Folklore and Myth in Edinburgh

St Anthonys Chapel Holyrrod Park

From spellbinding tales of the famous boy wizard to mystical horned creatures, Edinburgh streets, closes and hills are packed to the gunnels with stories of magical myths and fantastic folklore that will leave you enthralled, intrigued and desperate for more. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, we’ll begin - join us as we explore some of Edinburgh’s most enchanting tales and plan a trip to experience them for yourselves…...

 

 

 

Unicorns in Edinburgh

St Giles Cathedral In Evening Sun

Did you know that Scotland’s national animal is the mythical unicorn?

Escape to the land of make believe and see how many you can spot on our Edinburgh Unicorn Trail >

 

The Boy Wizard

Victoria Street Christmas Lights View Up Street

In June 1997 an unknown author named JK Rowling released her first novel and introduced the world to Muggles, Quidditch, The Marauder's Map and Pumpkin Juice. Since then, stories of life, love, friendship, loyalty and destiny – and a bit of magic – have kept us hooked.

Whether you fancy getting spooked by "He who must not be named" in Greyfriar's Kirkyard, or while away the afternoon sipping lattes in the cafés that J.K. Rowling frequented when she was penning the novels, Edinburgh is filled with Harry Potter adventures that will last a lifetime.

Get a real sense of Hogwarts and the Wizarding World in The Ultimate Harry Potter Guide to Edinburgh

 

Man’s Best Friend

Grey Friars Bobby Statue

A Skye Terrier who spent over 14 years guarding the grave of his beloved owner, the heartfelt tale of Greyfriars Bobby is one of the city’s best known and most loved stories.

Discover the story of this faithful wee pup in our guide to Greyfriars Bobby

 

Edinburgh's Mythical Dragons

Arthurs Seat Holyrood Park

Edinburgh may be well for the unicorns which decorate the city but look closely and you'll find tales of ferocious fire-breathing dragons!

Discover more in our guide to Edinburgh's Mythical Dragons

 

Discover Edinburgh's Haunted Past

Greyfrairs Graveyard Sunset And Castle

Renowned as one of the most haunted places in Europe, we have some spine-chilling tales from the darker corners of the city’s history that we’re just dying to share with you - some of which you may want to read with the lights on!

Join us as we take a wander through the city’s graveyards, spooky attractions and hidden streets and discover Edinburgh's Haunted past >

 

Make your own stories in Edinburgh

Mercat Tour Guide 736X360

If these stories of magic, intrigue and legend have piqued your curiosity and you want to delve deeper into Edinburgh’s tales, here are some suggestions to get you started on your own voyage of discovery:

Edinburgh International Magic Festival: Founded in 2010, EIMF is an annual festival that promotes magic as an art form and celebrates the limitless possibilities of human imagination. With events taking place across Edinburgh, the festival also aims to produce new work which celebrates the city’s heritage in innovative and exciting ways.

Dead by Dawn: Scotland's international horror film festival takes place each year at Edinburgh Filmhouse. Showcasing a mix of premieres, classics and short films, this is one for those that like a jump or two in their stories!

Mercat Tours: Join the award-winning guides of Mercat Tours for a history walk or ghost tour - the perfect introduction to historical Edinburgh.

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival: Taking place in October each year, SISF is inspired by the Scottish ceilidh tradition of togetherness – a community gathering full of tales, anecdotes, music, songs and ballads.

The People's Story Museum: Taken from oral history reminiscences and written sources to tell real stories, The People's Story gives a unique insight into Edinburgh's working class people from the 18th century to the late 20th century.

Edinburgh Book Lover’s Tour: Travel through time and infiltrate the city’s ancient wynds, closes and graveyards.  From historical writers to today’s favourites, there’s something to suit all tastes.