Things to do in
Canongate District

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Canongate District: Our most recommended tours and activities

City Sightseeing Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

1. City Sightseeing Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Tour Edinburgh to your own schedule on the open-top sightseeing bus, and enjoy the onboard commentary that describes the history behind the lively city. Compare Edinburgh's Old Town, where families lived in cramped conditions and rubbish was thrown out of the windows, to the elegant Georgian New Town, with its 3 main streets and square at either end. Hear about the hangings that took place in the Grassmarket as you marvel at the impenetrable Castle Rock above you, and hear about historic attempts to capture Edinburgh Castle. Drive along the Royal Mile, which joins Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Use the 24-hour ticket to hop on and off as you please. With great visitor attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget, Edinburgh's got it all! Buses run every 30 minutes, making the following loop: Tour Stops: 1. St Andrew Square - Northside 2. Lothian Road - Waldorf Astoria 3. Grassmarket 4. Lauriston Place 5. Johnstone Terrace - Edinburgh Castle, The Scottish Whiskey Experience 6. Lawnmarket - Gladstone's End, The Real Mary King's Close 7. Chambers Street - National Museum of Scotland 8. St Mary's Street West 9. Canongate - John Knox House 10. Royal Mile - Scottish Parliament, Palace of Holyrood House 11. Dynamic Earth 12. Regent Road - Burns Monument

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Edinburgh: The Dark Side Walking Tour

2. Edinburgh: The Dark Side Walking Tour

Meet some of Edinburgh's most infamous characters on a fun ghost walk through the dark side of the city center. Learn more about Burke and Hare and hear tales of witch burning, grave robbing, body snatching and mysterious murders. Start on the Royal Mile, where plundered tombs, funeral pyres and mass graves from thousands of years ago are concealed. Get goosebumps as the past is brought to life by your guide and venture to gruesome burial sites such as the Canongate Kirkyard. Prepare to be spooked by spine-chilling tales of real-life cannibals and vampires as the true history of Edinburgh is recreated before your eyes.  

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Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

3. Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

Experience stunning city views and natural vistas with this 48-hour Royal Edinburgh Ticket, and learn Edinburgh's history and culture as your tour. Easy to use, the all-inclusive ticket is fantastic value if you want to go to Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the Royal Yacht Britannia. The ticket also includes 48-hour unlimited travel on three of Edinburgh's hop-on-hop-off bus tours; Edinburgh City Sightseeing, Edinburgh Tour and Majestic Tour. Use the bus to reach the attractions, leaving the city behind and heading to the coast at Newhaven through Edinburgh’s New Town. With stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia, it couldn’t be simpler. As the bus returns to the city center, you can jump off at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile to walk up to Edinburgh Castle. A multi-language audio commentary in English, Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Russian is available on board.

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Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

4. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

Save money and explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a 3-route tour ticket. Tour for 24 or 48 hours, to contrast the Old and New Towns, see the royal attractions of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia (entrances not included). Live guides provide English commentary on the Edinburgh Tour, while audio guides are available in up to 9 languages on the City Sightseeing Tour and the Majestic Tour. Hop on and off as often as you like at dozens of attractions, and enjoy unique, scenic views from the open-top upper decks. City Sightseeing Tour: Hear about the people and events that shaped Edinburgh, from the cramped conditions of the Old Town to spacious Holyrood Park, on a classic sightseeing tour in 9 languages. Enjoy Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories with the on board Horrible Histories Children’s Channel - history with all the gory bits left in! • Hanover Street • Princes Street Gardens • St. John’s Church • Grassmarket • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle • National Museum of Scotland • Museum of Childhood • Scottish Parliament • Our Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument Edinburgh Tour: Enjoy the best views aboard an open-top bus, as live commentary in English brings Edinburgh’s history to life. Explore the Old Town and Georgian New Town, hopping off at 9 strategic stops. • Hanover Street • George Street • Charlotte Square • The Mound • Lawnmarket • Grassmarket • Our Dynamic Earth • Scottish Parliament • Canongate Kirk Majestic Tour: Leave the city center and head to the coast at Newhaven, with stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia. This multi-language tour offers commentary through headphones in English, Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Return via the Palace of Holyrood House and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile. • Hanover Street • George Street • Royal Botanic Gardens • Ferry Road • Newhaven Harbour • Cruise Terminal • Ocean Terminal (Royal Yacht Britannia) • Leith Mills • Elm Row • Queen Mary’s Bath House • Queensberry House • Canongate Kirk

