Edinburgh
Literary Activities

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Our most recommended Edinburgh Literary Activities

Edinburgh: Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour

1. Edinburgh: Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour

Enjoy a Harry Potter themed walking tour across Edinburgh. See the city where JK Rowling found inspiration for Hogwarts, her famous characters, and discover the place where she wrote the books. Have your Harry Potter trivia tested with an audio-visual quiz, and earn points for your house. Find out which Hogwarts House you’re in, and whether you’re a pure blood, a muggle, or a squib. Visit the Grave of Tom Riddle in Greyfriars Kirkyard, and pass JK Rowling’s golden handprints outside City Chambers. See all this and more on a magical 2-hour guided tour.

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Edinburgh: Harry Potter Walking Tour

2. Edinburgh: Harry Potter Walking Tour

Experience a little magic on a 2-hour walking tour of Edinburgh that is perfect for all fans of Harry Potter. Learn all the stories and secrets behind the best selling books by J.K. Rowling in the city where she wrote them. Visit the original sites that provided the inspiration for Hogwarts and the characters who dwelled within its magical walls. Stroll along the High Street to see where Diagon Alley came to life and where Lord Voldemort is buried. See the original Hogwarts School, and look at a virtual school assembly of its characters! Learn how Edinburgh’s own dark history of witches and wizards played a role in inspiring J.K. Rowling along the way. 

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Edinburgh: Scotland's Dark Secrets Walking Tour

3. Edinburgh: Scotland's Dark Secrets Walking Tour

Marvel at the mysteries lurking behind Edinburgh on a walking tour focusing on the city's darker side. Visit Edinburgh Castle, Grey Friars Kirkyard, and the Old Tollbooth Prison. Let your guide thrill you with macabre, twisted tales from days gone by. Learn about witches and ghosts from the city's past and find out which ones are still lurking around today. Soak up every creaky nook and cranny while you search for signs of ghosts and ghouls on this unforgettable walking tour of Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh: 3-Hour Guided Walking Tour

4. Edinburgh: 3-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Discover Edinburgh’s historical, cultural, and architectural heritage on a small and intimate walking tour guided by one of the most knowledgeable locals possible. Stuart or Richard Usher, of Scotland's famous and historic House of Usher, or Dr. Alison Duncan, Scotland expert and professional historian, will guide you through this beautiful city. You’ll see many of the city’s highlights, including Usher Hall and Edinburgh Castle. You’ll walk along the Royal Mile, tour the interior of St. Giles Cathedral, and visit several of Edinburgh's famous landmarks. Your guide, has an extensive knowledge of Edinburgh's history and architecture and the many famous people that the city has produced over the centuries. They will share their knowledge of Edinburgh with you in an informative, personable, and enjoyable manner. Have no fear, as it won't all be serious stuff! Your guide will also show you the Mound, and take you on a tour of the National Galleries of Scotland. At the gallery you’ll see paintings by masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, and many others. Also, typically you will see Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens, the Scott Monument, George Street, and Charlotte Square.

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Gothic Edinburgh: City Exploration Game

5. Gothic Edinburgh: City Exploration Game

Discover Edinburgh’s hidden gems and gothic secrets by following clues and solving puzzles on this exploration game via an app on your phone that acts as your guide. Go on a hunt for the person who can help solve a series of ghastly crimes in the city. Start at Greyfriars Bobby Statue. From there, simply follow the game route and instructions. Explore at your own pace: pause the game and resume anytime from any location where you paused it. As you solve challenges, the story unfolds and directions on your phone will guide you to the next stop. Explore St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, and more. Meet local legends and test your wits against theirs to solve the mysteries of the city. Come to know the cobbled streets and twisting alleyways and all the people who have made them famous. Choose to play on your own, in a large group, or in several smaller groups to compete against each other and race to the final stop of the game. Enjoy an experience that’s the perfect mix between a tour, outdoor escape game, and treasure hunt. The entire game will take around 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. You will finish at the Burns Monument.

