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Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Royal Mile, Edinburgh: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

1. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

This guided walking tour takes you beneath the streets of Edinburgh's Old Town into a dimly lit space that many considered to be haunted. Your tour visits the vaults of the South Bridge that date back to the 1700s. These are the same vaults mentioned on Most Haunted Live as one of the scariest places on earth. Learn how the vaults have been used over the years, the living conditions endured by the poor and homeless residents, and the spirits that are supposed to haunt them. The darker side of Edinburgh's history will unfold as you wander through the candle-lit underground area. From your guide, you'll hear about the Burke and Hare murders and the persecution of witches. Discover the characters who stalked the streets of Edinburgh, and the paranormal stories associated with the vaults. The Haunted Vaults tour option will cover slightly more paranormal and ghost stories. Step into the torture exhibition and explore how and why these items were used.

Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry

2. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry

Begin your tour by the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile. Walk towards Edinburgh Castle as your guide sets the scene, explaining the significance of the Castle and mentioning some of the key characters who have helped shape it. Once inside, let your guide walk you through the Castle complex. Hear their in-depth knowledge of the Castle's main buildings and attractions, including the Argyle Battery and One O'clock Gun, the Hospital Square and Western Panorama. See the Castle dungeons and military prison, the Black Banquet and Thomas Randolph's daring castle raid. Encounter St Margret's Chapel, Mons Meg, the Crown Square, and The Honors of Scotland. After the tour, enjoy some time at your leisure to explore the castle museums (not accessible during the tour).

Edinburgh: Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour

3. 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 guided tour.

Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour

4. Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour

Join an early afternoon ghost tour in Edinburgh and enjoy a walk with a professional local guide dressed in full period costume. See historic landmarks in the old town on this 1-hour tour as your guide tells you about Edinburgh’s dark past. Head down into the city’s underground vaults, located below the historic South Bridge, just off Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. The vaults are known to be some of the most haunted in the world and many a ghost has been spotted lurking around by visitors and guides. Experience an afternoon filled with ghosts, torture, death, and horror in Scotland’s historic capital.

Edinburgh: Late-Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour

5. Edinburgh: Late-Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour

Join this late-night guided walking tour in English of Edinburgh to discover the city’s darkest and most frightening experience. Hear ghost stories of the city told above and below the ground of the Royal Mile. Walk through the famous wynds and closes of the Royal Mile, learning about the horrific living conditions of the population that once lived in these underground rooms. Listen to stories from your guide about murderers who roamed the streets and snatched bodies to sell to medical schools at the time. Then, hear stories of the scratching hauntress who leaves marks on her victims. Witness torture exhibits and learn how these devices were used in times gone by. Finally, go to the home of “The Watcher” ghost, and see the infamous stone circle vault, still decorated with pentagrams and spiritual symbols.

Edinburgh: Real Mary King's Close Guided Tour

6. Edinburgh: Real Mary King's Close Guided Tour

Step down into Edinburgh’s hidden history at The Real Mary King’s Close, voted Scotland’s Best Heritage Tourism Experience. Discover over 400 years of history and learn about the intriguing stories of Edinburgh’s past residents.  From the deadly plague epidemic to a famous royal visitor, there is a myriad of tales just waiting to be told. Journey through time and find out why the Close, once open to the skies and bustling with trade, came to be underground.  An experience rooted in social history, this 1-hour character-guided tour also includes an immersive walk-through of the city’s uniquely preserved streets and spaces, all located underneath Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. Expect a truly unique glimpse into the city’s past. 

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

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

Make getting around Edinburgh's top sights easy with a 48-hour Royal Edinburgh hop-on, hop-off bus ticket. Dive into the history and culture of Scotland with access to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 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.

Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

8. Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Ticket

Wander the opulent state rooms and lavish gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, His Majesty The King's official Scottish residence, located at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Once inside the baroque palace, learn about its close associations with Scotland's history via a complimentary multimedia guide (available in 9 languages). Visit the State Apartments to see the changing tastes of successive monarchs. Marvel at fine plasterwork ceilings and Brussels tapestries, along with paintings and other artworks in rooms still used by the King and Royal Family for official ceremonies. Go to the Throne Room to see where lunch was served to the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Thistle when a new knight was installed. Discover where the King holds his private audiences in the Morning Drawing Room. Continue to the Great Gallery, where Scottish residents named in the New Year’s Honours List or Kings Birthday Honours List receive their award at an Investiture ceremony. Admire Jacob de Wet's portraits of real and legendary kings of Scotland in the Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace. Learn about dramatic events from Scotland’s history in Mary Queen of Scots' historic chambers, where she witnessed the brutal murder of her secretary, Rizzio, by her jealous husband, Lord Darnley. At the end of your multimedia tour, enjoy a refreshing drink or light lunch (own expense) at the Café at the Palace.

Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

9. Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

Explore Edinburgh's ghostly past on a guided tour through the streets of the Old Town and its underground vaults. Listen as your cloaked guide tells you tales of the city's dark and grim past as you are led along the Royal Mile. If you dare, step into the narrow alleyways, which are only a few feet wide. Make your way to the South Bridge, and head underneath, where Edinburgh's Vaults are located. Once storage areas for businesses and shops in the area, the vaults were taken over in the late 1700s and turned into living spaces. Eventually, the area became home to slums and the city's red-light district. As you walk through these now-vacant rooms, you will hear tales of the deplorable living conditions, as well as of the crime that once raged through the vaults. When you emerge from the underground, consider yourself lucky that it isn't in the dead of night.

Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

10. Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Explore Edinburgh at your own pace with an award-winning hop-on hop-off open-top bus tour. Enjoy the onboard commentary that describes the history behind the city. Stop at locations like St Andrew Square, Johnstone Terrace, the Royal Mile. See sights like Edinburgh Castle and Grassmarket. Board the bus and begin your city adventure. 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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What people are saying about Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 42,445 reviews

The guide was full of energy enthusiasm clear, was fantastic at telling a story..... So much so i for one was disappointed the tour was only 75 minutes long. Could have done another hour.... Would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a spot of adventure, bit of fun plus learn a thing or 2. Tall slim white male, 20s quick walker.... Lol guide.

Andrew was a great guide, we enjoyed the whole tour, we had previously been on the vaults tour so we were quite happy that the information was still in depth, we even got a few more details than the last tour! Really chuffed with the energy of the guide and tour, would definitely recommend and rebook

Alex was an amazing guide. He was extremely welcoming and gave great information about HP and also Edinburgh itself. Really enjoyed being sorted into a house and taking part in the quiz. Would highly recommend!

We had Sarah on our tour who was absolutely amazing! She was so enthusiastic and her storytelling was so capturing!! She was amazing!! Would definitely reccomend her tour to others, outstanding tour guide!!

Excellent, original tour which was our highlight of Scotland. Andy was great and made our trip so memorable. New year's day was even special this year with this trip