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Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

5. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

Explore the haunted Blair Street Underground Vaults with access no other tour company can offer, then head to the Canongate graveyard, where the spirits of the dead await. It might be something to do with the change in temperature. Or the perpetual darkness. Or the ever smaller rooms, stretching beyond the weak beam of a torch. Whatever the reason, there’s something unsettling about the Blair Street Underground Vaults – and your expert guide will reveal the troubling tales on this evening walking tour. Cannibals. Body snatchers. Deals with the Devil. And that’s before you even head underground. Torture. Murder. Hangings. And that’s just what went on in the vaults. A walk along dim streets to the Canongate graveyard will bring you to the resting place of the city’s most famous figures: Adam Smith, the father of economics; David Rizzio, the lover of Mary Queen of Scots; and James Douglas, 3rd Marquess of Queensberry – the infamous cannibal of the Canongate. 

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Edinburgh: Outlander Walking Tour

6. Edinburgh: Outlander Walking Tour

The year is 1745 and the Jacobite rising has reached the city gates of Edinburgh. Bonnie Prince Charlie is met by a cheering crowd of 20,000 strong. Amid the chaos of rebellion are Claire and Jamie, the Outlander characters entwined in a story that spans centuries. On this 2-hour walking tour your guide will trace the real events that inspired Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed novels. The story captures the spirit of the Jacobite rebellion in Edinburgh: The Redcoats, the Highlanders and the smell of gunpowder in the air. Your expert guide will take you deep into the Old Town, to the places where history was made: Tolbooth Jail, Canongate Kirkyard and the World’s End Tavern. If Edinburgh is the setting for the second Outlander novel, you’ll be going behind the scenes!

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Historic Royal Mile Private Walking Tour

7. Historic Royal Mile Private Walking Tour

Why not join a breathtaking walk down Edinburgh's Royal Mile? The tour will take you on an entertaining journey of discovery along one of the world's most famous streets.  Every step has a story to tell. On the way, you'll learn some of the secrets that lie behind its historic buildings - and under your feet. You can also look at locations attached to the Outlander Book/TV series (Claire & Jamie). So why not embark on a journey through time down a street that's felt the footsteps of both royalty and commoner alike, and where legends abound.

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Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse and Old Town Walking Tour

8. Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse and Old Town Walking Tour

Tread the route of royals, past and present – and let your expert guide unlock the history of this ancient seat of power. Discover the hidden history of the Canongate, and the glorious Palace of Holyroodhouse. Discover an approach to the palace that escapes the notice of history books and bus tours. As you walk down the quiet closes of the Canongate your expert guide will show you a different side of the royal city – in rich, engaging detail. Here, rebellious Jacobites clattered over the cobbles, led by a proud Bonnie Prince Charlie. And Deacon Brodie led his dual life as locksmith and thief, immortalised by Robert Louis Stevenson. In the hands of your gifted storyteller, you’ll find that romance and intrigue are everywhere – in the architecture, literature, crime and politics, on the very doorstep of the Queen’s Palace. After the Canongate, your guide will introduce the glorious Palace of Holyroodhouse – which you’ll explore in your own time. You’ll find 14 magnificent state apartments, as well as the romantic ruins of the 12th century Holyrood Abbey. The palace was the setting for many dramatic episodes in the short reign of Mary, Queen of Scots – and Her Majesty The Queen still makes use of the State Apartments for royal ceremonies.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Canongate District

Want to discover all there is to do in Canongate District? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Canongate District

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 4,673 reviews

Doug provided a great summary of the process of distillery, aging and distribution of whiskies. Then we enjoyed a "flight" of 4 whiskies at one historic bar in Old Town, then moved on to another lovely bar to try a couple more whiskies (more aged...21 and 34 years old). Explanations, ratings and methods of tasting.... All in all, a wonderful, entertaining, educational and tasty experience!

An interesting, complete narrative for a fantastic city. Saw parts of the city never seen or explored before. The tour guide was great, knowledgeable and charming.

Jen was amazing! So fun and engaging and even though it was freezing it was a great two hours in the cold with fascinating stories and history

Excellent service. Always on time. Friendly drivers and guides. Good information. Made getting around easy and comfortable.

Fab bus tour that can get you all around the city with history learning as well.