Showing a group around Old College. A famous view!  Edinburgh Castle and the Grassmarket.
Edinburgh has been Scotland’s capital city for hundreds of years. If something important happened in Scotland, Edinburgh was often at the centre of it. If something important happened in Edinburgh, it was usually of significance to the rest of the country. This guided walking tour takes you in and around the Old Town part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each story we tell is about a famous historical character. Each of these stories is shared in a location which played a part in that person’s life. You are walking in the footsteps of royals and rogues, murdered and murderers. From Greyfriars Kirkyard to the Grassmarket, the West Bow, the Royal Mile and some of the closes and wynds of the Old Town, this tour gives you a great appreciation of Edinburgh and her fascinating story.
Our 'info at a glance' for this walking tour. Our 'Good to Go' certification from Visit Britain. Tick! We do this!
QUIBBLE-FREE REFUND We offer a full refund if you cancel your tour more than 12 hours before your tour is due to start.
Tick! We do this!
‘GOOD TO GO’ CERTIFICATION We have the Visit Britain ‘Good to Go’ sign that shows we’ve implemented COVID-19 safety features.
Tick! We do this!
FRIENDLY GUIDE - IN A KILT! Robert is your local guide. He was born in Edinburgh and has lived here all his life. He researched all our tours and has an excellent knowledge of Edinburgh’s history.
Tick! We do this!
ACCESSIBILITY OPTIONS If you have someone with mobility issues, please contact us in advance so that we can offer route changes.
Tick! We do this!
PERFECT FOR CHILDREN Robert, your guide, is a qualified primary school teacher and will help keep your children engaged.
Tick! We do this!
CONVENIENCE Your tour is private - you can choose when it starts. You can ask all the questions you want to!
WE’RE GOOD TO GO!

