The upturned telescope was designed by the architect Robert Burn, and was built between 1807 and 1815.
In 1852, a large time ball was introduced, which is lowered as the one o'clock gun is fired from Edinburgh castle each day.
Climb this monument for stunning views over the city!
£5 entry to climb the tower, but the museum on the ground floor is free (although donations are always welcome).
For anyone visiting the Nelson Monument, they will first and foremost want to see the spectacular views from the elevated platform. The platform affords some of the finest panoramic prospects of the city, and on a clear day it is possible to see the new Queensferry Crossing spanning the Forth estuary to the west, and Berwick Law and the Bass Rock to the east. The Kingdom of Fife stretches out to the north, and the Pentland Hills and Scottish Borders to the south.
However, the views are not the only reason to visit. Inside the base of the monument are a series of museum displays, exploring different aspects of the monument’s history. Discover more about the Battle of Trafalgar, and the part that Scots played in it. A beautifully hand-crafted scale model of Nelson’s flagship ‘Victory’ sits alongside a piece of timber reputedly from the ship itself.
A new exhibition reveals the history of astronomy on Calton Hill, as well as the installation of the monument’s famous Time Ball. Visitors can find out why time balls were so crucial for navigation at sea, as well as this time ball’s connection with the one o’clock gun still fired each day from Edinburgh Castle.
A life size carved wooden figure of a sailor using a sextant, from the 19th century, is one of the star objects on view. Other displays investigate the importance of Scotland’s Merchant Navy, as well as the ongoing work of the Northern Lighthouse Board.
Download our comprehensive access guide to find out how you can get to and around the Nelson Monument.
For all accessibility enquiries please contact the venue on:
+44 (0) 131 556 2716
The Nelson Monument has the best panoramic view of all time! Comparable to the exquisite views from other world attractions like the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel tower, etc. You can see Edinburgh Castle to Holyroodhouse, the Old Town, New Town and miles beyond. An exhilarating experience! Springhill, Tennessee