Finally, a list of the 10 Best Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland!
Tours in Edinburgh – 1. Edinburgh Castle
When you get to Edinburgh Castle, you’ll get to see inside the old castle walls, hear about the history of the castle, and enjoy unparalleled views across Edinburgh.
You get a free, 30 minute castle tour with your ticket to the castle! No trip to Edinburgh is complete without visiting the castle, it’s a MUST SEE.
Our castle is perched on top of the extinct volcano, Castle Rock. This dramatic setting means the Edinburgh Castle has impenetrable cliffs on three sides. Despite being so hard to get to, the castle has been conquered several times throughout history, and parts of it have even been destroyed. Your tour guide will help you picture life back when this happened.
After your free 30 minute tour, you’ll be free to explore the castle until it closes.
2. The Haunted Vaults
In this tour, you’ll get to see Edinburgh’s most haunted vaults. This tour is perfect for a peek into the city’s ghostly past and you’ll get to see in the underground vaults of Edinburgh’s old town!
The history of the Underground Vaults involves the deeds of mischief-makers, drug abusers, murderers, vagrants, and torturers. It’s one of Edinburgh’s most haunted sites, where the restless spirits sometimes still come out to play!
Your guide will steer you through the shadowy closes of Edinburgh’s Old Town. These are dark streets that have never seen the light of day, filled with a creepy silence… The damp walls faintly echo the sounds from the streets above.
With the scene set, you’ll descend into the depths of Edinburgh’s underground and listen in horror to its evil side. Hangings. Beatings. Murder. Disease. Death.
Tours in Edinburgh – 3. Colinton Dell Tour
Enjoy the Colinton Village and Colinton Dell Tour with our tour guide and resident, Matthew. Matthew moved to Colinton in 2013 and fell in love with the area. This is the only tour where you’ll learn the real, unedited version of Matthew’s story. From living a life of prosperity and travel to bankruptcies, business failures and corporate theft leaving him indebted, homeless and hungry. You’ll learn the tale of how he bounced back from this and turned his life around!
On the Colinton tour you’ll get to see the Robert Louis Stevenson poems and statues and learn the history his life. Colinton Parish Church, Spylaw Street Bridge. You’ll get to see the first 2 residences of our tour guide Matthew. You’ll learn stories of
attempted break ins, cowboy builders, crazy parties, drug abuse, drug trafficking, fights, guns, ghosts and near jail experiences! You’ll get to learn, directly from the source, the true and untold Scottish Wolf of Wall Street story, never been told anywhere else!
Colinton Dell Tour continued…
Next on the tour you’ll go to Spylaw House. Spylaw House was built in 1773 as the home of snuff manufacturer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, James Gillespie. The remains of the snuff-mill, powered by the Water of Leith are incorporated into the rear of the building. The snuff was sold out of a shop run by James Gillespie’s brother on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. During James Gillespie’s life, he amassed a fortune. As he didn’t have any decedents, Gillespie donated his money to create a hospital and a school for poor boys. This school, James Gillespie’s High School, is now known as one of the best state run schools in Scotland! His contributions have created a massive ripple effect even hundreds of years later!
Next on the tour, you’ll get to have a relaxed walk throughout the beautiful Colinton Dell. This is, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful parts of Edinburgh. On the walk you’ll learn more about the history of the area, have plenty of photo opportunities and time to ask questions.
You can check availability for our Colinton Tours here –
4. Edinburgh Bus Tour
On the Edinburgh bus tour, you’ll get to enjoy the best of Scotland’s capital. It’s great because you can hop on and off at any time! You’ll get to see Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, the Royal Yacht Britannia and best of all, it’s available in 10 different languages. Your ticket will be valid for 24 hours, giving you enough time to explore the things you like hearing about. The bus tour operates every day except Christmas.
Tours in Edinburgh – 5. Mary King’s Close
The Real Mary King’s Close is hidden near the Royal Mile. The tour is fantastic and a true 5 star experience!
You’ll learn the myths and mysteries that surround the Close and its warren of streets, homes, and passageways. Unlock the secrets of Edinburgh’s only preserved street from the 1600’s and wander through a labyrinth of Old Town alleyways. You’ll learn the stories of the people that lived, worked and died here.
