Edinburgh offers a fantastic range of tours to acquaint, educate, entertain and terrorise the capital. From bus tours to ghost tours and even running tours for the more energetic, there is always something to see and do throughout the year.
In one handy page, we have gathered up a selection of tours available for something different to do for a day or night out.
Edinburgh Ghost Tours
The Real Mary King's Close
One of Edinburgh’s most renowned ghost stories comes from the Real Mary King’s Close. For those who haven’t been, we shan’t divulge the tale but as one of Edinburgh’s most frequently visited attractions a tour through the dark, narrow underground passageways winding below the city streets will enthral and educate with stories of plagues, murders and mysteries.
In addition to their murky underground tours, the Real Mary King's Close now offers an overground walking tour so you can find out even more about Edinburgh's dark past. This new offering takes in some of the Old Town's most iconic sites, including the Mercat Cross and St Gile's Cathedral. On the tour you'll discover how the residents of Edinburgh tried to keep crime out of the city walls, learn why execution north of the border had a slight advantage, get to grips with trading and local life as well as hear stories of the more infamous inhabitants of these historic streets. Running four times daily at 13:15, 14:15, 15:15 and 16:15hrs, the hour long tour give you flexibility to go and come back between tours. The overground tour is available to those on a standard underground tour and is £5 on top of a standard tour ticket. Please note the overground walking tour is not available during August due to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival activities on the Royal Mile.
Doomed, Dead and Buried – the ultimate ghost tour experience. If you dare, join the quivering cast from Mercat Tours and discover the haunted ghouls and cursed spirits that lurk in Blair Street Underground Vaults and the haunted corners of Canongate graveyard. Not for the faint hearted. Mercat Tours provide a splendid selection of murky, dark tales of ghostly apparitions and tales of woe across a variety of tours all wonderfully presented by award winning tour guides who bring the past to life in a ghoulish manner, but injected with a little humour.
Mercat Tours also run historical tours across the Old Town which will thrill, entertain and inform you of Edinburgh’s spellbinding past. Organising an event or would like an exclusive tour? Give them a call and they’ll be happy to organise a bespoke tour.
Rabbie's City Tours
Rabbie’s City Tours depart hourly from Waverley Bridge.
Edinburgh Bus Tours
Bus tours are a great way to get an overall feel for the city and with a super range of tours on offer Edinburgh Bus Tours is the third most popular attraction in Edinburgh. What could be better than taking in the sights than sitting high on the top of an open top bus to capture the best views across the city.
Their renowned Edinburgh Tour acts as a great introduction to both the Old and the New Town and their City Sightseeing Tour with tales of Horrible Histories has been known to have small children rub their hands together with gruesome glee. The World Heritage Tour brings Edinburgh’s colourful history to life with contrasting tales of times gone by and their Majestic Tour will take you outwith the city centre to enjoy some real royal gems including the Royal Botanic Garden and the Royal Yacht Britannia. The Mac City Tours is another popular choice revealing the highlights of Edinburgh's Old Town aboard an open-top vintage bus.
Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour
Everyone loves a ghost story, and the Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour promises to have you sitting on the edge of your seat as it takes you on a dark, winding journey across the city, regaling you with tales of robbers, murderers and madness. Sprinkled with high drama and comedy you are guaranteed a spooktacular tour.
Edinburgh has been the home and inspiration of many great writers over the years. Since the first scribes of Sir Walter Scott to the film cuts of JK Rowling’s infamous Harry Potter books we have been blessed with literary heroes.
With a variety of literary tours available, locals can now step in the shoes of their favourite writers and discover the city through their eyes. A great place to start is the website of the Edinburgh City of Literature who have a superb range of events and tours designed to educate, entertain and amuse audiences.
Ian Rankin fans can have a go at piecing together the dark and mysterious jigsaw puzzles that make up Inspector Rebus case studies. Rebus Tours will give you the opportunity to not only visit the scene of the crime but also enjoy some of Edinburgh’s beautiful scenery and discover unexplored areas.