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Edinburgh: Literary Walking Tour

6. Edinburgh: Literary Walking Tour

Discover the first city to receive the award of UNESCO City of Literature, home to many great writers and the only station in the world named after a book. Visit the monument of Walter Scott and hear about his influence on Edinburgh's culture. Discover more about the birthplace of Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde authors, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You will also learn about local resident and national treasure, J.K Rowling and visit the place where she wrote most of the earlier Harry Potter books. Hear fascinating facts about top crime writer, Ian Rankin, and stories of Edinburgh's poets, novelists and crime writers, the lives they lived in Edinburgh and the places that inspired them.

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Edinburgh: Private Harry Potter Tour in French & English

7. Edinburgh: Private Harry Potter Tour in French & English

Take a Harry Potter guided walking tour through Edinburgh. Discover the places and stories behind the magic. Experience the parts of Edinburgh which gave JK Rowling the inspiration to write the popular Harry Potter series. Meet your guide and start your wizarding adventure. Follow in Rowling's footsteps. Learn anecdotes about the Harry Potter series and the life of the author. Let your guide reveal the hidden spots in the city that are strikingly similar to the world built in the books.

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Edinburgh: Inspirations of Harry Potter with a Warlock

8. Edinburgh: Inspirations of Harry Potter with a Warlock

J. K. Rowling is a moderately influential woman who's sold a few books. On this tour you will dive deep into her history. Learn to use failure as a springboard, be inspired, stay committed and conquer the world. Discover the sights that inspired her and the cafes which fueled her. Experience how, through her adopted daughter, Edinburgh, she once more left footprints upon the world. Enter Greyfriars Kirk-yard and the Harry Potter connections explode. You will visit the grave of "You Know Who", a possible inspiration for Hogwarts, attempt to wake Peeves, and explore some of the wizarding world's lesser known traditions and tales. You will hustle down a cobbled alley, full of dark doorways, crooked stairs and the watching eyes of shopkeeps. At the foot of Victoria Street (Edinburgh's "Diagon Alley") you'll raise your hoods and study your shoes, since Eaters of death be prowling. Explore 40% of Edinburgh's Hogwartian old town, discover fabulous gothic scenes off the Muggle-track — the brickwork of Rowling's imagination. Over the course of the tour you will learn the entire genesis of Harry Potter —  from a lightning striking on a Manchester train, to how an unhappy marriage was the birthing of the world's most beloved books, becoming a pillar of British culture and shaping a generation. Rowling said Edinburgh surely rubbed off a little on her epic saga. Come and see why, and consider what you can learn from her journey.

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Edinburgh: Sherlock Holmes Adventure

9. Edinburgh: Sherlock Holmes Adventure

Meet up with your guide, who will brief you on the instructions for the game. Your guide will need to be in touch with you throughout, so you must bring a fully-charged mobile phone with internet access. You will also have to pay a £20 deposit for the rental of the spy kit. The deposit will be fully refunded to you at the end once you return the kit undamaged. The kit comes in a backpack that has all the clues and tools you need to work through the game including a 19th-century map of Edinburgh that is yours to keep. Once the game begins, you'll follow a series of numbered clues. Every clue is meant to be used in a particular location in the city and puzzles are solved by making use of permanent features in the city. No extra clues or hints are hidden around. The game unravels the story of Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation. Cover a good portion of Edinburgh and pass by some of the main landmarks: St Andrews Square, Princess Street and some other wonderful places off the tourist trail. Most of the game's locations have a connection to Sherlock Holmes' creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. You will finish by dropping the kit off and collecting your souvenir badge at the Arthur Conan Doyle centre, which is a 15-minute walk from the West End of Princess Street.  The duration of the game varies depending on the group, it could take anything between 2 and 4 hours, but the average group usually takes 2.5 hours if they don't take a break.

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Edinburgh: Outlander Walking Tour

10. 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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Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 1,229 reviews

Kieran made the tour interesting, fun, he really captured everybody’s attention during a very well filled two hours. Edinburgh centre is quite small so there wasn’t very much walking involved and I felt we were getting a good overview of the centre. Definitely recommend! My 14 year old was kept interested and amused in spite of the cold wet weather

Kieran was a great tour guide. He was a big Harry Potter fan himself so knew everything inside out. Would definitely recommend a trip with him while in Edinburgh. 10/10

Crystal was a brilliant guide. So personable, knowledgable and passionate about what she does. Well worth the time and money.

Monique was amazing! The tour was so interesting and she kept us engaged and gave so much cool information

Such an insightful tour, really changed the way we viewed the city.