Also known as New Parliament House, The Old Royal High School is a historic building and a prominent landmark of the city located on Calton Hill. Originally designed by Scottish architect Thomas Hamilton, it was completed in 1829 and holds significant cultural and architectural importance.
Considered the best example and one of the most striking Neoclassical buildings of the city, the venue and particularly its Grand Hall, boast ornate vaulted ceilings, gilded columns and crafted wood features, characterized by Greek and Roman influences. Modelled on the Temple of Hephaestus, you can reach the beautiful building that was constructed for the use of the city’s Royal High School by bus and see for yourself the grandeur of Edinburgh’s prime example of architectural heritage.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about Old Royal High School
1. The 19th-century building was constructed for the historic Royal High School.
Founded in 1128, the Royal High School is one of the oldest schools in Scotland. It has had many homes throughout the years, including the Regent Road building from 1829 till 1968, educating generations of students. The school relocated to larger modern premises at Barnton in 1968 leaving the building vacant.
2. There has been ongoing—and often controversial—public debate about the use of the historic building.
Over the years, Old Royal High School has been the subject of various proposals for repurposing. In the 1970s, it was considered as a potential home for the Scottish Parliament, but the proposal was rejected for the parliament building at Holyrood. Other proposals have included converting it into a luxury hotel or an arts and cultural center.
3. The Old Royal High School is a Grade A listed landmark.
In recognition of its architectural and historical significance, the Old Royal High School was designated as a Category A listed building by Historic Environment Scotland. This listing affords it legal protection, ensuring that any proposed changes to the building must adhere to strict planning regulations.
What can you do at Old Royal High School?
After a whirlwind of proposals and never-ending public debate, a new use has finally been found for the impressive building. The Old Royal High School will now be used by St Mary’s Music School and the National Music Academy, and is set to host various musical events.
There are few other venues as unique that brim with history as The Old Royal High School. The gorgeous neoclassical building with its stunning Grand Hall is sure to impress you.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Grade A listed building has been one of Edinburgh’s breathtaking Candlelight concert venues celebrating iconic tunes by timeless composers and contemporary artists or magical scores from your favourite films. Listening to dazzling renditions of iconic songs in an impressive architectural feat while hundreds of flickering candles illuminate the building’s Grand Hall is a wonderful experience that really can’t be beat.