The picturesque, cobbled streets of Edinburgh carry a dark history of torture, body-snatching and witchcraft – all of which can be discovered during a guided ghost tour.
With the Scottish capital also a major hub for local thespians, the atmospheric setting and believable characters combine to create immersive ghost tours that are hugely popular with visitors to the city. 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 you back in time to the city’s past. Here are five of the best Edinburgh ghost tours currently on offer.
Haunted Underground Vaults and Graveyard Tour
Explore the ghostly streets of Edinburgh on this 1.5-hour walking tour. Your guide will set shivers down your spine with creepy stories of yore as you discover notoriously haunted sites such as the Greyfriars Kirkyard and Edinburgh Vaults. At the former, you’ll learn about the legend of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died. At the vaults, located in the arches of South Bridge, you’ll hear about regular paranormal occurrences and how some of the characters from history have never really left. From $15 per person.
Ghost Bus Tour of Edinburgh
Many opt to wander the haunted streets of the city solo, but you might feel safer enjoying the tales and sights from your seat on a double-decker vintage bus. This atmospheric tour starts in the evening and takes you through the city’s dimming scenery, from the famous Edinburgh castle, down the cobbled Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace and Greyfriars Kirk cemetery. Over one hour, your guide will direct you through the streets and take you back in time with anecdotes about the characters, executions, torture and murders that once took place here. From £21 per person.
Extreme Paranormal Underground Ghost Tour
Billed as being suited only to the intrepid, brave and not easily spooked, this after-dark walk around Scotland’s capital will give you a night to remember. Over the course of an hour and a bit, you’ll follow your guide, kitted out in full period costume for the occasion, into the Underground Vaults where strange stuff invariably happens come night fall. Here, you’ll listen to stories that may well leave you suffering sleepless nights. There’ll also be a stop off at a graveyard, reachable by walking down spine-tingling old alleyways. From £18 per person.
Underground Vaults Evening Ghost Tour with Whisky
A strong glass of whisky is always useful for settling the nerves – and you’ll certainly be thankful for a wee dram at the end of this fear-inducing tour. Thankfully that’s just what you’ll get after your two-hour guided city walking tour of Edinburgh’s most spooky spots comes to a close. Following closely behind your cloaked guide, you’ll venture into the city’s underground vaults and share haunted tales over a much-needed drink in a candle-lit cellar, listening to fascinating folklore that brings your atmospheric surroundings to life. From £25 per person.
Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends
Haunting urban myths, eerie graveyards and nightfall cityscapes; this tour invites you to spend two hours exploring all aspects of the city’s eerie 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 commentary and stop-offs that will transport you back in time. From £21 per person.