Edinburgh Sights: Robert Louis Stevenson

Blog 18 Nov 2015

Heralded as one of Scotland’s greatest authors, Robert Louis Stevenson created some of the most well-known and recognised novels across the world. Born in Edinburgh on November 13th, 1850, his family were renowned as lighthouse designers and as Stevenson grew older it was expected that he would do the same. This was not to be the case, he began to study law, travel across the world and to write fiction where he achieved success and was somewhat of a celebrity at the time.

Having written several fiction and non-fiction books during his lifetime we shall take a look at three of his more famous examples of his fiction.


Not leaving much to surprise the reader with thanks to the title of the novel giving away a pivotal plot point for this tale of intrigue and escapades across the Highlands of Scotland. Our antagonist David Balfour, visits his Uncle at his estate in Edinburgh where eventually his Uncle tries to kill him. This attempt on his life ultimately fails but he is kidnapped by men under his Uncles employ. What follows is an adventure through the Highlands and Islands, with the Jacobite Alan Breck Stewart helping David on his way home.

Treasure Island

Most people of a certain age will have no trouble remembering reading this tale of treasure and pirates when they were a child. Telling the tale of young Jim Hawkins and the adventure that unfolds before him as he searches for buried treasure across the islands of the Caribbean.  This won’t be an easy task for him though as he has competition on reaching his prize from a band of pirates led by the dangerous and charismatic ‘Long John Silver’.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

One of the earliest examples of horror fiction and considered rather frightening at the time of its release, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is still popular today and frequently adapted for both stage and screen. Dr Jekyll is a man with a terrible secret, and an appalling character known as Mr Hyde seems to be staying at his apartment though the two are never seen together. Dr Jekyll’s friend, Gabriel, decides to investigate this mystery with horrifying results.  

There are several monuments to Stevenson through the city of his birth as well as his creations.

The Writers Museum, one minutes’ walk away from our departure point, devotes an entire room to the works of the author.

There is a bronze relief sculpture which is a memorial to Stevenson which is located in St Giles Cathedral.

There is a stone in Princess Street Gardens which states “RLS – A Man of Letters 1850–1894".

Outside Colinton Parish Church is the most result statue dedicated to Stevenson, which was unveiled by Edinburgh-based writer Ian Rankin, the statue depicts Stevenson as a child with his dog.

For fans of ‘Kidnapped’ there is a statue of the main characters David Balfour and Alan Breck Stewart located on Corstorphine Hill.

So for admirers of Robert Louis Stevenson’s work the city of Edinburgh has plenty to offer you, and most of it is located near our Highlands tours departure point… how convenient.