The Nelson Monument is in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory and death at the battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.
The monument was erected in 1807 and stands 30 metres high. There are 143 steps to reach the top of the public access and a further 27 that are private. The viewing platform is small, but offers unrivaled views of Edinburgh.
The monument’s up-ended telescope design is topped with a mechanised time-ball sycronised with the one o’ clock gun fired from Edinburgh Castle. The time ball, which is dropped daily, allows ships in Leith Harbour to set their chronometers by it.
Every year on 21st October, the anniversary of Nelson’s death, naval flags are flown from the monument signalling his famous words: ’England expects every man to do his duty”.
If you are visiting Edinburgh, then try to pick a clear a day as possible to get the best views and if you are a resident, then choose a good weather day.
In summer, the sun does not pose too many problems when taking photos as it’s so high in the sky. In winter, the sun can be low and early in the morning it can spoil the views over to Arthur’s Seat and around lunch time, it’s above Edinburgh Castle. You are not able to catch a sunset up Nelson Monument as it’s only open till 6pm in summer and closes at 3pm in winter.
Admission is £5 (June 2016) and is pretty reasonable for the rewarding views when climbing to the top. The stairwell up to the outside viewing area is not cramped like the Scott Monument but has a very narrow exit. We have actually measured it and it’s only 18 inches / 46cm in width. It would be impossible to fit through it front ways for most adults, so make sure you will be able to squeeze through sideways.
Looking west over towards Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town skyline is clearly visible. You can spot the buses on Princes Street and crowds of people.
The view south to Arthur’s Seat is also fabulous and you can also spot many other landmarks such as the Scottish Parliament, Dynamic Earth and Holyrood Palace. Just make sure you bring your camera to the top and a pair of binoculars if you have them.
At the bottom you can even get a free certificate to commemorate your visit.
Opening Times. April to September: Monday to Saturday 10am–7pm , Sunday 12-5pm. October to March: Monday to Saturday 10am–3pm (no sunset shot available) Closed Sundays.
Suitable for disabled? Unfortunately not as there is only stair access. If you can manage to walk up to the entrance, it’s worth looking at the information displays (free of charge).