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Edinburgh Old Town Tours and Activities

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8 Reviews
Edinburgh Old Town
The historic heart of Edinburgh, UNESCO-listed Old Town, is home to the city’s most visited sights. Its central artery is the Royal Mile, which connects Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and is lined with top attractions including St. Giles Cathedral, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, and the Scottish Parliament Building.

The Basics
Most every visitor who sets foot in the city of Edinburgh will spend some time in Edinburgh Old Town, as it’s where many of the must-see landmarks and historic sites are located. Walking tours of the city typically begin on the Royal Mile and cover a wide array of themes, from history, mysteries, and photography to ghosts, Sherlock Holmes, and Harry Potter. Other sightseeing tours of Scotland’s capital, including tours by car, rail, and bus, also stop at Old Town attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and Canongate Kirk. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Edinburgh Old Town is a must-visit for all first-time visitors, especially culture lovers, sightseers, architecture aficionados, and history buffs.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as most of Old Town’s streets are cobbled.
  • Though steep streets, steps, and uneven surfaces are common, smooth sidewalks and curb cuts—including those on the Royal Mile—and accessible black cabs make large parts of Edinburgh Old Town navigable for wheelchair users and strollers. 

How to Get There
Getting to Old Town is simple: take the train to Edinburgh Waverley. From Edinburgh Airport, the Airlink 100 carries passengers to Waverley Bridge, which connects the Old Town and New Town. 

When to Get There
The best time to visit Edinburgh Old Town is in summer (June through August), when the Edinburgh Festival, Fringe Festival, and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo take place. Summer evenings are buzziest, as bars fill and people pour onto the streets. If you’d prefer smaller crowds and don’t mind bundling up for the cold, go in winter instead.

The Closes and Wynds of Edinburgh Old Town
Visitors strolling down the Royal Mile can’t fail to notice the narrow alleys, known as closes, and side streets, known as wynds, leading off from the main thoroughfare. The darkened cobbled closes typically lead to private courtyards and would once have had gates, allowing access only for those with keys. Look out for Brodie’s Close, named after William Deacon Brodie, a respected 18th-century craftsman and notorious thief. Mary King’s Close, situated under the Royal Mile, is now a popular visitor attraction.
Address: Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland
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65 Tours and Activities to Experience Edinburgh Old Town

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Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

Historical Walking Tour with Optional Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

star-4.5
538
See the best of medieval yet modern Edinburgh on this walking tour with optional skip-the-line access to Edinburgh Castle. As you walk, listen as your guide shares the history of this formidable city with ancient Roman roots and UNESCO-listed pockets. Explore atmospheric cobbled walkways along the Royal Mile, breeze into Edinburgh Castle to witness royal opulence (if option selected), and pass iconic locations like St. Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square, and John Knox House.
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  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.69
Price varies by group size
From
$25.69
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Underground Vaults Historical Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Underground Vaults Historical Walking Tour in Edinburgh

star-4.5
599
Discover the Edinburgh Vaults—aka South Bridge Vaults—18th-century underground chambers that lie far below the city. On this underground walking tour with an entertaining and informative guide, hear tales of this dark and almost-forgotten place built below one of Edinburgh’s busiest thoroughfares. See evidence of excavated storage spaces, human habitation, taverns with wine vaults and more!
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$24.17
Price varies by group size
From
$24.17
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends

Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends

star-5
1624
Journey through Edinburgh’s grisliest tales on a haunted walking tour. Experience the ghastly histories of monsters, madness, and murder that cast a dark shadow on the capital city. Discover the stories and sites of witch trials, pagan rituals, and executions, and hear about local monsters that live in urban myth. Then visit the chilling Old Calton Burial Ground or Canongate Kirkyard cemetery to learn about body-snatching and some of the infamous interred.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$19.36
From
$19.36
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Night Walking Including Underground Vaults

