Edinburgh Vaults

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Edinburgh Vaults: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

1. 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, and the living conditions endured by the poor and homeless residents who frequented them. The darker side of Edinburgh's history will unfold as you wander through the candle-lit underground area. From your costumed 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 more paranormal and ghost stories. Step into the torture exhibition and explore how and why these items were used.

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Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour

2. Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour

Join an early afternoon ghost tour in Edinburgh and enjoy a walk with a professional local guide dressed in full period costume. See historic landmarks in the old town on this 1-hour tour as your guide tells you about Edinburgh’s dark past. Head down into the city’s underground vaults, located below the historic South Bridge, just off Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. The vaults are known to be some of the most haunted in the world and many a ghost has been spotted lurking around by visitors and guides. Experience an afternoon filled with ghosts, torture, death, and horror in Scotland’s historic capital.

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Edinburgh: Haunted Underground Vaults and Graveyard Tour

3. Edinburgh: Haunted Underground Vaults and Graveyard Tour

Spook yourself on a guided tour of the most haunted sites in Edinburgh and visit the graveyard of Greyfriars Kirkyard to learn the legend of Greyfriars Bobby. Look at the Gothic mausoleums and learn about notable burials as you explore the grim history of the cemetery. Continue with a visit to the nearby Edinburgh Vaults, located in the arches of South Bridge. Hear about regular paranormal occurrences and how some of the characters from history have never really left. Discover the former home of the destitute, witches and a hellfire club, and hear how the haunted vault is now possessed by something truly evil.

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Edinburgh: Late-Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour

4. 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!

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Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

5. Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

Explore Edinburgh's ghostly past on a guided tour through the streets of the Old Town and its underground vaults. Listen as your cloaked guide tells you tales of the city's dark and grim past as you are led along the Royal Mile. If you dare, step into the narrow alleyways, which are only a few feet wide. Make your way to the South Bridge, and head underneath, where Edinburgh's Vaults are located. Once storage areas for businesses and shops in the area, the vaults were taken over in the late 1700s and turned into living spaces. Eventually, the area became home to slums and the city's red-light district. As you walk through these now-vacant rooms, you will hear tales of the deplorable living conditions, as well as of the crime that once raged through the vaults. When you emerge from the underground, consider yourself lucky that it isn't in the dead of night.

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Edinburgh: Evening Underground Ghost Tour

6. Edinburgh: Evening Underground Ghost Tour

Experience the world's most haunted city on a ghost tour of Edinburgh and be spooked by the dark side of the Old Town. Discover the hidden wynds (alleys) off the Royal Mile and hear some of Edinburgh’s horrifying secrets. Visit what is considered the world's most haunted graveyards, "Greyfriars Kirkyard." Finally, explore the underground Edinburgh Vaults. Completed in 1788, the series of chambers housed taverns and stored illicit material, including dead bodies killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for their medical experiments. Journey through over 400 years of history and true tales of hangings, torture, murders, and witchcraft. Shiver at the weird noises and unexplained smells that appear after dark! 

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Edinburgh Old Town and Underground Historical Tour

7. Edinburgh Old Town and Underground Historical Tour

The historical tour begins at the Old Police Box on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, where you will be met by a local historian and proceed straight into the Underground Vaults. Edinburgh's Underground is over 400 years old and is full of fascinating history, all of which the guide will share with you. After visiting the Underground Vaults, your guide will take you all around Edinburgh's Royal Mile and Old Town, visiting some hidden closes and other spots of historical significance. Delve into parts of Edinburgh that you did not know existed, mostly off the tourist trail.  Hear that the first skyscrapers in the world were built in Edinburgh, discover the identity of the local criminal who became the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde, learn where the phrase "Black Market" came from, where Ebeneezer Scrooge is buried – yes, really – and how Edinburgh University worked closely with the serial killers Burke and Hare. Edinburgh’s history is long and fascinating, made even more special when told by our enthusiastic, passionate and local guide. 

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Edinburgh: Extreme Paranormal Underground Ghost Tour

8. Edinburgh: Extreme Paranormal Underground Ghost Tour

Experience a ghost tour best suited for those who consider themselves to be very brave and venture into some of Edinburgh’s most haunted locations, above and below ground. This adults-only tour is not for the faint hearted, and ideal for hardened ghost hunters - or non-believers. You will journey down the old wynds (alleys) that lead to the world’s most haunted graveyard. Then, take a walk along the path of death! Below the pavement “ghosts” lurk. Journey through paranormal tales of ghost and hear both sides of the story. Uncover true and terrifying tales of hangings, torture, murders, witches and cannibals. 

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Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

9. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

Explore the haunted Blair Street Underground Vaults with access no other tour company can offer, then head to the Canongate graveyard, where the spirits of the dead await. It might be something to do with the change in temperature. Or the perpetual darkness. Or the ever smaller rooms, stretching beyond the weak beam of a torch. Whatever the reason, there’s something unsettling about the Blair Street Underground Vaults – and your expert guide will reveal the troubling tales on this evening walking tour. Cannibals. Body snatchers. Deals with the Devil. And that’s before you even head underground. Torture. Murder. Hangings. And that’s just what went on in the vaults. A walk along dim streets to the Canongate graveyard will bring you to the resting place of the city’s most famous figures: Adam Smith, the father of economics; David Rizzio, the lover of Mary Queen of Scots; and James Douglas, 3rd Marquess of Queensberry – the infamous cannibal of the Canongate. 

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Edinburgh: Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour

10. Edinburgh: Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour

The Story of the Underground This is a chance to visit our Underground Vaults – the deepest, largest and most extensive in the city in the company of a Mercat historian. After sitting unexplored for two centuries, there are many questions waiting to be answered…Why were the Vaults built? When and who by? Who used the Vaults? When and why? How did they work, and play? Your guide will recount their history, recall their stories and answer your questions during this glimpse into our past.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh Vaults

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What people are saying about Edinburgh Vaults

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 9,333 reviews

We decided to do this tour as a family on a Christmas break, and we’re lucky enough to get Stewart as our guide, he was very informative and interactive with the whole party. The tour is well worth it when in Edinburgh, highly recommended

Definitely the best way to navigate around the city, and find out the history, there’ll be lots you’ve walked past and not noticed before. It’ll be the first thing I try to book to do when I next go on a city break

Really interesting and informative! Davy was great for injecting some humour and was very good at making it a seamless and enjoyable tour around old Edinburgh. A great tour if you’re interested in Scottish history.

Throughly enjoyed our tour with Frasier, for the evening tour of the Greyfriars Kirkyard and Vaults. Loved hearing all the facts, and stories. Highly recommend this tour!!

Andrew was a great guide ! Good sense of humour a d knowledgeable Thanks