Mercat Cross, Edinburgh

Mercat Cross, Edinburgh: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Delve into the Old Town's Past on a Walking Tour

1. Edinburgh: Delve into the Old Town's Past on a Walking Tour

Meet your guide and discover the gorgeous winding streets that comprise Edinburgh's "Old Town." Covering everything from history to religion and folklore, explore Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town. Your talented and entertaining guide will walk you through the streets and alleys of "Auld Reekie", while enthralling you with with its history, folklore, and tales. Learn about the secrets Edinburgh is hiding and experience the incredible stories it has to tell, as your guide leads you through the city's long history.  Topics included in the tour include Edinburgh's Mercat Cross, St. Giles Cathedral, the Scottish Enlightenment, the Grassmarket, Harry Potter's inspirations, and many more. Finish your tour in the heart of Edinburgh, surrounded by several bars, restaurants, cafes, and great transport links.

From Edinburgh: Outlander, Palaces and Jacobites Tour

2. From Edinburgh: Outlander, Palaces and Jacobites Tour

We begin our day in Edinburgh, departing from the Royal Mile and taking in some of the sights of Scotland’s capital as we head to our first stop of the day; Midhope Castle*. This 16th century Tower House was the backdrop to Lallybroch; Jamie Fraser’s family home. Spend time here for photos and soak up the atmosphere and keep an eye out for Jamie, just in case. From there, we continue onwards to Blackness, home to Blackness Castle. In Outlander, Blackness Castle is used as the set for Fort William, the headquarters of Black Jack Randall. It has also appeared in Hamlet and is known as “the ship that never sailed” due to its distinctive boat-like shape that protrudes into the Forth. Look down the Forth towards Edinburgh and see all 3 Forth Bridges, representing three centuries of Scottish engineering and connecting the Lothians with the Kingdom of Fife. Our Outlander tour travels west, to the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, where you will the opportunity to visit Linlithgow Palace, Outlander’s Wentworth Prison. The palace was originally used as a relaxing retreat for the Royal Family on journeys between Edinburgh and Stirling Castle. Its impressive towers overlook stunning scenery. We will also spend enough time here in Linlithgow for you to get some lunch and explore the town. After a short journey further westward, we will arrive at Callendar House near Falkirk, it was used as the kitchen in the Duke of Sandringham’s home in season 2 of the show. This beautiful mansion has traditional Scottish architecture with elements resembling a French Renaissance chateau. We then travel north across to the other side of the Forth and visit the Royal Burgh of Culross. The small village is arguably the best example of a 17th Century village in Scotland. The gardens here feature as Claire’s herb garden, and the Mercat Cross in Outlanders’ Cranesmuir Village. We then return to the other side of the Forth and visit Hopetoun House, which features in Outlander as the Duke of Sandringham’s home. This stunning stately home is situated on over 100 acres of designed landscape and reflects some of the brilliant work of Scottish architects Sir William Bruce and William Adam. On our return journey to Edinburgh in the evening, we will pass by the Forth Bridges. These three bridges are used to connect the Lothians to the Kingdom of Fife and represent three centuries of Scottish engineering, with the newest bridge, the Queensferry Crossing having only been completed in 2017. After this, we return to Edinburgh where our Outlander tour comes to an end.

Edinburgh: 3-Hour Guided Walking Tour

3. 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 historians Dr. Alison Duncan and David Forsyth, will guide you through this beautiful city. You’ll see many of the city’s highlights, including Usher Hall and Edinburgh Castle (exterior). You’ll walk along the Royal Mile, view St. Giles Cathedral (exterior), 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 with you in an informative, personable, and enjoyable manner. Have no fear, as it won't all be serious stuff. Visit the Grassmarket, a place of thriving activity where street performers and buskers abound and which is home, since the 1400s, to merchants and street traders. Also, typically, where time allows, you will see Princes Street, Princes Street Gardens, the Scott Monument, George Street, and Charlotte Square.