Edinburgh Night Walking Including Underground Vaults

star-4.5
331
Explore a sinister side of Edinburgh on this late-night ghost walking tour that includes the Blair Street Vaults under South Bridge. Stroll mysterious alleyways as you listen to your guide’s grim and ghastly tales of treason and torture. Then venture underground for a candlelight tour of the 18th-century chambers and hear haunting stories of supernatural forces lingering in the city's darkest corners.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$24.18
Price varies by group size
From
$24.18
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Ghost Bus Tour of Edinburgh

Ghost Bus Tour of Edinburgh

star-4.5
999
Delve into Edinburgh’s horrific history on this evening ghost bus tour. With your spooky local guide, visit the city’s most terrifying locations, haunted by infamy and restless spirits! From your seat in a double-decker vintage bus, gaze at eerie sites such as Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, and the Royal Mile. Throughout the trip, hear anecdotes and facts about Edinburgh’s chilling past, replete with bloody executions, unspeakable tortures, and murder.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$24.77
From
$24.77
Taking safety measures

Underground Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Underground Walking Tour in Edinburgh

star-4
248
Step off the tourist trail and explore the Scottish capital’s hidden secrets on this underground walking tour in Edinburgh. Follow a guide from the South Bridge in Edinburgh Old Town down below street level, where a series of ancient vaults lie. As you explore the dark passageways, learn why the vaults were built, hear of the poor souls who sought refuge in the depths and discover a hidden witchcraft temple. Gain insight into city life during the 18th century, and learn of the deadly diseases which threatened Edinburgh’s inhabitants.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$19.56
From
$19.56
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Old Town and Rosslyn Chapel

Edinburgh Old Town and Rosslyn Chapel

star-5
2
Delve deeper into the medieval history of Scotland’s capital city on a private full-day tour of Edinburgh, on which you’ll benefit from the insider knowledge and undivided attention of a private guide. Plus, unlike typical Edinburgh excursions, this tour transports you to the Scottish countryside to Rosslyn Chapel, made famous by the blockbuster movie the Da Vinci Code.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$707.93
per group
From
$707.93
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour

Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour

star-4.5
322
The award winning Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour was the first literary tour to be launched in Edinburgh in 1996! Why is it regarded by many as a pioneer in its field and a Must-See cultural attraction in guide books throughout the world - standing out from all the rest.......? Performed by professional actors and not academics or tour guides reciting from books. It represents great value for money and has a very high entertainment factor! Join the intrepid duo, Clart ( as in muck!) and our clean-hankied intellectual Mcbrain, who will lead you on a brilliant and witty dramatic romp through the wynds, courtyards and pubs of Edinburgh's Old and New Town. A Hilarious duel of wits across three hundred years of great writing and colourful characters.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$24.17
From
$24.17

Private Half-Day Tour of Edinburgh in a Mini

Private Half-Day Tour of Edinburgh in a Mini

star-5
74
Short on time but still want to experience Edinburgh’s UNESCO-listed gems? No problem! Jump aboard a classic Mini Cooper for a private half-day tour of Edinburgh and zip around the sights in style. Hop out along the way to admire Edinburgh Castle, take in the views from Arthur’s Seat and stroll down the Royal Mile, then explore the lively Grassmarket and visit the waterfront neighbourhood of Leith. Finish your adventure by tucking into a delicious lunch or dinner (depending on option selected) of typical Scottish cuisine.
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  • 4 hours
From
$349.24
per group
From
$349.24
per group

Blair Street Underground Vaults Evening Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Blair Street Underground Vaults Evening Walking Tour in Edinburgh

star-5
154
Edinburgh’s dark and desultory past means its streets are haunted by restless souls and wandering specters. This ghost tour—perfect for those fascinated by the supernatural—takes you to two of Edinburgh’s most haunted locations. Under the cloak of darkness, descend to the Blair Street vaults to explore a shadow-shrouded underground world. Visit Canongate Kirkyard, the final resting place of famous characters, and listen to gruesome tales of torture, cannibalism, and murder.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$28.71
Price varies by group size
From
$28.71
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Guided Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

