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Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Royal Mile, Edinburgh: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

1. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

Experience a guided walking tour that 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 Castle: Guided Tour with Live Guide

2. Edinburgh Castle: Guided Tour with Live Guide

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.

From Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Fort William, & Glencoe Day Tour

4. From Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Fort William, & Glencoe Day Tour

Embark on a day tour to the scenic Scottish Highlands on a day tour from Edinburgh. Visit Glenfinnan, Glencoe, and Fort William and take in the scenery of Hollywood movies, including the Harry Potter series. Depart Edinburgh's bustling streets as you travel by bus past some of its most iconic sights like Edinburgh Castle on your way out of the city. Admire the scenery on the journey north into the rugged Scottish Highlands, with a stop for refreshments at the gateway to the Highlands in Callander. Drive through the rugged landscapes to Glencoe, where James Bonds' Skyfall was filmed. See the backdrop to some scenes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Pause here for photos and to learn about the history of Glencoe, including the massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. From the atmospheric Glencoe, travel further along the banks of Loch Linnhe to the Highland town of Fort William, which sits at the foot of Britain's tallest mountain - Ben Nevis. Stop here to stretch your legs and have an early lunch break. Next, continue to the stunning Glenfinnan Viaduct, which served as the scenic route of the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter series. Discover the setting for the Triwizard Tournament from the movie, and the loch from the grounds of Hogwarts. Visit the Glenfinnan Monument, which symbolizes one of the most important events in Scottish history; the 1745 Jacobite uprising. Next, departing Glenfinnan, sit back and relax on your journey to Edinburgh, stopping for refreshments at the small village of Pitlochry on the way.

Edinburgh: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

5. Edinburgh: City Sightseeing 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! Tour Stops: 1. Waterloo Place 2. St. Andrew Square 3. Lothian Road 4. Grassmarket 5. Chalmers Street 6. Johnston Terrace 7. Lawnmarket 8. National Museum of Scotland 9. High Street 10. Canongate 11. Holyrood 12. Our Dynamic Earth 13. Abbeyhill Crescent 14. Regent Road

Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Entry Ticket

6. Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse Entry 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: Late-Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour

7. 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: Evening Underground Ghost Tour

8. Edinburgh: Evening Underground Ghost Tour

Experience the world's most haunted city on a ghost tour of Edinburgh and be spooked by the dark side of the Old Town. Discover the hidden wynds (alleys) off the Royal Mile and hear some of Edinburgh’s horrifying secrets. Visit what is considered the world's most haunted graveyards, "Greyfriars Kirkyard." Finally, explore the underground Edinburgh Vaults. Completed in 1788, the series of chambers housed taverns and stored illicit material, including dead bodies killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for their medical experiments. Journey through over 400 years of history and true tales of hangings, torture, murders, and witchcraft. Shiver at the weird noises and unexplained smells that appear after dark! 

Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

9. Edinburgh: Comedy Horror Ghost Bus Tour

Enjoy a theatrical sightseeing tour of Edinburgh onboard the Ghost Bus, a beautifully refurbished vintage double-decker, painted in traditional midnight black. Learn about Edinburgh’s grave robbers, plague victims, and the ghosts that reside in the most haunted city in Europe. Explore the city's gruesome past, while admiring its most famous monuments, including Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, Greyfriar's Kirk, Holyrood Palace, and the Royal Mile. As you traverse the Old Town and New Town, visit the sites of murders, tortures, and executions. Hear about the infamous Burke and Hare, and the hundreds of women who were drowned or burned as witches. The bus, which belonged to the Necropolis Bus Company, boasts decorative features that include atmospheric lamps and window curtains. In 1967, the entire fleet was destroyed in a mysterious fire, and only one bus survived.

Edinburgh: Whisky Tasting with History and Storytelling

10. Edinburgh: Whisky Tasting with History and Storytelling

Enjoy an evening of whisky appreciation on a whisky-tasting experience on Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile. Taste four single malt scotch whiskies and enjoy storytelling from your guide. If you want to avoid alcohol, you can join the tour and choose to book the option without whisky tastings. Meet your guide at Hot Toddy, just off the iconic Royal Mile. Over the next two hours, drink 4 outstanding single malt scotch whiskies taken from the 4 major whisky-producing regions of Scotland. Taste whiskies which range from the relatively delicate and subtle flavors of the Lowlands to the bold and robust tastes of Islay. You will also be given tasting cards giving notes on each of the whiskies that you sample. During the tour, experience some traditional storytelling and explore the significance of whisky to the Scottish identity. The entire upper floor of the venue is reserved, so there is plenty of space and privacy to conduct the story-orientated evening.

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What people are saying about Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 42,566 reviews

Jordan, our guide, was very good! He engaged us with wonderful stories and knowledge. He was both interesting and humourous!! I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, would recommend it. Thank you Jordan for being such an entertaining and enthusiastic guide.

The tour was excellent. David was engaging and friendly and made it an enjoyable time even in the rain. My 2 teenage sons rated it as one of their favorite parts of our trip to Edinburgh. Recommended!

Naomi was an amazing and insightful guide, thank you so much for goving us such a lovely introduction at our first time in Edinburgh!

Very interesting. Learning about the history of Edinburgh and buildings.

Such good fun… engaging and entertaining Your guide was excellent