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St. Giles' Cathedral

St. Giles' Cathedral: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

1. 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.

Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

2. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

Save money and explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a 3-route hop-on hop-off bus tour ticket. Pick from a ticket that lasts for 24 or 48 hours. Explore the city with stop options like Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Hop aboard and embark on your city adventure. Contrast the Old and New Towns, see the royal attractions of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia (entrances not included). Live guides provide English commentary on the Edinburgh Tour, while audio guides are available in up to 9 languages on the City Sightseeing Tour and the Majestic Tour. Hop on and off as often as you like at dozens of attractions, and enjoy unique, scenic views from the open-top upper decks. City Sightseeing Tour: Hear about the people and events that shaped Edinburgh, from the cramped conditions of the Old Town to spacious Holyrood Park, on a classic sightseeing tour in 9 languages. Enjoy Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories with the on board Horrible Histories Children’s Channel - history with all the gory bits left in! • Hanover Street • Princes Street Gardens • St. John’s Church • Grassmarket • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle • National Museum of Scotland • Museum of Childhood • Scottish Parliament • Our Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument Edinburgh Tour: Enjoy the best views aboard an open-top bus, as live commentary in English brings Edinburgh’s history to life. Explore the Old Town and Georgian New Town, hopping off at 9 strategic stops. • Hanover Street • George Street • Charlotte Square • The Mound • Lawnmarket • Grassmarket • Our Dynamic Earth • Scottish Parliament • Canongate Kirk Majestic Tour: Leave the city center and head to the coast at Newhaven, with stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia. This multi-language tour offers commentary through headphones in English, Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Return via the Palace of Holyrood House and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile. • Hanover Street • George Street • Royal Botanic Gardens • Ferry Road • Newhaven Harbour • Cruise Terminal • Ocean Terminal (Royal Yacht Britannia) • Leith Mills • Elm Row • Queen Mary’s Bath House • Queensberry House • Canongate Kirk

Edinburgh: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour

3. Edinburgh: Witches and History Old Town Walking Tour

Uncover the magical history of Scotland as you explore the secrets of Edinburgh's Old Town with a costumed guide on this walking tour. Hear the secrets behind locations like Lady Stairs Close, Grassmarket, and Candle Maker Row. Find your witch-costumed guide easily and begin your walking tour. Hear historical tales that focus on witchcraft. Explore the Old Town and make your way to castle hill to admire the ancient Edinburgh castle. Walk down Lady Stairs Close to view the the Writers Museum which pays tribute to the authors Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis. View the imposing Gothic architecture at St. Giles Cathedral. Stroll thorugh Parliament Square and past the colorful shops on Victoria Street. Tread lightly as you will walk on the grounds where mysterious and sometimes sinister events occurred like the Greyfriars Kirkyard graveyard. Go down Candle Maker Row and finish your tour in one of the oldest parts of the city, Grassmarket.

Edinburgh: Old Town History and Tales Walking Tour

4. Edinburgh: Old Town History and Tales Walking Tour

Meet your guide on Edinburgh's iconic and historic Royal Mile, by the Statue of Adam Smith (one of Scotland's greatest thinkers). From there, your tour will be lead through the gorgeous winding streets that comprise Edinburgh's "Old Town." Covering everything from history to religion and folklore, this walking tour is an original tour of Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town. Your talented and entertaining guide will walk you through the streets and alleys of "Auld Reekie", while enthralling you with with its history, folklore, and tales. Learn about the secrets Edinburgh is hiding and experience the incredible stories it has to tell, as your guide leads you through the city's long history.  Topics included in the tour include Edinburgh's Mercat Cross, St. Giles Cathedral, the Scottish Enlightenment, Greyfriars Bobby, the Grassmarket, Harry Potter's inspirations, and many more. Finish your tour in the heart of Edinburgh, surrounded by several bars, restaurants, cafe's, and great transport links.

Edinburgh: 3-Hour Guided Walking Tour

5. Edinburgh: 3-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Discover Edinburgh’s historical, cultural, and architectural heritage on a small and intimate walking tour guided by one of the most knowledgeable locals possible. Stuart or Richard Usher, of Scotland's famous and historic House of Usher, or historians Dr. Alison Duncan and David Forsyth, will guide you through this beautiful city. You’ll see many of the city’s highlights, including Usher Hall and Edinburgh Castle (exterior). You’ll walk along the Royal Mile, view St. Giles Cathedral (exterior), and visit several of Edinburgh's famous landmarks. Your guide has an extensive knowledge of Edinburgh's history and architecture and the many famous people that the city has produced over the centuries. They will share their knowledge with you in an informative, personable, and enjoyable manner. Have no fear, as it won't all be serious stuff. Visit the Grassmarket, a place of thriving activity where street performers and buskers abound and which is home, since the 1400s, to merchants and street traders. Also, typically, where time allows, you will see Princes Street, Princes Street Gardens, the Scott Monument, George Street, and Charlotte Square.

