1 February 2023

Spooky attractions in Edinburgh

Skull and Light
Image Credit City of Dead Tours

Considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the UK, Edinburgh’s cobbled streets provide the perfect setting for stories of ghosts and things that go bump in the night.

Whether you want to be mildly spooked or chilled to the bone - or simply want to learn more about the gory, spooky and curious stories from Edinburgh’s past - there are a variety of attractions in the city to choose from. So, read on, if you dare………

  • Tip 1: Embrace the thrill, dress up, and join the fun!

  • Tip 2: Capture spooky memories with eerie selfies and group photos. Share these with us using #ForeverEdinburgh

  • Tip 3 Explore hidden details for unexpected surprises.

City of the Dead Tours

Famous for

Its spine-tingling expeditions into Edinburgh’s haunted past, revealing ghostly tales and eerie legends.

Bobby's Bothy
Image Credit: City of Dead Tours

If you want professional entertainers, fascinating history and terrifying tales, then a tour by City of the Dead is for you. Offering three tours with access to some of the most haunted places in Edinburgh, it’s sure to be a night to remember!

(These tours are not suitable for under 12’s, pregnant women, anyone with a heart condition or difficulty walking).

Taking place underground in South Bridge Vaults, also known, rather ominously, as Damnation Alley, the Underground City of the Dead Tour explores the depths of the city that are reputedly stalked by a malevolent spirit known as the South Bridge Entity. Or choose the Haunted Graveyard Tour, which includes access to the Black Mausoleum in Greyfriars Graveyard – home of the world famous Mackenzie Poltergeist. Hundreds of people claim to have encountered MacKenzie on this tour. You have been warned! If you’re still up for more jumps, then maybe their Double Dead Tour is for you. As the name suggests, this tour is doubly frightening, taking guests to two of the city’s most haunted locations – the South Bridge Vaults and the Covenanter’s Prison.

Mercat Tours

Famous for

Spine-chilling ghost tours, offering a thrilling exploration of Edinburgh’s haunted history.

Mercat Tours, Family

In the words of Mercat Tour’s Storytellers, ‘History is a damn good story, what it needs is a damn good telling’. Voted one of Scotland’s top 11 attractions, this 5-star walking tour company is a great place to start if you want to learn more about Edinburgh’s secrets. Whether you choose one of their history or ghost tours, you’ll definitely leave with a new understanding of Edinburgh’s history and its residents.

There are four ghost tours to choose from. Ghostly Underground, as the name implies, takes place beneath Edinburgh’s streets, specifically the 18th century Blair Street Underground Vaults, where you’ll hear tales of mischief-makers, murderers, vagrants and torturers. Please note, these vaults are situated down three flights of stairs. They are on one level but the ground is uneven in parts.

With a darker twist, both Doomed, Dead & Buried and Hidden and Haunted are suitable for 18+ ages only. With a focus on horrific true tales from Edinburgh’s dark history, be prepared for stories of murderers and cursed souls, hard lives and tragic deaths that’ll leave a chill down your spine. If tales of restless spirits are more to your liking, then An Evening Of Ghosts & Ghouls should captivate you. The evening begins with a stroll through the dark closes and wynds of the Old Town before descending into the eerie Blair Street Underground Vaults, ending with a spirit of a different kind – a dram of whisky.

All tours include a TourTalk audio device, allowing visitors to hear the Storyteller using headphones. Hearing aid devices are available on request.

Auld Reekie Tours

Famous for

Its macabre and atmospheric underground tours, delving into the dark and haunted history of Edinburgh.

Auld Reekie Tours

Prepare to be shocked, amused and entertained on a walking tour with Auld Reekie Tours.

Their tours cover many aspects of Edinburgh’s often gory and spooky history, from The Vaults & Graveyard Tour where you’ll hear intriguing stories of its occupants, to tales of 18th century crime, disease and death in The Vaults Tour. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can even hire the vaults overnight and discover for yourself if things really do go bump in the night!

As you work your way through the cobbled, narrow closes of the Old Town, your guide will regale you with spine-chilling tales connected to the historic streets. From there, it’s onto Greyfriars Kirkyard, home to the Mackenzie Poltergeist, and as midnight closes in, you’ll go beneath the streets into the unnerving South Bridge vaults. 

City of Edinburgh Tours

Famous for

Guided tours through Edinburgh’s spookiest past, uncovering fascinating tales and hidden gems at every turn.

For a terror-filled, adults-only, late night ghost tour, The Extreme Paranormal Ghost Tour by City of Edinburgh Tours is one for the bravest of souls!

The vaults are accessed by descending a flight of spiral stairs. The majority of the flooring is level, but there are some uneven cobblestones in one of the chambers.

The Ghost Bus Tours

Famous for

Experiencing the thrill of a haunted adventure on a bus, where you’ll discover Edinburgh’s eeriest legends and chilling spectators.

If you prefer your ghost tours to have something of a more theatrical feel to them, then be sure to check out The Ghost Bus Tours.

Strap yourself into your seat in this 1960s black double-decker bus (which incidentally used to be used for funerals) and you’ll soon find yourself in fits of giggles as the creepy conductor treats you to some quirky horror stories, all while travelling through Edinburgh’s historic streets.

A true comedy-horror theatre experience on wheels, this is a unique way to explore Edinburgh’s gory past (and, for Harry Potter fans, it’s probably the closest you’ll ever come to being on the Knight Bus!)

Surgeons’ Hall Museums

Famous for

A fascinating world of medical history through remarkable discoveries and curiosities of surgical science.

The Dissection Theatre

Once you’ve survived the vaults, witches and ghosts, you may want to take a tour of Surgeons’ Hall Museums.

Owned by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and consisting of The Wohl Pathology MuseumThe History of Surgery Museum and The Dental Collection, these museums are home to one of the largest and most historic pathology collections in the UK.

Highly educational, but not one for the squeamish (expect to see organs and skulls in jars), this fascinating collection is packed to the rafters for those interested in all aspects of the human body and medical history.

There is lift access throughout. Some sections of the museums have hearing loops and where video displays are used, these are subtitled. Assistance dogs are welcome.

The Edinburgh Dungeon

Famous for

A spine-tingling journey through Edinburgh’s darkest history, where immersive shows and interactive experiences bring tales of crime, punishment and the supernatural to life.

The Edinburgh Dungeon

Using live actors, theatrical sets and hair-raising rides, The Edinburgh Dungeon is the ultimate interactive journey through Edinburgh’s darkest history.

Be prepared to scream with fright and laugh out loud as you meet some unsavoury characters, all of whom have mischief on their minds. From murderers Burke and Hare to the Torturer who’s always on the lookout for “volunteers’’ to test his implements on, a trip here is packed with scary fun!

Navigation around the Dungeon is mainly via level pathway, however, some floor surfaces are uneven. Guests should be aware that lighting throughout is very low and that some shows contain flashing lights.

Escape Reality

Famous for

Working together to unravel mysteries and solve thrilling puzzles in an immersive themed environment.

Group photo after Escape Room, Escape Gaming LTD

If you’re up for a challenge, give Escape Reality a go. Working as a team you must use your powers of observation and problem solving to crack the puzzles and identify clues in order to escape before your time is up. The challenges are designed to be played by groups of 2 to 6 and are suitable for children aged 10+.

With everything from a derelict asylum to trying to escape from the clutches of notorious vampire, there’s some unnerving adventures to keep you on your toes!

Discover Edinburgh’s top attractions

From art to museums, experiences to outdoor adventures, Edinburgh has a wealth of attractions just waiting to be explored.

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