In one handy page, we have gathered up a selection of tours available for something different to do for a day or night out.
Please note, due to Covid-19, a lot of businesses are unable at present to offer tours or have altered tour arrangements. Please check websites and contact directly to confirm current availability and procedures.
Distillery and Brewery Tours
Whether you’re a whisky, gin, rum or beer fan, or simply interested in the magical science behind the process of brewing and distilling, there are numerous places in the city you can visit as part of a guided tour (and sample a few glasses!)
Roof Top Tours
(photo credit: Veronika Kallus)
On a clear day on the roof of St Giles’ Cathedral, the panoramic views of the surrounding hills punctuated by the spires and towers of Edinburgh are not to be missed. Even on a rainy day, a bird’s eye view of the Royal Mile provides a unique photo opportunity of Edinburgh Castle all the way down to Holyroodhouse.
The tour of the rooftop also gives visitors a rare glimpse into how the cathedral has been altered and extended over the years. Visitors will be able to get close up to the famous 50-meter-high crown spire and learn some of the more interesting occurrences at St Giles’. You’ll hear all sorts of tales about the tower and even stand where prisoners would have stood when the tower was used as a jail.
The home of Scottish Rugby since 2915, BT Murrayfield is one of the largest sports venue in Scotland and has played host to some of the world's greatest rugby moments.
Lasting approximately 90 minutes, you really get to see behind the scenes of the iconic venue - learning about the preparations for international matches; seeing some of Scottish Rugby’s memorabilia including the Calcutta Cup; stepping onto the set in the TV Studio and learning about the famous Voice of Rugby in the Bill McLaren Press Gallery. To complete the tour, you can take a walk through the famous and atmospheric tunnel, visit the Scotland changing room and take in the unique pitch side.
Fans of Heart of Midlothian Football Club (Hearts) can experience exclusive behind the scenes access on a tour of the club’s Tynecastle Park in Gorgie. On this family friendly tour, you get the opportunity to see where the players prepare for a match; have your picture taken at the media board where pre and post-match interviews are filmed; experience the emotive run out of the tunnel; as well as experience for yourself the press seats and the dugouts at pitch side.
At the other side of the city, Hibernian Football Club (Hibs) offer fans the opportunity to immerse in the rich and cultured history of the team’s history with a tour hosted by the Club Historian and Trust Curator. Walk through the dressing rooms and tunnel, see rare Hibernian shirts and artefacts on display in the Board Room and take in each of the stadium’s stands.
Electric Bike Tours
Recently established EZ Bike Tours offer bicycle tour and hire using award winning electric bikes from Radpower Bike, the first in the UK to be used for tours. Reliable, comfortable and stylish, the bikes can be ridden by anyone over 14 years old. They also have two longtail that can carry two infants on the rear - the first bicycle tour company in Edinburgh to offer this service. Offering both a city tour which takes in both the Old and New Town, Carlton Hill and Arthur's Seat, and a coastal tour which follows the coastline to South Queensferry, they’re an easy and fun way to explore Edinburgh on 2 wheels.
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.
Join your tour guide as they unlock the secrets of Edinburgh’s only preserved 17thcentury street and discover for yourself the stories of the people who lived, worked, and died here.
They also a range of bespoke packages for groups – see website for further details.
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 a range of History Walks 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.
Tour Guide Tales
Want to know even more about the gory and ghostly past of Edinburgh? In this edition of Tour Guide Tales, Grant speaks to Tania Dron, just one of the tour guides for Mercat Tours in Scotland’s capital. From jealousy-fuelled murder and dismembered ghosts, to witch trials and cheating death at the gallows, you’ll never feel the same when walking through Edinburgh’s streets again.
*Please be aware that this episode will occasionally feature more macabre themes of torture and death and listener discretion is advised.*
Bright Bus Tours
Arthur no longer has the best seat in town!
Thistle be good! Bright Bus Tours has arrived in Edinburgh, offeriing a hop-on hop-off service with multilingual commentary, all 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. Tour starts from St Andrew's square. Hop on at any stop, or find them at St Andrew's Square or Waverley Bridge. Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice 2021.
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 second most popular paid-for attraction in Scotland (2019), and has earned 5 stars in Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance scheme. What could be better than taking in the sights and capturing the best views across the city in an open top bus?
Their renowned live guided Edinburgh Tour acts as a great introduction to both the Old and the New Town and City Sightseeing Edinburgh offers multi –lingual commentary as well as a special Horrible Histories commentary, written and narrated by author Terry Deary – guaranteed 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.
3 Bridges Bus and Boat Tour – the perfect half day experience out of the city centre, enjoy a live guided tour to Queensferry then board a Forth Cruise for a 90 minute tour, marvelling at the 3 iconic bridges, the Edinburgh and Fife coastline and the seabirds and seals who will watch you go by.
Awarded both a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and a Regional Thistle Award from VisitScotland, you can take the city tours from St Andrew Square or plan your day with attraction details, a map and live timing at each stop by downloading the new APP.
Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour
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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.
The very popular Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour is an informative and highly entertaining tour conducted by professional actors. Clart (as in clarty, meaning dirty or unclean) 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.
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 Edinburgh Photo Walks. What better way to learn how 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 and learn photography skills to take on all your travels to come.
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Want to keep fit during your trip to Edinburgh? Then lace up your trainers and get in touch with the team at Run the Sights, 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