COVID-19 AND YOUR SAFETY

Historic Edinburgh Tours Ltd have successfully achieved the ‘Good to go” standard from Visit Britain which shows we follow current government COVID-19 guidelines and that we have processes in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. You can find out more about our COVID-19 policy here.
Robert has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Edinburgh. His enthusiasm is contagious and we spent a wonderful day seeing the whole center city with him. It was the highlight of our trip and informed everything else we chose to see and do. A great first day in Edinburgh!” EvanstonMama- Tripadvisor - September 2019
AVERAGE TRIPADVISOR RATING FOR THIS TOUR =
Remember, this is your private tour of Edinburgh - you can choose when it starts! We’ve also got some flexibility with distances and elevations on this Old Town walking tour. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss these alternatives. Robert, your local tour guide, wants to give you a tour that is interesting and accessible for you. In this Edinburgh walking tour, all your locations will take place within Edinburgh’s Old Town. We’ve outlined all the story possibilities for your tour. We may not cover them all, it depends on where your interests lie. Remember, this is YOUR tour and we’ve got opportunities to accommodate the things you are interested in! Story 1 - Greyfriars Bobby, the faithful wee Skye Terrier. You’ll find just how vital Greyfriars is to Scotland’s history and you’ll get a chance to discover the different stories behind the legend of the famous wee churchyard dog, Greyfriars Bobby! Story 2 - Walking on ancient streets Throughout this walking tour of Edinburgh you’ll be following in the footsteps of some of Scottish history’s most famous (and infamous) characters. We’ll learn how little has changed by comparing what we see on Candlemaker Row, with a map dating from 1647! You’ll also get a chance to see the Greyfriars Bobby statue - Scotland’s most photographed statue. Story 3 - The wedding that caused overcrowding Aww bless, it’s ‘Royal Wedding’ time when we stop in the historic Grassmarket! We’ve got a few stories we can share here - it’s really your choice as it’s your private Edinburgh tour. We’ll look at the wedding of Margaret Tudor and King James IV. There’s some really interesting gossip to be shared about this tale! Their marriage really impacted upon Edinburgh, as you’ll discover when we talk about the Battle of Flodden. We can also look at the Porteous Riots and the hanging of Margaret Dickson - the famous ‘half-hangit Maggie’ story. Robert will work to your tastes and interests! Story 4 - The West Bow If we could travel back in time and visit one street, then the West Bow would be where we set our time machine to visit. Robert will point out some of the oldest buildings on this pretty street and may share some tales of the West Bow during Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite Occupation of 1745. Story 5 - Mary, Queen of Scots - a Palace and a Welcome You’ll be following in the footsteps of Mary, Queen of Scots. She’s one of Scotland’s most famous historic characters. We love pointing out places that aren’t there any more and you’ll learn about the palace of Mary de Guise (mother of Mary, Queen of Scots). Lots happened on this part of the famous Royal Mile and we’ll reveal how the Bowhead would have looked hundreds of years ago. This section of Castlehill and the Lawnmarket was incredibly atmospheric and we’ve got the archive images and photographs to prove it! Story 7 - A King and a posh pad! Although we love helping you imagine how the Old Town’s streets once looked, occasionally we don’t need to. Sometimes we’ve got buildings which just ooze history. We’ll take you Riddle’s Court, an often-missed little side street and show you 16th-century Edinburgh’s equivalent of Mayfair or Park Lane on a Monopoly board. We’re talking about a building so exquisite and refined that the King came here to party. Not that it did it’s murdered owner much good… Story 8 - A Kirk or a Cathedral? And a Parliament or a Prison? We’ll look at a famous building which still exists - the fabulous exterior of St Giles’ and then we’ll explore the long- lost Tolbooth, once a parliament and then a prison. This gives us a chance to meet a man who knew this place far more intimately than he’d have liked. Deacon William Brodie, a classic ‘Old Edinburgh’ character, was imprisoned and then hanged here. Deacon Brodie’s hanging is darky comic in places…and comes with far more possibilities than you might imagine! Story 9 - The Royal Mile In the 1950s, a historian said that two-thirds of Scotland’s history took place along the Royal Mile. The ‘Mile is Edinburgh’s most famous street, where many i important events happened. In quick succession you’ll hear about the last night in Edinburgh of Mary, Queen of Scots and of the proclamation which took place here in 1745 when Prince Charles Edward Stewart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) was in town with his Jacobite Army. Robert, your Edinburgh guide, can tailor this Royal Mile/High Street part of the tour to what interests you. If you’re an Outlander fan, we can investigate places linked to the Jacobite Rebellion (including the place where Flora MacDonald went to school) and if you like gory stories…well, trust us, we’ve got that covered too! If you like Robert Burns, we’ve got a few stories about him to share as well. It’s your choice. Each of these stories takes place right in the places these people would have known hundreds of years before. Story 10 - Close encounters of the not-so-pleasant kind (eew…) No Old Town tour would be complete without a visit to a traditional Close. We’ll pick one with you and then we’ll find out how people lived in the Old Town. We LOVE telling the stories here. There’s plenty of yukky moments to keep everyone interested. And we have props to help. Oh yes! We’ll also share what happened to poor Samuel Johnson, the writer of the first English dictionary when he spent some time in the Old Town. Stories 11 - The Cowgate and Irish immigration into Edinburgh. We actually offer a tour which looks exclusively at the lives of Edinburgh’s Victorian poor because we find this social history incredibly interesting. We’ll take you into the areas which were once the sites of the some of the poorest slums in Scotland. Story 12 - Burke and Hare and Dr Robert Knox Williams Burke and Hare have been the central characters in many films and documentaries. They even take the lead in a comedy film! You’ll find out the reality of the resurrectionists, Edinburgh’s famed anatomists Doctor Monro and Doctor Knox and of the murderers Burke and Hare. It’s a truly enthralling story! Charles Darwin also makes an appearance in this tale. Robert can also take this opportunity to discuss the kilt he’s wearing and answer any (yes…) questions you may have about this ‘traditional’ Scottish garment. Story 13 - Mary, Queen of Scots and the murder of Henry, Lord Darnley. Your Old Edinburgh walking tour finishes with a bang, almost literally! We’ll get to visit the site of Kirk o’Field, the place where King Henry, Mary’s second husband, spent his final night on earth. If we’re fortunate we’ll also get to see the Old College of Edinburgh University - a fine structure and one worthy of a snapshot or two! The Old Town has many incredible stories. It was the main part of the capital city of Scotland for hundreds of years. If something significant happened in Edinburgh, it tended to impact upon the whole kingdom. We’ve gone into some detail with these notes, but the full stories are even more fascinating. This tour holds an average five- star rating and is the most popular of our Edinburgh tours.

