City of the Dead: South Bridge Vaults & Covenanter's Prison
Explore Edinburgh's frightening past in this 1.5 hour walking tour of the old city's most haunted locations. See the dark underground city of the South Bridge Vaults, then descend into the murky darkness of the black Mausoleum and Covenanter's Prison.
- Starting point: Large black signs against the wall of St Giles' Cathedral, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1RE
- Start time: Multiple start times available.
- Languages: English
Explore Edinburgh's underground city – the South Bridge Vaults
Learn all about the city's grisly and often horrific past
Make your way through the Greyfriar's Graveyard, where many of Edinburgh's most notable denizens are buried
Walk through the terrifying Black Mausoleum
First, explore the notorious South Bridge Vaults: dank, forgotten chambers underneath a historic bridge. In crowded 18th-century Edinburgh, the neglected spaces quickly became a hive of illicit activity. Unscrupulous characters descended the moldy steps to visit brothels, taverns, and much, much worse: the vaults were reportedly used by the serial killers Burke and Hare for their hideous medical experiments.
Then, tiptoe to Greyfriars Kirk and the infamous Covenanter's Prison and Black Mausoleum. It is said that the ghost of Bloody George Mackenzie still haunts these grounds. Be warned: the Mackenzie Poltergeist is believed to leave mysterious bruises, bites, and cuts on unlucky visitors.
After all this, you might need a stiff drink: luckily for you, the tour finishes with a visit to a Scottish pub.
• South Bridge Vaults
• Greyfriar's Graveyard
• The Covenanters Prison
• The Black Mausoleum
Good to Know:
Wear sensible footwear.
Warning: The Mackenzie Poltergeist can cause genuine physical and mental distress. You join the tour at your own risk.
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“totally enjoyed it, was chilly n windy perfect conditions, Rebecca 5*”
Reviewed by Barry from Co Carlow, Ireland on February 2nd, 2014 Would recommend it if your in Edinburgh, went for a scotch coffee afterwards as it was freezing n windy, but this added to the experience. Make sure your well wrapped up and have your winter woollys on. Rebecca the guide was great and added to the fun.
Reviewed by Christopher from sutton coldfield, United Kingdom on January 26th, 2014 Absolutely brilliant a must
“Little disappointing, more a history lesson than ghost stories.”
Reviewed by Carole from Washington, United Kingdom on January 22nd, 2014 Gerry with a g was quite entertaining, but kept saying he didn't have time on this tour for all relevent information, so we felt a little cheated , so why not make the tour longer? Also felt the science lesson could've been left out completely, got very bored, the Mckenzie poltergeist, loved the surprise at the end. Shattered my illusion about greyfriars bobby, doesn't quite match with Wikipedia. Didn't get the chance to see the shop at the end of the tour, was it a real shop or not? Also weren't took back to where we set off was just directed to make our own way back from the cemetery exit, not good I thought, could very easily have got lost if we'd have had to travel a distance to get to the tour.
“Good fun, but too many folks”
Reviewed by John from Stirling, United Kingdom on December 30th, 2013 This was my second ghost tour, and I thought this one had a few too many folks. The guide, (a bonny blonde lass) did her best to keep the foreign lads quiet to better the atmosphere, but the crowd lessened the experience for me. That said, some of my family found it better, as they said they would have been too scared otherwise!
Reviewed by Ned from Nottingham, United Kingdom on December 24th, 2013 Katie took our tour on 21/12/2013 and was friendly, enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable about her home town. Thoroughly enjoyed the tour andcwhilsy I could see the entertainment in having a jumper ooter at the end, but it did make me doubt the authenticity of the information we had been given as to whether it was accurate or was it just to build the group up for the end. That said, I would definitely recommend the tour to friends visiting Edinburgh.
“Great look at a different side of the city.”
Reviewed by Lesley from Edinburgh, United Kingdom on November 10th, 2013 Hosted by a great story-teller which made the excursion all the better.
“A good way to see the real Edinburgh”
Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer from Livingston, United Kingdom on November 3rd, 2013 We went on this tour for Halloween and were not disappointed. Both the underground vaults and graveyard have an interesting history and doing a ghost tour of Edinburgh was certainly a novel way to see a the sights of a city. Would recommend.
Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer from Newcastle-upon-tyne, United Kingdom on October 3rd, 2013 Guide was so funny and I was genuinely terrified from start to finish. It was really different and well worth the money. The locations were so atmospheric. I would recommend it to anyone.
“very fun tour with lots of history”
Reviewed by David from Blue Mountains, Australia on August 30th, 2013 Our Dr Who look a like guide was very funny but informative
He kept the group on edge & entertained with his commentary
We had a great time
“Very good, just too short”
Reviewed by Tom from Belvaux, Luxembourg on June 12th, 2013 The tour was very interesting, you learn a lot about the city and its history. The tour guide was very nice, funny, and knew countless stories about Edinburgh. The only downside: the tour could have lasted longer.
