A charming Scottish Pub,© Image belongs to us
© Image belongs to us

Tolbooth Tavern

Royal Mile
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The famous Tolbooth Tavern, on Edinburgh's Royal Mile

Starter at Tolbooth Tavern
  • Starter at Tolbooth Tavern
  • Mushrooms on toast
  • Blurry image of dish
  • Steak pie with chips and carrots
  • Chicken burger
  • Fish and chips
  • Mac n cheese
  • Cheesecake
  • Cranachan
  • Sticky toffee pudding


With over 200 years of Scottish Hospitality, The Tolbooth Tavern is the perfect spot to slake your thirst and satisfy a hunger, whether you’ve taken the tourist trail, just finished a hard day’s graft or are simply looking for a relaxing dinner experience in Edinburgh, centrally located on the Canongate towards the bottom of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

The Tolbooth Tavern in Edinburgh is part of the original Canongate Tolbooth which was built in 1591.

This medieval building was used to collect tolls from travellers entering the burgh at the Canongate. The ground floor became The Tolbooth Tavern in 1820.

The building was used to collect tolls from travellers entering the burgh but has also served as a Council Chamber, Police Court and Prison.

The Prison was tenanted by those who suffered in the cause of liberty and many of its captives were wrongly detained and brutally treated. A suspected warlock is thought to have been exorcised here by the lay successor to the Abbots of Holyrood, Sir Lewis Bellenden. The unfortunate soul was so terrified by the fierce preacher he is said to have died of right soon after the experience.

In 1654 Oliver Cromwell's guard detained several Scottish enemies of the State in the building but the Tolbooth's walls could not hold them and they made their escape using strips of blanket as rope lowering themselves to freedom from the upper floor. The Covenanters were also imprisoned in the Tolbooth's cells, between 1861 and 1688.

Many of the prisoners were sent to the plantations of the Caribbean for seven years hard labour. After this period, they could return to Scotland or remain in the colony, however, before their departure all the captives were marked so they could not escape their past.

…and if this doesn’t give you Goosebumps…

The rear section of the pub was originally built as housing c.1750 and was still used for this purpose into the early 20th century and while this area of the establishment is not as old as the front many people find it the most eerie and have claimed to feel a presence.

The front area became a tavern in 1820 with the rear area following suit some 100 years later and has traded in this fashion up to the present day.

Key Information

Opening Times








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Key Features

Accessible Parking


Pets Welcome


Payment Methods

Credit Card

Debit Card



Internet Access


Accessible Parking

Coach Parking


Public Parking Nearby



Lunch Available

Evening Meal Available


Pets Welcome


Baby Changing Facilities


Cuisine Types


Dietary Options

Vegetarian Meals available

Vegan Meals Available

Gluten Free

Dairy Free


City Centre

Nearby to Tolbooth Tavern

Approximate duration and distances shown are from Tolbooth Tavern.

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