Nelson Monument

The Nelson Monument was built in memory of Admiral Lord Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Weather permitting, the Trafalgar flag signal 'England expects that every man will do his duty' is still flown on Trafalgar Day (21 October).

Looking like a tall stone telescope, the Nelson Monument contains a time ball which is still dropped at 1 o’clock daily. You get a wonderful view of the City and the sea from the top of the building.

Images of and from the Nelson Monument can be found on Capital Collections and a new exhibition has been curated just in time for the monument's 200th anniversary.

During adverse weather conditions (high winds especially) please check our Twitter feed @EdinCulture before travelling as the monument may be closed at short notice for safety reasons.

Astronomy on Calton Hill

A talk by Bruce Vickery

Every Saturday throughout July and August; 2.30pm - 3.30pm
Have you ever wondered why there is an Astronomical Observatory on Calton Hill? And what was being done there? This talk seeks to answer these questions and to introduce some of the individuals who fashioned the history.
This talk is free, though standard £5 entry charge to Nelson Monument applies.


The view from the top of Nelson Monument


Find out more about Nelson Monument and what you will see when you visit.

The time ball at the top of the Nelson Monument


Find out more about the time ball.

The time ball after removal from the Nelson Monument for restoration

Visitor Information

Details of opening hours and how to find us.

Cannon sitting below the Nelson Monument


Find out about our Outreach service for schools and community groups



Find out about the exhibition at the Nelson Monument.

RLS - vile creation

Did you Know?

that Robert Louis Stevenson described the Nelson Monument as 'among the vilest of men's handiworks'?

Did you Know?

that Robert Louis Stevenson described the Nelson Monument as 'among the vilest of men's handiworks'?

Stevenson found the comparisons to a butter churn and a telescope to be apt. However, he also said that Calton Hill provides one of the best views in Edinburgh as from its summit you can see both the Castle and Arthur's Seat.