Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Edinburgh Tours

A handy round up all the best tours in Edinburgh to make the most of your time when you go into town.

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.

Mercat Tours

Mercat Tours Candlelit Historical Man

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. 

Bus Tours

Bright Bus Tours

Bright Bus Tours Launch

Arthur no longer has the best seat in town!

Thistle be good! Bright Bus Tours has arrived in Edinburgh, a brand new hop-on hop-off service offering multilingual commentary written by an Edinburgh local.

Look out for the bright orange buses and their friendly street team 7 days a week in the heart of Edinburgh. Hop on at any stop, or find them on Waverley Bridge.

Tickets are valid for 24 hours, and an adult ticket is only £10. Buy your ticket now at brightbustours.com.

Rabbie's City Tours

Rabbies City Tours
Rabbie’s Edinburgh City Tours cruise around town in a cool glass-roofed mini-coach convertible. The two hour tours explore all of Edinburgh’s top sights and also go a little further afield to lesser known beauty spots such as the Dean Bridge and St Mary’s Cathedral. It’s a fantastic introduction to Edinburgh with family-friendly audio commentary done from the perspective of a spritely local.

Rabbie’s City Tours depart 09:45, 12:15, and 15:15 from Waterloo Place.

Edinburgh Bus Tours 

Bus Tour Edinburgh City Sightseeing

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 second most visited paid for attraction in Scotland and has earned 5 stars in Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance scheme. 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 live guided Edinburgh Tour acts as a great introduction to both the Old and the New Town and their City Sightseeing Tour offers multi –lingual commentary as well as a special Horrible Histories  commentary, written and narrated by author Terry Deary it has been known to have children, of all ages, rub their hands together with gruesome glee. Hop on the Majestic Tour to head north of the city centre towards the coast and enjoy some real royal gems including the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Voted the top hop-on hop-off experience in the world on Tripadvisor, you can ride on the Majestic Tour, Edinburgh Tour and City Sightseeing Tour as part of the Royal Edinburgh Ticket. Find out more >

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.

Literary Tours

The Writers Museum

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

Bruntsfield

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. 

Trike Tours

Trike Tours Scotland Side View

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. 

Photo Tours

Arthurs Seat View

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 a professional photographer? 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/

Running Tours

Run The Sights Inline

Want to keep fit during your trip to Edinburgh? Then lace up your trainers and get in touch with the team at Run the SightsRun the Sights is a local Edinburgh business, overflowing with passion for running and exploring our beautiful city. Run like a local and take in all the best sights in Scotland's capital. 

Film Tours 

Reel Edinburgh Tour Tom Riddle

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.

Discover other unmissable things to see and do in Edinburgh >