YOUR PRIVATE OLD TOWN TOUR

LET US REVEAL OUR CITY’S FASCINATING HISTORY

OUR ASSURANCES TO YOU

WHY SHOULD YOU CHOOSE US?

YOUR TOUR ITINERARY

WHAT WILL I DISCOVER ON MY OLD EDINBURGH TOUR?

“On 10/21/19 Robert guided our large group of 37 around to the historic sites on the Royal Mile. His tour was funny, informative and included visual aids. He was a story teller of the history of Edinburgh and enthusiastically answered our questions. You could tell he loved the history of his hometown and shared that love with us. “ Ambassador757284- TripAdvisor review of The Old Edinburgh Walking Tour - October 2019
“Great tour, great guide”
Robert leading a tour group! Robert Louis Stevenson.

A FINAL WORD FROM ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

WHAT DID EDINBURGH FOLK THINK OF THE OLD TOWN CHARACTERS?

Robert Louis Stevenson was a famous ‘son of Edinburgh’, remembered for novels such as ‘Treasure Island’, ‘Kidnapped’ and ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. He also wrote ‘Edinburgh - Picturesque Notes’ where he describes many of the places we take you to on our Edinburgh tours. His descriptions are ones we love! Here is a little excerpt from his chapter on some of the legends of the Old Town; “There, people hush their voices over Burke and Hare; over drugs and violated graves, and the resurrection-men smothering their victims with their knees. Here, again, the fame of Deacon Brodie is kept piously fresh. A great man in his day was the Deacon; well seen in good society, crafty with his hands as a cabinet-maker, and one who could sing a song with taste. Many a citizen was proud to welcome the Deacon to supper, and dismissed him with regret at a timeous hour, who would have been vastly disconcerted had he known how soon, and in what guise, his visitor returned.”

TRIPADVISOR REVIEW OF THE OLD EDINBURGH TOUR

WHAT HAVE OUR GUESTS SAID?

The Lawnmarket on the Royal Mile.

FIVE REASONS WHY WE THINK YOU WILL LIKE THIS TOUR!

WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE A WALK WITH US?

Our 'Good to Go' certification from Visit Britain.
CONTACT US robert@historicedinburghtours.co.uk +44 (0)7590 026 077 28/2 BRIDGE ROAD EDINBURGH EH13 0LQ Registered in Scotland - SC454482
ONLINE EXPERIENCES
© Historic Edinburgh Tours Ltd 2020
BOOK NOW
Call us +44 (0)7590 026 077

PRIVATE OLD

EDINBURGH

TOUR

Walk in the footsteps of Mary, Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert Burns and many others! Discover long-lost buildings, execution sites and find out what it was like to live in Old Edinburgh!
QUIBBLE-FREE REFUND We offer a full refund if you cancel your tour more than 12 hours before your tour is due to start.
‘GOOD TO GO’ CERTIFICATION We have the Visit Britain ‘Good to Go’ sign that shows we’ve implemented COVID-19 safety features.
FRIENDLY GUIDE - IN A KILT! Robert is your local guide. He was born in Edinburgh and has lived here all his life. He researched all our tours and has an excellent knowledge of Edinburgh’s history.
ACCESSIBILITY OPTIONS If you have someone with mobility issues, please contact us in advance so that we can offer route changes.
PERFECT FOR CHILDREN Robert, your guide, is a qualified primary school teacher and will help keep your children engaged.
CONVENIENCE Your tour is private - you can choose when it starts. You can ask all the questions you want to!
WE’RE GOOD TO GO!

COVID-19 AND YOUR SAFETY

Historic Edinburgh Tours Ltd have achieved the ‘Good to go” standard from Visit Britain. You can find out more about our COVID-19 policy here.

YOUR PRIVATE

OLD EDINBURGH WALKING TOUR

OUR ASSURANCES TO YOU

WHY SHOULD YOU CHOOSE US?

