Edinburgh
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Edinburgh Culture & History

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

1. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

Head for the Highlands, whether in search of the Loch Ness Monster or just a scenic day trip from Edinburgh. After pickup, relax on the bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit Kilmahog for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows and a cup of coffee. Discover what a ‘hairy coo’ really is. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in the Fort William area, where your guide can advise you on where to eat. If you're interested in the mysteries of the kilt, you can even get a ‘wee’ kilt introduction here. Then be whisked to Loch Ness itself. Customize your experience at Loch Ness. Choose to visit the majestic Urquhart Castle, and hop on a boat in search of ‘Nessie’, as the locals call it. Or simply hang out on the pier and grab a coffee with gorgeous views. On the way home, make a short snack stop in Pitlochry, a beautiful village in the heart of the country, before returning to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh: Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour

2. Edinburgh: Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour

Enjoy a Harry Potter-themed walking tour across Edinburgh. See the city where JK Rowling found inspiration for Hogwarts, her famous characters, and discover the place where she wrote the books. Have your Harry Potter trivia tested with an audio-visual quiz, and earn points for your house. Find out which Hogwarts House you’re in, and whether you’re a pure-blood, a muggle, or a squib. Visit the Grave of Tom Riddle in Greyfriars Kirkyard, and pass JK Rowling’s golden handprints outside City Chambers. See all this and more on a magical guided tour.

Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

3. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

This vaults tour takes you beneath the streets of Edinburgh's Old Town into a dimly lit space that many considered to be haunted. Your tour visits the vaults of the South Bridge that date back to the 1700s. These are the same vaults mentioned on Most Haunted Live as one of the scariest places on earth. Learn how the vaults have been used over the years, the living conditions endured by the poor and homeless residents, and the spirits that are supposed to haunt them. The darker side of Edinburgh's history will unfold as you wander through the candle-lit underground area. From your guide, you'll hear about the Burke and Hare murders and the persecution of witches. Discover the characters who stalked the streets of Edinburgh, and the paranormal stories associated with the vaults. The Haunted Vaults tour option will cover slightly more paranormal and ghost stories. Step into the torture exhibition and explore how and why these items were used.

Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour in English

4. Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour in English

Begin your tour by the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile. Walk towards Edinburgh Castle as your guide sets the scene, explaining the significance of the Castle and mentioning some of the key characters who have helped shape it. Once inside, let your guide walk you through the Castle complex. Hear their in-depth knowledge of the Castle's main buildings and attractions, including the Argyle Battery and One O'clock Gun, the Hospital Square and Western Panorama. See the Castle dungeons and military prison, the Black Banquet and Thomas Randolph's daring castle raid. Encounter St Margret's Chapel, Mons Meg, the Crown Square, and The Honors of Scotland. After the tour, enjoy some time at your leisure to explore the castle museums (not accessible during the tour).

The Edinburgh Dungeon Entrance Ticket

5. The Edinburgh Dungeon Entrance Ticket

Live and breathe Edinburgh’s darkest history, if you dare. The Edinburgh Dungeon is an award-winning, 70-minute interactive and immersive walk-through experience covering 1000 years of Edinburgh and Scottish history through 11 live actor shows, theatrical sets, special effects, and 2 thrilling rides. Visitors will come face to face with the most notorious rogues from the city’s dark past. Meet Agnes Finnie, Edinburgh's baddest witch! Enter the Witch Pricker’s interrogation chamber where you’ll come face to face with Agnes Finnie – accused of witchcraft in 1645. She’s mad, she’s bad, she’s not to be messed with! Well done! You’ve found Sawney Bean’s Family. Unfortunately, it’s been a while since they last ate and you look delicious… It’s the 16th century and you find yourself creeping through the Bean clan’s foul-smelling lair to discover the leftovers of lost travelers.