“well constructed tour with lots of potential”
Reviewed by Glenn from Brisbane, Australia on June 5th, 2013 this tour was educational and very well presented by our tour guide
she showed a lot of passion in delivery and was easy to comprehend
the tour group size was s little large but it did not stop all attending from having a good time
“A very enjoyable hour and half and a few frights thrown in as well.”
Reviewed by Marie from BOLTON, United Kingdom on May 30th, 2013 The guide told his stories with humour and terror.Not for young children and people who don't like the dark or confided places. It was good seeing parts of the city you would not normally see.The group was about 45 people which I thought would hinder my enjoyment 'but I was glad for the larger group, because there were times I was actually scared. But I also learnt some history and our guide made it fun.Really glad we went on double ghost tour.
“The storyteller was bad”
Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer from Magdeburg, Germany on May 9th, 2013 The places had potential, but the guide did a bad job of leading the tour. He didn't use any facial expressions or gestures when he told his stories. Overall it all seemed very artificial, which strongly affected the tour.
“Great tour led by Van Helsing lookalike!”
Reviewed by Blanche from Dundee, United Kingdom on March 5th, 2013 We done the double dead tour on Saturday 2nd March and really loved it.
We arrived at the meeting point around 7.15pm and there was quite a large group there already, in the end I think our group numbered around 45-50 and if I am being honest I was a bit concerned it was maybe to large for everyone to be able to hear what was going on, but I am happy to say my worries were unfounded.
Our guide, whose name we never got (we decided to call him Van Helsing, by the way this is a compliment not an insult, haha!) was brilliant at what he does, he has a presence about him and dresses like Van Helsing from the Vampire films (maybe thats just our opinion though) he also brings the stories to life and obviously loves what he does.
We moved at a very fast pace from one place to the other as there was a lot of ground to cover.
If was fascinating to be in vaults underground and hear stories of what it would have been like to have had to lived like that back in the time.
Reviewed by Lisa from Armagh, United Kingdom on February 19th, 2013 was excellent craic...i had mine booked 2wks in advance and was worth the wait!!!
“excellent and entertaining .”
Reviewed by Michael from Hartlepool, United Kingdom on January 8th, 2013 it had the lot , even someone taking a wobbler .....
“Excellent - the tour was fantastic!”
Reviewed by Alison from Carluke, United Kingdom on November 7th, 2012 Couldn't recommend this tour highly enough, the tour guide was absolutely fantastic - the stories and the history were brought to life by her. Would happily go on the same tour again. It has inspired me to read more about the history of Edinburgh.
“Atmospheric and informative”
Reviewed by Emma from Bexhill-on-Sea, United Kingdom on October 27th, 2012 We did the Double Dead tour. Our guide told us quite a lot about Edinburgh's history, several ghost stories of her own and provided a very interesting and informative tour. The night we went was extremely misty which really added to the creepy atmosphere, especially in the churchyard! Overall we really enjoyed it and felt it was worth the money. The only negative point (not really the tour companys fault) was that there were a few people with us who kept messing about which did spoil it for everyone else. If only we could have left them in the vaults!!!
“A great ghost walk with lots of atmosphere”
Reviewed by Lindsay from Lincoln, United Kingdom on October 24th, 2012 This was a great walk with alot of atmosphere in the underground vaults, the guide who had been doing her job for 10 years was very good and confident at her job and had a lot of knowledge, the haunted tomb at the end with the poltergeist was good also, with the "jumper outer" scaring everyone to death, well worth the money and very enjoyable
“An outstanding evening of fun and fact.”
Reviewed by Simon James from Glasgow, United Kingdom on October 7th, 2012 I was very impressed with the standard of the tour! Our guide Ian was both friendly and authentic in his delivery of the tour! We had so much fun! A brilliant evening which I would recommend to family and friends!
“Un tour que merece la pena hacer. Te enseñarán sitios únicos.”
Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer from madrid, Spain on February 12th, 2014 Que es loque he echado en falta, que no lo hagais en español, o por lo menos tengais un audio-guia en este idioma. Porque o sabes muy bien inglés o pierdes mucho porque el guia habla muy deprisa y a veces no es fácil seguirle.
El guia muy bueno
Que visitemos cosas únicas también muy bien.
Las bovedas de South Brigde quizás se quede un poco escaso.
“War nichts spektakuläres”
Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer from Camischolas, Switzerland on October 14th, 2013 Leider endete die Tour nicht am Startort und für nicht Edinburgh Kenner war es nicht einfach sich zu orientieren.
“Die Gruppe war viel zu groß um wirklich etwas von der Führung zu haben”
Reviewed by Helga from Weiden, Germany on December 5th, 2012 Die Vaults im Edinburgher Untergrund sind wirklich einmalig und der Guide hat sich auch alle Mühe gegeben, aber mit ca. 40 Leuten in einer Gruppe war das Gedränge so groß, dass der Spaß auf der Strecke geblieben ist. Wenn man weiter hinten gestanden hat, war nicht mehr viel zu verstehen und zu sehen. ich habe schon bessere Führungen in Edinburgh erlebt!
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