Edinburgh: The Mary Queen of Scots Guided Walking Tour

4. Edinburgh: The Mary Queen of Scots Guided Walking Tour

Walk into the footsteps of the iconic Mary Queen of Scots on a guided walking tour in Edinburgh and discover the dramatic events that shook the city during her short and turbulent reign. Go from Holyrood Palace, where she lived, to Edinburgh Castle, where she gave birth to her son James VI of Scotland and I of England. Along the way, hear what happened to her during her six-year reign and find out what kind of woman she was. Enjoy an easy-going pace designed for the comfort of all travellers. Stop at various city highlights, including the John Knox House, Mercat Cross, and the impressive St. Giles Cathedral. Then, finish up your tour on the castle esplanade.

Edinburgh's Royal Mile: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

5. Edinburgh's Royal Mile: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

Embark on a tour of Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile with an audio tour available on your smartphone. Enjoy 14 stories narrated by radio actor James Bryce in his charming Scottish lilt and see highlights, including the Lawnmarket and Mercat Cross. After installing your app, begin at the top of Castlehill next to the Witches Well and hear about Edinburgh Castle’s early days, when a series of infamous witch burnings took place here. Amble down all four sections of the Royal Mile: Castlehill, Lawnmarket, the High Street, and the old burgh of Canongate. Stroll around St. Giles Cathedral, home to the Old Tolbooth, the Heart of Midlothian mosaic, and a statue of Charles II. As you travel the length of the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, see the former residence of the gentleman robber, Deacon Brodie, the inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Hear about historical figures, such as John Knox and Mary Queen of Scots, and listen to tales about the barbaric punishments of the 1600s. Uncover the deeds that took place in the shadows of the Mercat Cross and see Netherbow Port, once the main gate between Edinburgh and Canongate.

The Dark Side of Glasgow

6. The Dark Side of Glasgow

Let's share a dram and explore famous landmarks and gritty street art, while I tell you tales of Glasgow’s crime and macabre past. Hear about its ties to the slave trade, its gangs, its godfathers, its ghosts, and its twisted serial killers. Let's toast with single malt Scottish Whisky and have some traditional snacks whilst learning about the 'real' Glasgow, from a real Glaswegian. Bursting with trademark dry Glaswegian humour and feisty, entertaining tales, this is a unique tour experience not to be missed. 'People Make Glasgow' and this is a tour dedicated to the people and their thrilling, hilarious, and sometimes terrifying adventures. Want to know about Bible John? The Human Crocodile? The Gorbals Vampire? Arthur Thompson and his kin? Then look no further! These are not the stories you will find in museums, they cannot be summed up in a book. Glaswegians are known to spin a yarn and are the world’s greatest storytellers ─ your guide will add their own anecdotes passed down from family, including both the historical facts and the mythical imaginings clearly defined. Walk the affluent streets of the Merchant city, be faced with Glasgow's famous High Court of Justiciary, saunter through the cultural Glasgow Green Park, and head out to the Barras Market and Barrowland Ballroom before ending in the central historic heart of our city.

Edinburgh: Discover Edinburgh Walking Tour

7. Edinburgh: Discover Edinburgh Walking Tour

Immerse yourself in the rich history and captivating charm of historic Edinburgh on our walking tour through the city's most significant places. Take an informative, thought-provoking journey that brings the history of Edinburgh to life. Cover all of Edinburgh's major sights, from The Royal Mile to Princes Street. See St Giles' Cathedral, The Writers Museum, Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, The Scott Monument, and much more. Our guides are all experienced and gifted storytellers and they will weave the themes of Royalty, Religion, Politics, History, Culture, Art, and 21st Century Edinburgh into a compelling narrative, stretching from the city's beginnings as a bronze age settlement. Hear the stories of reformations, rebellions, and enlightenment and meet the people who have left their imprint on the city, including Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and many more. At the end of the tour, you'll find yourself in a central location, perfectly situated to further explore the wonders of Edinburgh at your own pace. Whether you choose to continue your adventure, relax in a cozy café, or browse the local shops, the captivating spirit of Edinburgh will linger with you long after the tour ends. Book today and let the history and charm of Edinburgh unfold before your eyes.