Edinburgh: 'Firth of Forth' Three Bridges Sightseeing Cruise

6. Edinburgh: 'Firth of Forth' Three Bridges Sightseeing Cruise

Your boat tour will depart from the South Queensferry, which is only a short distance from Scotland's bustling capital city of Edinburgh. Your tour will include magnificent views of the "three bridges", including the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Forth Railway Bridge. In addition, you can take in the beautiful panoramas of the Edinburgh skyline, the Kingdom of Fife and the historic island of Inchcolm with its medieval abbey. As part of the tour you will stop at the island to drop off and pick up visitors. Cruise along and discover the magic of the red railway Forth Bridge, the Forth Road suspension bridge, and the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world, Queensferry Crossing. For your comfort, relax onboard in the heated observation lounge or on the outside decks, and listen to the guided commentary while you enjoy a drink from the bar. During your tour, you will find plenty of opportunities to both see and photograph a wide variety of marine wildlife including seabirds, porpoises and seals.

Edinburgh: Real Mary King's Close Guided Tour

7. Edinburgh: Real Mary King's Close Guided Tour

Step down into Edinburgh’s hidden history at The Real Mary King’s Close, voted Scotland’s Best Heritage Tourism Experience. Discover over 400 years of history and learn about the intriguing stories of Edinburgh’s past residents. From the deadly plague epidemic to a famous royal visitor, there is a myriad of tales just waiting to be told. Journey through time and find out why the Close, once open to the skies and bustling with trade, came to be underground. An experience rooted in social history, this 1-hour character-guided tour also includes an immersive walk-through of the city’s uniquely preserved streets and spaces, all located underneath Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. Expect a truly unique glimpse into the city’s past. 

Edinburgh: Late-Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour

8. Edinburgh: Late-Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour

Join this late-night tour of Edinburgh to discover the city’s darkest and most frightening experience as you hear ghost stories of the city told above and below the ground of the Royal Mile. After walking through the famous wynds and closes of the Royal Mile, learning about the horrific living conditions and listening to stories of murderers who roamed the streets, you will be taken to the haunted underground vaults. Torture exhibits await for those with a strong enough stomach to learn how these devices were used in times gone by. Go to the home of “The Watcher” ghost, see the infamous stone circle vault, and discover why you should never step inside!

Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour

9. Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Walking Tour

Discover the home of Mary Queen of Scots on this guided walking tour of Edinburgh Castle. Admire the 16th-century Great Hall where parties and feast took place. Learn about the bloody history of the kings and queens who lived in this castle.  Meet your guide and walk to Edinburgh Castle which dominates the city skyline from its seat on the extinct volcano of Castle Rock. Stroll on the castle's promenade and hear about the the origins and sieges of the castle. View where the Royal Military Tattoo is performed. Enter the castle and make your way to the three museums and two prisons. Go to the National Monument to the fallen of Scotland and a canine cemetery. See the oldest building in the city at the Chapel of Saint Margaret. Be captivated by the grandeur of the Great Hall and a Royal Palace. After the tour you will have time to explore all of the buildings inside the castle until its closure.

Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Mallaig & Glencoe Adventure

10. Edinburgh: Glenfinnan, Mallaig & Glencoe Adventure

Depart Edinburgh and travel northwest, stopping for a coffee and refreshments at a small highland village. Traveling onwards, reach Glencoe, known to many as the location for the Massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. Take photos of this beautiful area whilst you learn about its turbulent past. After Glencoe, travel further north to Fort William. Stop for refreshments and perhaps a bite to eat before journeying down the Road to the Isles. Learn about the history of the area as you approach Mallaig, where you will spend time enjoying lunch and its sea views. From Mallaig, travel eastwards to the main attraction, Glenfinnan. Arrive right on time to see the Jacobite Steam Train (also known as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter Films) cross the bridge. Not only will you enjoy this iconic view, but the site is also known as the setting for many Harry Potter scenes, including Loch Shiel. From Glenfinnan, travel southwards, stopping for refreshments at the small village of Pitlochry before returning to Edinburgh, where your tour ends.

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 12,976 reviews

Incredible experience and guide to match. Josh was so good at the story telling and made it so enjoyable and dramatic. Highly recommend and will be trying a different one on our next visit. Thank you

Driver/guide was very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. Smaller bus was better for accessing some areas. Areas visited where of interest.

Amazing! Richard was great, really good! Lots of interesting facts and acting too

Great trip with great tour guide full of stories and knowledge and driver

We had the best time! Mason was very good tour guide lots of knowledge