Guided Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

star-5
104
Embark on an enriching 3.5 or 7-hour walking tour of Edinburgh’s cultural and historical highlights with a private guide. While you listen to insightful commentary, you’ll visit iconic landmarks and hidden gems according to an itinerary tailored to your interests. Explore the cobbled streets of the Old Town, gaze at Edinburgh Castle on its rocky perch and ascend to the summit of Calton Hill for panoramic city views. On this private tour, you’ll receive the undivided attention of your guide while gaining unique insight into the Scottish capital.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$273.81
per group
From
$273.81
per group
Taking safety measures

Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour in Edinburgh

Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour in Edinburgh

star-4.5
693
Ideal for those fascinated by the supernatural, this tour of Edinburgh’s underground vaults is sure to make your spine tingle. With a ghoulish guide, descend into the darkened depths of the Blair Street Vaults and hear vivid retellings of torture, murder, and body snatching. Abandon thoughts of manufactured frights and prepare to experience the sinister side of Edinburgh on this small-group tour.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$24.17
Price varies by group size
From
$24.17
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private 4 Hour Tour of Edinburgh in a Spacious 6-seater Mercedes

Private 4 Hour Tour of Edinburgh in a Spacious 6-seater Mercedes

star-5
28
UNESCO–listed Edinburgh is widely considered among Scotland’s must-see cities, but exploring on foot can be tiring and time-consuming. On this tour, begin with pickup at your Edinburgh hotel and spin through the city in style by comfortable van. Hit top attractions including Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, the Royal Mile, and St. Giles Cathedral with ease, with plenty of time to alight and explore on foot where you wish.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$318.58
per group
From
$318.58
per group
Taking safety measures

Virtual Old Edinburgh Tour

Virtual Old Edinburgh Tour

star-5
2
Enjoy a live Virtual Walking Tour of Edinburgh's Old Town with your own private tour guide. You may not be able to come to Edinburgh, so let us bring Edinburgh to you. We Walk though the Old Town exploring the Closes and Wynds as if you were actually there. You can chat and ask questions just as you would on a normal Walking Tour.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.15
per group
From
$69.15
per group

Edinburgh - Dark History

Edinburgh - Dark History

star-5
13
Ah, Edinburgh! They don't call it "The Jekyll & Hyde City" for nothing. During the day, a respectable figure, with its astonishing architecture and wondrous history. But when the sun sets, it tells an entirely different story... Hear all about the darker history of Edinburgh: murderers, thieves, cannibals, hangings and decapitations, witches, the Plague and streams of human waste. Learn about the most notorious citizens of Edinburgh and how ghost stories are born. We don't need costumes or people jumping from behind the corners: Edinburgh's Dark History itself is enough to make your skin crawl. And oh, how we love to share it with our visitors... *Due to the current global health concerns, we are limiting our tour sizes to 6 people, to ensure our visitors are kept safe and we comply with Government guidance. Please message us directly if you have larger group travelling together.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$18.38
From
$18.38
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Full-Day Guided Private Tour in a Premium Minivan

Edinburgh Full-Day Guided Private Tour in a Premium Minivan

star-5
8
Spend a full-day exploring the best Edinburgh has to offer on this premium minivan tour. Save hours researching top sights to see and planning transport by having everything organized for you instead. The tour includes round-trip private transfers, bottled water, and a private guide. An advantage of a private tour is that the itinerary can be modified based on your interests. Potential sights to visit include the Old Town, the Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$209.55
Price varies by group size
From
$209.55
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

The Royal Military Tattoo Edinburgh City Tour Rosslyn Chapel and Dinner

The Royal Military Tattoo Edinburgh City Tour Rosslyn Chapel and Dinner

star-5
5
Edinburgh is at its busiest during the Royal Military Tattoo but you can get away from the crowds on this private guided tour. Traveling in minibus in the company of just your party and a guide, explore the city streets from the medieval Old Town to the Georgian New Town before heading out of town to Rosslyn Chapel. Enjoy a 4-course dinner back in the city before taking your reserved seats for the spectacle that is the Military Tattoo, an unforgettable evening of music, ceremony, and dance.
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  • 12 hours
From
$529.45
From
$529.45

