Makars' Court Edinburgh

Image by Fiona Diack

Makars’ Court – Literary history in the stones

Living and working in the centre of Edinburgh I quickly learned short cuts through the closes (the local term for alleyways) to avoid the crowds. Makar’s Court is my favourite.

Makar’s Court is off Lady Stair’s Close between the Royal Mile and The Mound. It’s a huge space that I never expect to come across in the midst of all the buildings. The first thing I always notice in the square is the lamp-post in the middle. It reminds me of Narnia, although it is a different kind of literature that the square celebrates.

Makar is the Scots’ word for poet or skilled writer so the courtyard, outside the Writers’ Museum, celebrates the literary history of Edinburgh. Throughout the courtyard, there are pavement slabs inscribed with quotes from great Scottish writers. Some are more well-known than others, for example, Robert Louis Stevenson. The quotes cover over 600 years of writing and are in English, Gaelic and Scots.

There are new pavement stones regularly added. It’s always fun to have a wander through to see if I can spot a new favourite. My current favourite is “There are no stars so lovely as Edinburgh street-lamps” although maybe Iain Crichton Smith’s “Let our three-voiced country sing in a new world” is the most appropriate for the tri-lingual stones.

Let me know what your favourite is – or if you come across Mr Tumnus!

💚 Like these Edinburgh tips? You'll ❤ our iPhone / Android app!

Details about this spot



Makar's Court, Edinburgh

Opening Times

24 hours daily




Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)