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Esplanade Traffic Reduction Pilot Starts

3 July 2009

A three-week trial project designed to reduce the traffic on the Edinburgh Castle esplanade and Castlehill is due to start on 6 July.

It aims to create a more pleasant environment for visitors on the approaches to Scotland’s premier paid-for attraction.

Coach movements will be halved with visitors being dropped off on the esplanade but collected from Johnston Terrace.

The trial will also see the introduction of a system allowing tour guides to pre-book and collect tickets for their groups at the botton of the esplanade - saving them on getting their groups into the Castle.

Other changes during the trial include:

  • Reducing Historic Scotland’s vehicle movements on Castlehill and the esplanade between 10am-4.30pm
  • Reducing all but essential car parking on the esplanade.
  • Prohibiting non-essential service vehicles on Castlehill between 10am-4.30pm.

Chris Watkins, Historic Scotland head of major projects, said: “This is a beautiful and historic area of Scotland’s capital city and we want to create the most pleasant possible atmosphere for visitors.

“The pilot scheme, which is the first of three trials that will take place over the next twelve months has been developed after extensive consultation with other groups including the city council and representatives of the travel trade. These trials will help us decide on the best way to achieve this."

“Once the trial is over we will arrange a feedback event where those affected can give us their views in order to help us decide the best way forward.”

The trial aims to improve the Castlehill and the esplanade for pedestrians by:

  • Providing a more leisurely approach to the castle and to the businesses on Castlehill.
  • Reducing vehicle movements in peak periods
  • Cutting congestion
  • Reducing exhaust emissions in the area
  • Addressing potential health and safety issues caused by the narrow footpaths and road
  • Allowing visitors to enjoy the urban landscape of Castlehill.

There will be times during the pilot when vehicle access is further restricted while facilities are installed for this year’s castle concerts and for The Gathering – a centrepiece of the 2009 Year of Homecoming.

Notes for editors:
  • The dates for the concerts and The Gathering are Saturday, 11 July, Thursday, 16 July, and Saturdays, 18 and 25 July.
  • Historic Scotland plans to hold further trials during Easter and Summer 2010.  
  • Historic Scotland has 345 historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:
  • Historic Scotland’s Mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.
  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.

For further information

Rebecca Hamilton
Marketing and Media Manager
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8685 / 07788 923871