Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central Edinburgh, Scotland, and its main shopping street. It is the southernmost street of Edinburgh's New Town, stretching around 1 mile (1.6 km) from Lothian Road in the west to Leith Street in the east. The street is mostly closed to private cars, with public transport given priority. The street has virtually no buildings on the south side, allowing panoramic views of the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle, and the valley between.
Only the east end of the street is open to all traffic. The bulk of the street is limited to buses and taxis only. During 2009 parts of the street were closed to all traffic as part of the Edinburgh Trams construction works.
Several UK high street brands are located along Princes Street. Bhs, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, Topman and Topshop department stores can be found at the west end. Jenners (Now owned by House of Fraser) department store was an Edinburgh institution, surviving the disappearance of many other local department stores, such as Patrick Thompson's.
Princes Street Gardens and south side
The Gardens contain the Ross Bandstand (an open-air theatre), a war memorial to U.S. soldiers of Scottish descent and a floral clock, together with other attractions. Two of the main Scottish art galleries, the Royal Scottish Academy and the National Gallery of Scotland, are located at the foot of The Mound. Further along is the Scott Monument, a huge intricate Gothic monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, the author of the Waverley Novels, after which is named Waverley station, which lies at the east end of the Gardens, its westward lines dividing them. Next to the station on its north side is the former railway hotel, previously known as the North British Hotel, latterly renamed the Balmoral Hotel, and the North Bridge which sails at high level over the station. The hotel has a counterpart at the extreme west end of Princes Street. The Caledonian Hotel, now the Caledonian Hilton, sits at the north end of Lothian Road. This was built by the Caledonian Railway for their Princes Street Station which closed in the 1960s along with the lines it served.
At the west end of Princes Street, St. John's Episcopal Church at the corner of Lothian Road is built at street level above a basement crypt and a small churchyard. In addition, there are several fair trade outlets in this space as part of the church, whilst St Cuthbert's Church stands just to the south of it, in a far larger and older churchyard, west of the gardens.