250th anniversary of New Town Plan celebrated at Edinburgh Georgian Shadows event

Press release   •   Feb 01, 2017 15:42 GMT

An enchanting event coming to Edinburgh this February will bring the city's Georgian New Town to life, celebrating its 250th birthday and Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. 

Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows will offer a glimpse into the lives of the original residents, as projections and silhouette bring the Georgians back to life. The event forms a trail through the original Georgian New Town, from St Andrew Square to Charlotte Square. Visitors can admire the city's architectural treasures and look out for the Georgian characters as they explore.

In St Andrew Square a lumière display will tell the story of the New Town plan with a stunning digital fly-through recreating how it looked when it was first built. Edinburgh’sGeorgian Shadows’ architectural lighting will also see six of the city’s most iconic historical buildings come to life in this creative event telling the story of Edinburgh’s influential past.

Launching on 23 February and running until 26 March 2017, the event will officially kick off the events commemorating the 250th anniversary of James Craig’s plan for the New Town and will be a fascinating addition to the dark winter nights. Edinburgh’s classically inspired Georgian New Town is considered a masterpiece of city planning, and together with the Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Complementing the buildings used, the visual stories will show the city’s architectural highlights often missed by day and introduce celebrated characters like Sir Walter Scott and James Craig – the 28-year old, visionary architect behind the New Town, glimpsed with his faithful dog.

Visual displays will stretch through Edinburgh’s New Town with each location telling a different story. In St Andrew Square the visual lumière will give a dusk-time glimpse on some of the earliest residents of Georgian Edinburgh, the Melville Monument adding to the story with a recreated “fly-through” of the New Town Plan, while at the Assembly Rooms (celebrating its 230th birthday) visitors will peek into the derrying-do at Georgian parties

Visitors can enjoy Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows at six feature buildings including Dundas House on St Andrew Square, the Assembly Rooms on George Street, General Register House on Princes Street, Sir Walter Scott’s home at 39 Castle Street and Bute House on Charlotte Square.

The visitor experience is set to boost Edinburgh’s tourism activity as a flagship event of the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology 2017.

Robin Worsnop, Chair of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group said:

“ETAG is delighted to be supporting this new event and in doing so aims to animate the city in its quietest months, creating yet more reasons to visit our wonderful city. Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows celebrates Edinburgh’s New Town in its 250th year and Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology. Through the event we want to enrich our visitors’ experience by showcasing the history of our New Town in a unique and different way. We hope that visitors will enjoy Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows and through it, learn more about the story of Edinburgh’s New Town history and heritage.”

Roddy Smith, Chief Executive of Essential Edinburgh, added:

“We are delighted to be supporting this initiative, which promises to be both innovative and a wonderful chance to go back in time. It’s something that will appeal to local people and visitors alike, as they get a chance to sample the unique atmosphere of Edinburgh’s world-renowned city centre New Town in a truly novel way.”

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director said:

“2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a range of exciting experiences and events in celebration of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”

“Scotland’s history & heritage is defined by its people, both past & present, so it is fitting that Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows will commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Craig’s plan for the New Town, and indeed many of the wonderfully elegant buildings that still continue to hold a place in the heart of both locals and visitors to Edinburgh.”

Full information about Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows will be available on in the run up the event. 

The event is supported by City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Scottish Enterprise and Essential Edinburgh.

For more information, contact Yasmin Ahmad on email at or call 0141 648 9610.

Listing information:

What: Edinburgh Georgian Shadows

Where: Across Edinburgh’s New Town

When: Daily, from 23 February – 26 March 2017

Cost: Free

Time: from 5.30 to 8.30 pm. Each phase of lighting runs for 2 or 3 minutes and will operate continuously for the 3 hours, with a short pause between phases.


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    2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
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