The very popular Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour is an informative and highly entertaining tour conducted by professional actors. Clart (as in clarty as in dirt and grime) and his intellectual companion McBrain will take you on a comedy drama through the twists and turns of the courtyards and pubs in Edinburgh’s Old and New Town.
Edinburgh Book Lover’s Tour travels through time zones and infiltrates the city’s ancient wynds, closes and graveyards. From historical writers to today’s favourites, there is something to suit all tastes.
The Scottish Parliament Literature Tour invites you to discover its links with literature over the generations from former famous writers to popular authors today.
Golfing Tours in Edinburgh
If you are looking for the ultimate golf experience, Edinburgh boasts a wealth of superb courses. If the idea of having someone plan a day's or even a week's golfing in the capital appeals, with the added bonus that they will book everything from chauffeur car hire to the swankiest restaurants then the Ultimate Golf Service is on hand to do just that.
They will discuss your golfing skills and find the courses best suited to your abilities, taking into account your desire for sea views or stunning skyscapes.
Who could resist an exhilarating tour of the city in a motorised trike complete with super cool leathers and hi-tech helmet with integrated sound system?
A real head turner, Trike Tours experienced chauffeur will whizz you over city streets and bump you over cobbles whilst highlighting all the well known landmarks and pointing out some favourite hidden gems. Edinburgh tours include a Trike Tour and Photo Shoot capturing the best of the city centre to Cramond and back; a Trike Whisky Tour and even a Fish and Chip Tour to name but a few.
Be sure to check out their website to book a unique city centre sightseeing tour.
Photography enthusiast? Edinburgh is a beautiful city and lends itself to stunning images of grand Georgian Streets, a beautiful cityscape, gorgeous gardens and quirky alleyways. What better way to explore the city and capture its magic than behind the lens of a camera with someone to help you pick out the key spots for creating a memorable photo gallery.
See Edinburgh in a new light with Iconic Edinburgh Photo Tours. What better way to learn to get the best out of your camera whilst touring the city than in the experienced hands of local photographers who have exhibited worldwide and worked for Lonely Planet. Find out how to compose the perfect photo, hear the stories behind the places being photographed and learn photography skills to take on all your travels to come. All camera types are welcome from smart phones to DSLR.
Upload your images to our Edinburgh Gallery
This is Edinburgh has created its own Edinburgh Gallery to showcase images of Edinburgh taken by photography enthusiasts of all ages. To upload your images to our gallery, simply use #edinphoto and post your image to Twitter. (Top Tip: avoid using an owly link. Our system doesn’t like these). Have a glance at our gorgeous gallery taken by you: /discover/edinburgh-gallery/
[Image credit: @EdinRunTours Twitter]
Running fans will be delighted to learn of Edinburgh Run Tours. Ensuring you combine fitness with sightseeing, Edinburgh Run Tours will lead you on a tour through or around this beautiful city. Their personalised running tours are tailor made to suit your fitness levels, preferred time of day, distance and to encompass any sights you wish to see. Rain, hail or shine (this can all happen within the space of an hour here in Edinburgh) Lucja Leonard will lead you on your way whatever the weather.
The Reel Edinburgh Tour is one of the latest tours to open in the city. Join projectionist Ally and usherette Cally as they take to the streets on a whistle-stop tour of Edinburgh's cinematic past, present and future, encountering faithful dogs, idiosyncratic teachers, boy wizards and a host of other characters in a city that's a real-life movie set.
From Greyfriars Bobby and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to Trainspotting and Sunshine On Leith (via the works of a certain Ms Rowling), you’ll learn about the surprising and sometimes unsung contribution Edinburgh has made to both British and world cinema.
The first-ever walking tour dedicated to Edinburgh’s appearances on the silver screen, The Reel Edinburgh Tour has been created by actors Mark Kydd and Laverne Edmonds as an affectionate tribute to our city and its love of cinema and cinema-going.