FIVE REASONS WHY WE THINK

YOU WILL LIKE THIS TOUR!

WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE A WALK WITH US?

YOUR TOUR ITINERARY

WHAT WILL I DISCOVER ON MY OLD TOWN TOUR?

Robert has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Edinburgh. His enthusiasm is contagious and we spent a wonderful day seeing the whole center city with him. It was the highlight of our trip and informed everything else we chose to see and do. A great first day in Edinburgh!” EvanstonMama- Tripadvisor - September 2019
Remember, this is your private tour of Edinburgh - you can choose when it starts! We’ve also got some flexibility with distances and elevations on this Old Town walking tour. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss these alternatives. Robert, your local tour guide, wants to give you a tour that is interesting and accessible for you. In this Edinburgh walking tour, all your locations will take place within Edinburgh’s Old Town. We’ve outlined all the story possibilities for your tour. We may not cover them all, it depends on where your interests lie. Remember, this is YOUR tour and we’ve got opportunities to accommodate the things you are interested in! Story 1 - Greyfriars Bobby, the faithful wee Skye Terrier. You’ll find just how vital Greyfriars is to Scotland’s history and you’ll get a chance to discover the different stories behind the legend of the famous wee churchyard dog, Greyfriars Bobby! Story 2 - Walking on ancient streets Throughout this walking tour of Edinburgh you’ll be following in the footsteps of some of Scottish history’s most famous (and infamous) characters. We’ll learn how little has changed by comparing what we see on Candlemaker Row, with a map dating from 1647! You’ll also get a chance to see the Greyfriars Bobby statue - Scotland’s most photographed statue. Story 3 - The wedding that caused overcrowding Aww bless, it’s ‘Royal Wedding’ time when we stop in the historic Grassmarket! We’ve got a few stories we can share here - it’s really your choice as it’s your private Edinburgh tour. We’ll look at the wedding of Margaret Tudor and King James IV. There’s some really interesting gossip to be shared about this tale! Their marriage really impacted upon Edinburgh, as you’ll discover when we talk about the Battle of Flodden. We can also look at the Porteous Riots and the hanging of Margaret Dickson - the famous ‘half-hangit Maggie’ story. Robert will work to your tastes and interests! Story 4 - The West Bow If we could travel back in time and visit one street, then the West Bow would be where we set our time machine to visit. Robert will point out some of the oldest buildings on this pretty street and may share some tales of the West Bow during Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite Occupation of 1745. Story 5 - Mary, Queen of Scots - a Palace and a Welcome You’ll be following in the footsteps of Mary, Queen of Scots. She’s one of Scotland’s most famous historic characters. We love pointing out places that aren’t there any more and you’ll learn about the palace of Mary de Guise (mother of Mary, Queen of Scots). Lots happened on this part of the famous Royal Mile and we’ll reveal how the Bowhead would have looked hundreds of years ago. This section of Castlehill and the Lawnmarket was incredibly atmospheric and we’ve got the archive images and photographs to prove it! Story 7 - A King and a posh pad! Although we love helping you imagine how the Old Town’s streets once looked, occasionally we don’t need to. Sometimes we’ve got buildings which just ooze history. We’ll take you Riddle’s Court, an often-missed little side street and show you 16th-century Edinburgh’s equivalent of Mayfair or Park Lane on a Monopoly board. We’re talking about a building so exquisite and refined that the King came here to party. Not that it did it’s murdered owner much good… Story 8 - A Kirk or a Cathedral? And a Parliament or a Prison? We’ll look at a famous building which still exists - the fabulous exterior of St Giles’ and then we’ll explore the long-lost Tolbooth, once a parliament and then a prison. This gives us a chance to meet a man who knew this place far more intimately than he’d have liked. Deacon William Brodie, a classic ‘Old Edinburgh’ character, was imprisoned and then hanged here. Deacon Brodie’s hanging is darky comic in places…and comes with far more possibilities than you might imagine! Story 9 - The Royal Mile In the 1950s, a historian said that two-thirds of Scotland’s history took place along the Royal Mile. The ‘Mile is Edinburgh’s most famous street, where many important events happened. In quick succession you’ll hear about the last night in Edinburgh of Mary, Queen of Scots and of the proclamation