West Bow Attractions


West Bow in Grassmarket Edinburgh has been nicknamed Diagon Alley because of similarities with the street in Harry Potter, with Witches, warlocks and demons, magic and intrigue. accommodation, shops, restaurants, bars, a street that joins the old town with the new and has secret steps that take you to Edinburgh Castlehill. 

West Bow from Grassmarket Edinburgh
Old West Bow now Upper Bow looking down from Castlehill Edinburgh

West Bow

Attractions Edinburgh

The West Bow Edinburgh is a street with retail stores, pubs, night clubs and restaurants, starting from the east end of the Grassmarket and winding up to George IV Bridge. There are steps on the north side that connect to Castlehill and the Royal Mile. Victoria Street is a continuation of the West Bow which was created circa 1835 with demolition of many houses. The West Bow previously before George IV Bridge was built a Z shape narrow Wynd that connected the Grassmarket with Castlehill and the Lawnmarket. (More Harry Potter) Now the connection to Castlehill is steps that take you to the now named Upper Bow and Victoria Terrace a balcony walkway. The West Bow was extended by Victoria Street being a continuation of the West Bow to join George IV Bridge with the Grassmarket.

West Bow and Victoria Street Edinburgh looking up from Grassmarket.
West Bow steps to Upper Bow and Castlehill Edinburgh

West Bow


Grassmarket Edinburgh

West Bow or Bowfoot Well was erected in 1674. The West Bow is a continuation of Victoria Street at the east end of the Grassmarket. This was the first well head built to supply water to the Grassmarket from the reservoir at Castle Hill. Until 1820 these square stone well heads were the only way in which the thousands of people of Edinburgh could access drinking water. The reservoir was filled by the springs from the Pentland hills.

West Bow Wellhead looking down the Grassmarket Edinburgh.
West Bow Wellhead at foot of West Bow at Grassmarket Edinburgh

West Bow 

Wellhead Plate

The inscription reads; 

The Bow Well stonework was restored in 2008 as part of the 12 monuments restoration

project, a partnership between

The City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh World Heritage.

In 1674 Lord Provost Sir Andrew Ramsay instigated Edinburgh's firsts Piped Water supply.

Robert Mylne, the king's master mason

built the well, supervised by Sir William Bruce.

The surveyor was George Sinclair and

Peter Brauss a Dutch engineer, made the lead pipe work.

The Old City Coat of Arms motto


means; Labour in vain without the lord'.

On the other side


means, 'Honour is acquired by virtue'.

West Bow Plaque West Bow Grassmarket Edinburgh

West Bow 

Major Thomas Weir

The West Bow had many well-known residents, one of which was a Major Thomas Weir born circa 1600 -1670

 (Head of Edinburgh’s Town Guard) who everyone thought was a wizard and practices the Dark arts. He was burned at Greenside and many were convinced he haunted the West Bow. There were many claims of sightings which have been written about.

His house was left vacant for many years and when an old soldier and his wife took up residence on the first night they awoke to the sight of a ghostly figure and left the property the next day, the house lay empty for circa 50 years before it was demolished. Major Weir’s Land were the houses on the east side of the West bow.

Where Major Weir's Land was in West Bow Edinburgh

West Bow

Murder and Sorcery 

Lord Ruthven also was a resident of the West Bow, known as the man who was first to stab David Rizzio, Mary Queen of Scots secretary, before others joined in and Lord Darnley, Mary Queen of Scots husband dealt the final blow. This took place in the Palace of Holyrood House on the 9th of March 1566. More recently the West Bow has been linked with J K Rowling’s Harry Potter. With the old stories of the wizard the winding narrow road with high tenements the look of Daigon Alley with the Harry Potter shop and Witchery Tours.  

West Bow West side Down to Grassmarket Edinburgh

West Bow

Old and New Map

The West Bow was changed from a narrow winding road to a Street that connects the Old town of Edinburgh with the new Town street on the southside of the Royal Mile. From the Grassmarket the West Bow  went up a steep hill turned right and then up and left ending at the foot of Castlehill. The New layout took the West Bow from the Grassmarket turning right and continuing up the new section which is Victoria Street and ends at George IV Bridge named in honour of King George IV when he visited Edinburgh and Scotland the first monarch since 1746 when the English defeated Bonny Prince Charlie and his army at Culloden. 

West Bow

Old Doorway

Old Door entrance to building with inscription that reads; God for all his gifts 1616. This is an old entrance to the corner bulding of the West Bow and Grassmarket. Now a Hotel. Look u at the windows to see more old parts of the building. 

West Bow Doorway 1616.
Edinburgh Coat of Arms.


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About East Lothian Attractions

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Established  16 / 03 /2017

Edinburgh Coat of Arms.