Edinburgh Historical Walking Tour Including Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle
Meet your knowledgeable guide at Mercat Cross on High Street, one of the Royal Mile's four 'sections'. At this central meeting place, townspeople and merchants once gathered to hear royal proclamations and pick up local gossip.
Follow your guide into Old Town’s maze of cobblestone streets and concealed courtyards. Learn about the city’s ‘closes,’ cramped alleywaysl, and ‘wynds,’ narrow lanes between houses.
Your venture down the Royal Mile includes a feast of entertaining stories from Edinburgh’s past. Hear about the life of Deacon Brodie, town councilman by day, thief by night, which inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Take a look at the tightly clustered tenement buildings of Old Town, some reaching 14 stories. It is said people on the higher floors could reach out and shake hands with their neighbors in the opposite building, whereas people below kept their ears open for warnings of ‘Gardyloo!' — you’ll find out what this means.
Stop before the formidable St Giles’ Cathedral, formally known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, the cradle of Scottish Reformation during the 16th century. As you gaze up at the crown steeple, listen to dramatic historical tales involving Protestant Reformers, brave Covenanters and the fiery Jenny Geddes who threw her chair at a bishop, an act that supposedly started a riot that led to a war.
In Parliament Square, stand before the House built in 1641 and hear about the Great Fire of 1824. Admire the 15th-century craftsmanship of John Knox House while learning of its role in the turbulent abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots.
From Lawnmarket, the oldest part of Old Town, walk up Castlehill to the ceremonial parade ground called the Esplanade, which boasts commanding views of the city.
Then, enter Scotland’s most famous historic attraction: Edinburgh Castle. This castle has witnessed a number of bloody battles, including the War of Independence between the Scots and English in the 14th Century. Learn about its remarkable history on a 45 minute guide tour of the grounds.
After the tour concludes, you can move through the rooms and see wonders like the Honours of Scotland, the oldest crown jewels in the United Kingdom, and the Stone of Destiny, the coronation seat of ancient kings. You can also visit St Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh’s oldest building, and its military museums.
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Secrets of Edinburgh's Royal Mile Afternoon Walking Tour
- Walking tour
- Local guide
- Entry to Edinburgh Castle
- Gratuities (optional)
- Hotel pickup and drop off
- Food and drinks, unless specified
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Minimum age is 5 years
If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee.
If you cancel within 2 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.
Reviewed by: Kevin M, July 2016
Our tour guide Margaret was absolutely amazing! The Tour was deeply informative and made our visit to Edinburgh come alive with its rich history and secret gems. If you are travelling to Edinburgh, a Mercat historical walking tour is a MUST.
Kevin and Jessica
Reviewed by: fly4846, July 2016
Excellent start to my week in Edinburgh - although the weather was rainy and cold, the tour guide made this trip fun and informative. We saw a lot of interesting sights in the tour and learned a lot that I would not have been able to learn on my own. The Castle was a highlight of the tour - don't miss! Her commentary was great, and added a nice perspective to the tour. I was able to go back the next day and revisit some of the sights again with a better understanding of the history. Highly recommend!