Edinburgh is special. The City has a unique appeal and a distinctive character which owes a great deal to its visual features, its architectural heritage and the unique form of its historic environment.
Historic buildings and conservation areas are a vital part of this character. The quality, interest and number of these in Edinburgh reflects its long history.
Listed Buildings are protected buildings, defined as Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, and are divided into 3 categories, A, B and C.
Listed buildings can be as large as the Forth Rail Bridge or as small as the statue to Greyfriars Bobby.
There are 4,500 listed buildings in the City of Edinburgh. Many are tenement blocks or terraces with many individual houses. If you add them up there are approximately 22,000 separately owned properties which are Listed, the largest number in any area of Britain.
If you are proposing to demolish, alter or extend your listed building, you may need listed building consent in addition to other consents. BE SURE. It is always best to write to us before proceeding with any work on a listed building.
You can find out more about Listed Buildings by viewing Historic Scotland's booklet Scotland's Listed Buildings (PDF,1.1MB).
Conservation Areas are Areas of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
There are 38 conservation areas in Edinburgh; including the medieval Old Town, the Georgian New Town, Victorian suburbs and former villages.
The Council has a duty to protect and enhance these areas and additional rules exist to govern building and restoration work. BE SURE. It is always best to write to us before proceeding with any work in a conservation area.
The primary aim of the Council's conservation policies is to preserve the historic buildings and special character of the city and to ensure that changes, whether large or small, complement and add to its character. A further objective is to promote new architecture of the highest quality.
Conservation Area Character Appraisals define the key elements, essential features and special qualities of architectural and historic interest for each of the areas. The appraisals also reinforce the Council’s policy objectives of promoting, protecting and enhancing the environment.
Find out more about Character Appraisals
Edinburgh's international importance as a historic city was recognised in December 1995, when the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town were added to UNESCO'S List of World Heritage Sites. This represents international recognition that the historic centre of Edinburgh is of outstanding universal value and exceptional interest.
No. A World Heritage Site does not enjoy additional protection.
Find out more from the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust website.
If you have any questions about listed buildings or conservation areas, please contact the Planning Help Desk on 0131 529 3596, or write to CEC City Development Office, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG. Alternatively you can email the Planning Help Desk.
View Historic Scotland’s website.
You can find out if your building is a listed building or in a conservation area by following these instructions:
Click here to access the Planning & Building Control Portal home page.
Click View Planning Applications Online.
Click on Property Search (left of page).
Property Search Page – Select the Street Group then enter the Street Name and click Search.
Matching Properties Page – Search for required address and click on View Details of required property.
Selected Property – Click on Constraints (towards top of page).
You can view Conservation Areas by clicking on the PDF links below. If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it for free from Adobe.
Coltbridge and Wester Coates (pdf,919kb)
Craiglockhart Hills (pdf,651kb)
Craigmillar Park (pdf,803kb)
Juniper Green (pdf,534kb)
Morton Main (pdf,335kb)
New Town (pdf,653kb)
Old Town (pdf,581kb)
South Side (pdf,548kb)
Thistle Foundation Village (pdf,513kb)
Victoria Park (pdf,422kb)
Waverley Park (pdf,524kb)
West End (pdf,503kb)
West Murrayfield (pdf,772kb)
World Heritage Site (pdf,652kb)