Things to do in
Royal Mile

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Royal Mile: 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 Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

2. Edinburgh Castle: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

The tour begins 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. As you reach the Castle complex your guide will share skip-the-line passes, giving you direct access to Scotland's most visited paid attraction.  Once inside your guide will walk you through the Castle complex sharing their in-depth knowledge of all the Castle's main buildings and attractions, including, but not limited to, the Argyle Battery and One O'clock Gun, the Hospital Square and Western Panorama, the Castle dungeons and military prison, the Black Banquet and Thomas Randolph's daring castle raid, St Margret's Chapel, Mons Meg, the Crown Square and The Honors of Scotland. Please note that whilst the tour guide will walk you around the castle grounds and take you through the 3,000 yeas worth of castle history, they cannot take you into any of the castle museums. When the tour ends, you will be left to explore the various castle buildings and museums at your own leisure - hopefully with more knowledge than if you had simply arrived on your own!

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Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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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Comedy Horror Show: Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour

6. Comedy Horror Show: Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour

Enjoy a theatrical sightseeing tour of Edinburgh onboard the Ghost Bus, a beautifully refurbished vintage double-decker, painted in traditional midnight black. Learn about Edinburgh’s grave robbers, plague victims, and the ghosts that reside in the most haunted city in Europe. Explore the city's gruesome past, while admiring its most famous monuments, including Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, Greyfriar's Kirk, Holyrood Palace, and the Royal Mile. As you traverse the Old Town and New Town, visit the sites of murders, tortures, and executions. Hear about the infamous Burke and Hare, and the hundreds of women who were drowned or burned as witches. The bus, which belonged to the Necropolis Bus Company, boasts decorative features that include atmospheric lamps and window curtains. In 1967, the entire fleet was destroyed in a mysterious fire, and only one bus survived.

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City Sightseeing Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

7. City Sightseeing Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Tour Edinburgh to your own schedule on the open-top sightseeing bus, and enjoy the onboard commentary that describes the history behind the lively city. Compare Edinburgh's Old Town, where families lived in cramped conditions and rubbish was thrown out of the windows, to the elegant Georgian New Town, with its 3 main streets and square at either end. Hear about the hangings that took place in the Grassmarket as you marvel at the impenetrable Castle Rock above you, and hear about historic attempts to capture Edinburgh Castle. Drive along the Royal Mile, which joins Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Use the 24-hour ticket to hop on and off as you please. With great visitor attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget, Edinburgh's got it all! Buses run every 30 minutes, making the following loop: Tour Stops: 1. St Andrew Square - Northside 2. Lothian Road - Waldorf Astoria 3. Grassmarket 4. Lauriston Place 5. Johnstone Terrace - Edinburgh Castle, The Scottish Whiskey Experience 6. Lawnmarket - Gladstone's End, The Real Mary King's Close 7. Chambers Street - National Museum of Scotland 8. St Mary's Street West 9. Canongate - John Knox House 10. Royal Mile - Scottish Parliament, Palace of Holyrood House 11. Dynamic Earth 12. Regent Road - Burns Monument

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Edinburgh: Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour

8. 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 2-hour guided tour.

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Edinburgh: History of Whisky with Tasting and Storytelling

9. Edinburgh: History of Whisky with Tasting and Storytelling

This tour meets on the iconic Royal Mile and you'll have a short walk to one of the supplier's outstanding whisky venues Over the next two hours, drink 4 outstanding single malt scotch whiskys taken from the 4 major whisky producing regions of Scotland. These whiskys will range from the relatively delicate and subtle flavors of the Lowlands to the bold and robust tastes from Islay. You will also be given tasting cards giving notes on each of the whiskys that you sample. During the tour, experience some traditional storytelling and explore the significance of whisky to the Scottish identity. The entire upper floor of the venue reserved, so there is plenty of space and privacy to conduct the story orientated evening.

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Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

10. 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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Other Sightseeing Options in Royal Mile

Want to discover all there is to do in Royal Mile? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Royal Mile

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 29,674 reviews

Doug provided a great summary of the process of distillery, aging and distribution of whiskies. Then we enjoyed a "flight" of 4 whiskies at one historic bar in Old Town, then moved on to another lovely bar to try a couple more whiskies (more aged...21 and 34 years old). Explanations, ratings and methods of tasting.... All in all, a wonderful, entertaining, educational and tasty experience!

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

Kieran was a great tour guide. He was a big Harry Potter fan himself so knew everything inside out. Would definitely recommend a trip with him while in Edinburgh. 10/10

Our guide was excellent! He was entertaining and very informative and I learned a lot about the history of the castle in Scotland in general

Monique was amazing! The tour was so interesting and she kept us engaged and gave so much cool information