Close.
It looks like something taken out of a fairy tale, the stone work is exquisite and how can you not fall in love with a turret that also has such a dreamy balcony? I can only imagine the stories that this building has and will continue to inspire. You would never believe it was almost demolished in the 1890’s but was saved by Lord Rosebery in 1893, some parts were demolished leaving what we see of the building today, before being gifted to the city in 1907 and becoming the Writers Museum.
It’s also our kids favourite spot in the city to stop for a hot chocolate and a little run around. It’s a secluded little spot, nestled between two busy streets – The Royal Mile and the Mound – with barely any footfall traffic, so is pretty perfect for a quiet moment in a busy city!
It’s a must stop for any literacy lover, you can visit the Writers Museum for free and see the incredible works of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stephenson and Robert Burns. There are some iconic objects on show at the museum too, including the printing press used for Sir Walter Scotts novels, Robert Burns writing desk and a wardrobe, belonging to Robert Louis Stevenson, made by the infamous Deacon Brodie, who was said to be Stevenson’s inspiration for Dr Jekyll & Hyde. It will never not be an inspiring building to shoot, I always find something new about it to love.
Have fun planning your visit!
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