which took place here in 1745 when Prince Charles Edward Stewart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) was in town with his Jacobite Army. Robert, your Edinburgh guide, can tailor this Royal Mile/High Street part of the tour to what interests you. If you’re an Outlander fan, we can investigate places linked to the Jacobite Rebellion (including the place where Flora MacDonald went to school) and if you like gory stories…well, trust us, we’ve got that covered too! If you like Robert Burns, we’ve got a few stories about him to share as well. It’s your choice. Each of these stories takes place right in the places these people would have known hundreds of years before. Story 10 - Close encounters of the not-so-pleasant kind (eew…) No Old Town tour would be complete without a visit to a traditional Close. We’ll pick one with you and then we’ll find out how people lived in the Old Town. We LOVE telling the stories here. There’s plenty of yukky moments to keep everyone interested. And we have props to help. Oh yes! We’ll also share what happened to poor Samuel Johnson, the writer of the first English dictionary when he spent some time in the Old Town. Stories 11 - The Cowgate and Irish immigration into Edinburgh. We actually offer a tour which looks exclusively at the lives of Edinburgh’s Victorian poor because we find this social history incredibly interesting. We’ll take you into the areas which were once the sites of the some of the poorest slums in Scotland. Story 12 - Burke and Hare and Dr Robert Knox Williams Burke and Hare have been the central characters in many films and documentaries. They even take the lead in a comedy film! You’ll find out the reality of the resurrectionists, Edinburgh’s famed anatomists Doctor Monro and Doctor Knox and of the murderers Burke and Hare. It’s a truly enthralling story! Charles Darwin also makes an appearance in this tale. Robert can also take this opportunity to discuss the kilt he’s wearing and answer any (yes…) questions you may have about this ‘traditional’ Scottish garment. Story 13 - Mary, Queen of Scots and the murder of Henry, Lord Darnley. Your Old Edinburgh walking tour finishes with a bang, almost literally! We’ll get to visit the site of Kirk o’Field, the place where King Henry, Mary’s second husband, spent his final night on earth. If we’re fortunate we’ll also get to see the Old College of Edinburgh University - a fine structure and one worthy of a snapshot or two! The Old Town has many incredible stories. It was the main part of the capital city of Scotland for hundreds of years. If something significant happened in Edinburgh, it tended to impact upon the whole kingdom. We’ve gone into some detail with these notes, but the full stories are even more fascinating. This tour holds an average five-star rating and is the most popular of our Edinburgh tours.
Showing a group around Old College.
Edinburgh has been Scotland’s capital city for hundreds of years. If something important happened in Scotland, Edinburgh was often at the centre of it. If something important happened in Edinburgh, it was usually of significance to the rest of the country. This guided walking tour takes you in and around the Old Town part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each story we tell is about a famous historical character. Each of these stories is shared in a location which played a part in that person’s life. You are walking in the footsteps of royals and rogues, murdered and murderers. From Greyfriars Kirkyard to the Grassmarket, the West Bow, the Royal Mile and some of the closes and wynds of the Old Town, this tour gives you a great appreciation of Edinburgh and her fascinating story.
Our 'Good to Go' certification from Visit Britain.
“On 10/21/19 Robert guided our large group of 37 around to the historic sites on the Royal Mile. His tour was funny, informative and included visual aids. He was a story teller of the history of Edinburgh and enthusiastically answered our questions. You could tell he loved the history of his hometown and shared that love with us. “ Ambassador757284- TripAdvisor review of The Old Edinburgh Walking Tour - October 2019
“Great tour, great guide”

“Excellent tour that

captures interest”

Gail P - Tripadvisor

PRIVATE OLD

EDINBURGH

WALKING

TOUR

Walk in the footsteps of Mary, Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert Burns and many others! Discover long-lost buildings, execution sites and find out what it was like to live in Old Edinburgh!
Our 'Good to Go' certification from Visit Britain. Our 'info at a glance' for this walking tour.
BOOK  NOW
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© Historic Edinburgh Tours Ltd 2020
Text/Call us : +44 (0)7590 026 077