The picturesque, cobbled streets of Scotland’s capital harbor a dark history of torture, body-snatching and witchcraft. With the city also a hub for local performers, the setting and characters combine to create immersive ghost tours that are a popular choice for visitors. As you make your way through the streets you’ll frequently glimpse the performers taking their place for an evening of storytelling, preparing to transport back in time to the city’s past.
While you might accidentally find yourself confronted by these ghostly characters, we’ve highlighted some of the tours that will ensure you safely navigate the dark past of the city with each experience offering its own twist on the classic ghost tour.
FROM: €18/per person
Many opt to wander the haunted streets of the city, but you might feel safer enjoying the tales and sights from your seat of this double-decker vintage bus. The atmospheric tour starts in the evening and takes you through city’s dimming scenery: from the famous Edinburgh castle, down the cobbled Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace and Greyfriars Kirk. Over one hour in length, your guide will direct you through the streets and take you back in time with anecdotes of the characters, executions, torture and murder that once took place within the city.
From €11/ per person
Soak up the creative spirit of Edinburgh with your guide Adam Lyal; the executed, 19th century highwayman ensures this tour is a theatrical and engaging experience. Set in alleyways and courtyards of the city’s Old Town, your deceased guide comes back to life to recount experiences of the torture, murder and body snatching. As you explore the winding streets by evening light be sure to prepare for surprise appearances by the ghosts who still haunt them. Stories and tales of the city are endless, and if by the end you haven’t had enough then you’re in luck as this tour includes a book of Witchery Tales authored by your guide.
From €12/ per person
Haunting urban myths, eerie graveyards and nightfall cityscapes; this tour invites you to spend two hours exploring all aspects of the city’s past on foot. Meander through the streets and haunted sites of the Old Town before climbing the city’s Calton Hill where witch trials were once held and pagan rituals continue to be hosted as well as offering panoramic night views of the city. Your guide packs this tour with narratives and sites that will transport you back in time.
From €16/ per person
While performance is a key aspect of the ghost tours of Edinburgh, this tour is for those who are particularly interested in the facts behind the myths. Meet your costumed guide in the evening for a one-hour walking of the Old Town as they recite tales of witchcraft, crime and torture. Included in the tour is entry to the torture museum where instruments from across Europe are displayed and you are able to learn more about 16th Century methods of punishment. You will also visit the network of underground vaults located within the arches of Edinburgh’s South Bridge which, still in their original condition, were once the setting for cruel murders and torture.
From €18/ per person
Tales of ghosts and body-snatchers can be a little chilling and this tour offers the best accompaniment to ease nerves: a dram of Scotch whisky. Like many tours the costumed guide will share stories of the city’s ghastly past and navigate the alleyways before descending below street level to the underground vaults at Blair Street. These candle lit vaults were once the setting for many crimes, so prepare for their past residents to make an appearance before the tour’s final stop at Megget’s Cellar for a glass of Scotland’s national tipple.