6. Malt Whisky Day Tour From Edinburgh
Scotch whisky is ingrained within Scottish culture. If there’s one thing Scottish people like, it’s getting absolutely reekin’ (drunk).
The ancient Scots used whisky it to heal common ailments and stay warm throughout the winter. Research now tells us that alcohol reduces your body temperature however from our experience it makes you care less about how cold you are. Today, Scottish whisky exports make up 1/4 of the UK’s international food and drink exports.
On the tour, you’ll visit Glengoyne distillery and also Deanston distillery. It’s fascinating and well worth it if you love whisky or alcohol.
The best part for us is that you’ll get to visit one of the most famous lochs in the whole of Scotland at the Loch Lomond National Park!
Tours in Edinburgh – 7. The Edinburgh Harry Potter Tour
You’ll take many stops on the Harry Potter Edinburgh Tour. These include:
- Spoon Cafe Bistro, 6A Nicolson St. This is where J.K. Rowling wrote the first few chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.
J.K. Rowling’s brother-in-law used to own The Spoon Cafe in the 90’s when it was called Nicolson’s Cafe (on the second floor). They don’t tell people that J.K. Rowling wrote here as they’re worried that their many local customers would be scared away from all the tourists such as at the Elephant Cafe.
- Potterrow – This street could be the direct inspiration behind the name Harry Potter.
- George Heriot’s School – Built in the late 17th century, Heriot’s is one of the most magnificent buildings in Edinburgh with the turrets and a glass roof. Heriot’s is said to have provided inspiration for Hogwarts and the house system.
- Just off Candlemaker Row is the Greyfriars Kirkyard. Here you’ll find the grave of Tim Riddell, the inspiration behind Voldemort’s real identity of Tom Marvolo Riddle (Which re-arranged spells I am Lord Voldemort). You’ll also find William McGonagall.
- Diagon House on Victoria Street – Victoria Street is one of the alleged inspirations for Diagon Alley and Diagon House stocks official Harry Potter merchandise.
Edinburgh Harry Potter Tour continued…
- The Elephant House – Across the George IV Bridge you’ll find the most sought after location on any Harry Potter tour in Edinburgh! The Elephant House! Don’t forget to leave your Harry Potter graffiti in the bathroom :). Remember – Dobby is a free elf!
- The Writers Museum, Lawnmarket – The museum features many famous Scots writers such as Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and of course the adopted J.K. Rowling. Here you can find sketches and annotations from the first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!
- City Chambers – J.K. Rowling’s hand print’s are on the ground at the City Chambers for winning the Edinburgh award! For everything she’s done for Scottish literature!
- J.K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in room 552 on 11th January 2007. If you want to stay in this room, it’s £1000 per night #nerdgoals.
If you want to go on a free Harry Potter Edinburgh Tour, CLICK HERE.
8. The Old/New Town Tour
You’ll love our Edinburgh Old/New Town Tour! Learn more about the history of Edinburgh and it’s journey through time! Click here for more information.
Tours in Edinburgh – 9. The Scotch Whisky Experience
Assisted by our experienced guides at McIntyre Gallery, you’ll be able to sip like a true connoisseur, and compare the regions to find your favourite whisky.
The tour includes:
- Tasting 4 single malt Scotch whiskies
- Membership to the Scotch Whisky Appreciation Society (1 year)
- Discounts within the bar, restaurant and shop during your membership
- 18+ only
You can also upgrade to get more cool things on your Scotch Whisky Experience!
10. The Royal Yacht Brittania
You’ll follow in the footsteps of Royalty when you step aboard this famous ship! When you arrive, you’ll get a free audio guide, available in 30 languages.
Aboard the Royal Yacht and you’ll get to see where Prince William and Prince Harry spent their summer holidays! Kings, Queens, world leaders and celebrities have wined and dined on this Yacht! From Frank Sinatra and Liz Taylor to Nelson Mandela and Sir Winston Churchill. Book your tickets by clicking here.