Edinburgh: Magical Potter Walking Tour

8. Edinburgh: Magical Potter Walking Tour

Uncover the real-life inspirations for Diagon Alley, Hogwarts, and many more on a walking tour of Edinburgh's Old Town. Explore the city's history of magic and enchanting folklore, and immerse yourself in playful trivia and insightful stories. Meet your guide, a true potions master of Harry Potter lore, and brew a captivating concoction of historical anecdotes, literary insights, and playful trivia. Explore eerily familiar locations like Greyfriars Kirkyard, full of magical whispers. Learn about Edinburgh's rich history of witchcraft and folklore, where real-life magic once thrived. Imagine bustling wizarding shops in every alleyway, secret passages within ancient buildings, and Hogwarts' grandeur reflected in iconic architecture. This immersive experience is more than a walking tour, it's a chance to live your own magical adventure.

Edinburgh: Witches, Trials, and Truth Small-Group Tour

9. Edinburgh: Witches, Trials, and Truth Small-Group Tour

The History of Scotland’s Witches Accused, tried, and tortured. Step into the past and bear witness to the truth about Scotland’s ‘witches' following their tragic last steps on this five-star Edinburgh history tour. Persecution of the weak, the wise and skilled? Roused by fear and envy? Inflamed by religious zeal? You’re invited to listen carefully and perhaps think again... You’ll be transported back to a dark time ruled by a crazed king and his obsession with the dark arts, ‘otherworldly phenomenon’. Join us to walk the cobbled paths of Edinburgh’s Old Town and its centuries-old closes, reach Edinburgh Castle esplanade the site where hundreds burned at the stake. Witches of Edinburgh Hunted and hanged. Around 2,500 people were executed for witchcraft in Scotland across two centuries. Agnes, Geilis, Janet, John… Learn names and hear stories of some of the women, and men, accused of sorcery. Alleged psychics, hexers, and communicators with the devil coerced into confession. Our stories will begin with the accusations, then the trials and lead to the tragic fate suffered by many. History and Hysteria: Their Trials and Truth Told There was no justice in court, nor truth in tribunals for accused ‘witches’. On this tour, our award-winning Storytellers shine a light on the truth behind the trials and the real reasons behind the witch crazes that swept like a fever for centuries, across Scotland and beyond.

Edinburgh: 3 Hr City Highlights Private Guided Walking Tour

10. Edinburgh: 3 Hr City Highlights Private Guided Walking Tour

Explore Edinburgh the way you want to, spend quality time with a local and get a real taste for our beautiful city on our most extensive tour of the city in 3 hours. With flexible meeting and end points, and a dedicated local guide, maximise your time in Edinburgh on a private tour. The city with everything - castles, volcanoes, history on every corner, a world-leading University and an incredible arts scene - there really is so much to see in the beautiful city of Edinburgh! Connect with a local guide and immerse yourself in the tales and sights of Edinburgh’s Old Town. From its historic roots to modern life in the city today, this leisurely 3 hour wander of the cobbled streets and alleyways will give you a great overview and introduction to Scotland’s capital city. The tour will take in the classics, from Edinburgh Castle to the Royal Mile as well as many more hidden secrets only known by our true local experts!

17 activities found
Sort by:

Top sights near Mercat Cross, Edinburgh

Other Sightseeing Options in Mercat Cross, Edinburgh

Want to discover all there is to do in Mercat Cross, Edinburgh? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Mercat Cross, Edinburgh

Ben (English Ben) was very well informed, told the stories of the history of Edinburgh in a factual, easy to listen to listen to way; with much humour… totally delightful!!! Would highly recommend touring with Ben.

This was a great tour! We went by so many historic places & our guide Alistair was super knowledgeable - he even gave us recommendations for fun local pubs that were fantastic!

I really loved the 2 hour visit of Old Edinburgh! Ben the English man was very nice. he knows plenty of stories about Edinburgh

awesome guide, interesting (Outlander) film locations, good pace overall!

Giorgia was informative, in and entertaining!! We loved it!!!