Edinburgh Food & Drink Private Tour

Edinburgh Food & Drink Private Tour

star-5
193
Get a taste of Edinburgh on this guided tasting tour. Try locally sourced dishes and drinks beyond the Royal Mile. Along the way, learn about the history of the area. Plus get recommendations on places such as bars, restaurants, museums, and galleries to go following the tour. Listen with an audio headset so you can walk at your own pace.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$153.67
Price varies by group size
From
$153.67
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

The 10 Tastings of Edinburgh With Locals: Private Food Tour

The 10 Tastings of Edinburgh With Locals: Private Food Tour

star-4.5
7
Feast your senses on the diverse cuisine of Edinburgh during a private food tour that allows you to tailor your itinerary according to personal tastes. As well as receiving undivided attention from a private guide, you’ll discover eateries and restaurants that you may otherwise have missed, and collect food recommendations for the rest of your vacation.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$115.56
Price varies by group size
From
$115.56
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Edinburgh City Tour in a Minibus

Private Edinburgh City Tour in a Minibus

star-5
5
Explore Edinburgh from the comfort of your own personal minibus on a private tour of the Scottish capital city. While listening to informative commentary from your guide, you’ll gaze at the Gothic silhouette of Edinburgh Castle and hear about the historic Royal Mile. Ascend Calton Hill for panoramic city views, admire the grand architecture of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and become engrossed by tales of witchcraft, body snatching, and a loyal dog. This private tour ensures you’ll receive undivided attention from your guide while experiencing the best Edinburgh has to offer.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$707.93
per group
From
$707.93
per group
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh City Centre and St Andrews Private Driving Day Tour

Edinburgh City Centre and St Andrews Private Driving Day Tour

star-5
2
Cruise around Edinburgh in a luxury vehicle during this private tour. Limited to seven people, this drive around Edinburgh and St. Andrews features several popular landmarks including the Scottish Parliament, The Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle. The itinerary includes time to explore attractions at your leisure and can be customized according to your interests.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$700.85
per group
From
$700.85
per group

Edinburgh Luxury Private Tour with Scottish Driver

Edinburgh Luxury Private Tour with Scottish Driver

star-4.5
3
Explore Edinburgh without the hassle of planning on a private tour with door-to-door chauffeur service, bottled water, and complimentary wifi. Your drive and guide tailors the day’s itinerary according to your needs and interests, with potential stops ranging from Edinburgh Castle to Charlotte Square. Unlike impersonal large-group tours, this private experience ensures your guide’s full attention and a customized experience.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$380.68
Price varies by group size
From
$380.68
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Edinburgh Castle to Arthur's Seat Tour with a Local: Private & 100% Personalized

Edinburgh Castle to Arthur's Seat Tour with a Local: Private & 100% Personalized

star-5
1
Kickstart your stay in Scotland’s capital city on a private and personalized tour that provides a great introduction to Edinburgh for first-time visitors. Rather than following a set schedule, you’ll collaborate with your guide to create an itinerary that’s suited to your interests. Plus, you can choose to explore on foot or by vehicle.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$84.96
Price varies by group size
From
$84.96
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Edinburgh Local Beers, Pubs & Breweries Tour with a Local

Private Edinburgh Local Beers, Pubs & Breweries Tour with a Local

star-5
1
Get ready for a unique Edinburgh experience and taste the best beers in town. Explore the city one gulp at a time and try out all of the locals’ favorites beers. Plus, get insights about the local breweries and the city’s beer culture. What can be better than that? Say "Slàinte" and kick-off your beer experience at a haunted pub located un an infamous historical area best known for its public executions. Try one of Stewart Brewing beers; your local host recommends, ‘Edinburgh Gold’ for a nice entry-level lager or ‘Radical Road’ for something a bit hoppier and more adventurous. If you are a big beer fan, Brewdog Cowgate is the place you need to go to. This innovative brewery created what it was once the world's strongest beer. Give its famous "Punk IPA" a try, or ask the staff for recommendations. The best part? Get useful tips from your local host about the best places to go out at night. From local bars to the newest party spots in town - it’s time to enjoy the vibrant nightlife!
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$77.44
Price varies by group size
From
$77.44
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Edinburgh Old Town?