Edinburgh: Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour

6. 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.

Edinburgh: Old Town Historical Tour in German

7. Edinburgh: Old Town Historical Tour in German

Edinburgh has become one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. We will know the history of this medieval city, with more than 3000 years, from the first tribes that populated it, the Picts, to the men in skirts. We will talk about its most important buildings, such as St. Giles Cathedral, or Edinburgh Castle. We will walk through its most emblematic streets, such as the Royal Mile , or Victoria Street . We will visit the sculpture of the puppy Bobby , which is next to the Greyfriars cemetery, where many mysteries and legends are hidden, and some paranormal activity. Part of the Harry Potter book was written in Edinburgh and its writer, JK Rowling, used the inspiration graveyard, join us to discover where she wrote and what she used as inspiration for her novels. With so many centuries of history , the capital of Scotland is rich in history and legends. You cannot miss this incredible visit to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh: 3-Hour Historical Walking Tour in Italian

8. Edinburgh: 3-Hour Historical Walking Tour in Italian

Meet your guide in central Edinburgh by the City Chambers, then set off on foot to explore Edinburgh Old Town. Walking is one of the best ways to experience the area because of its compact size and narrow passageways, which are known locally as closes. Follow your expert guide around Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks. As you stroll, listen to your knowledgeable guide recount the history of the city. Learn about the rise of Presbyterianism in Scotland and hear stories relating to St Giles’ Cathedral, whose gray medieval spire towers over the Royal Mile, a famous road at the heart of the city that’s lined with stately buildings. Imagine the Edinburgh of the past as you hear stories about the controversial 15th-century monarch, Mary, Queen of Scots, and about key figures from the Scottish Enlightenment. View the imposing Edinburgh Castle and be intrigued by tales of its rise and fall, and about the fabled Stone of Destiny that’s held inside. Next, make your way to the Mound, an artificial hill that connects Edinburgh Old Town with the New Town. Pause for a snack at the Grassmarket Square, then delve into the city’s dark side at the graveyard of Greyfriars Kirkyard. Soak up the eerie atmosphere as you listen to stories about executions and hauntings that are associated with the site. Find out how the graveyard is connected to the famous Harry Potter books. Then walk back to the Royal Mile, discovering more about the collections of the National Museum of Scotland and uncovering the secrets of Mary King’s Close, a medieval street that lies under the Royal Mile. Your tour then concludes at the beginning of the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh City: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour

9. Edinburgh City: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour

Download an MP3 audio guide and explore Edinburgh's famous attractions at your own pace. See Edinburgh Castle, the Princes Street Gardens, the Royal Mile, Tolbooth Kirk, the George IV Bridge, Edinburgh City Chambers, Tron Kirk, and the Scottish Parliament Building. Begin your tour at Edinburgh Castle (entry not included), a building that dates back to the 12th century. See the Scottish Crown Jewels, the magnificent St Giles' Cathedral, Mary King's Close, and walk past underground alleys with a layered history. Drop by at Deacon Brodie's tavern and try Edinburgh's best haggis, a national delicacy immortalized in poetry by Robbie Burns (the National Bard of Scotland). 

Edinburgh Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & City Tour

10. Edinburgh Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & City Tour

Solve riddles on your smartphone as you explore some of the main tourist sights in Edinburg on this self-guided scavenger hunt and walking tour in one. Join with friends or family and learn about the city as you go. To get started, simply download the tour app (instructions received via email after booking) and head over to the starting point at the Scott Monument. Choose to start the activity at any time. Use the map to navigate to each location as you complete challenges and pause at any time to take a break or do some sightseeing. As you explore, learn insider information about the city and attractions. Start your tour at the imposing Scott Monument! Visit the Royal Scottish Academy with its dreamlike architecture. Photograph Edinburgh Castle in its imposing form and marvel at the dreamy The Hub. The Grassmarket will amaze you, it is one of the busiest places in Edinburgh. Then Greyfriars Kirkyard awaits, don't forget to take pictures, famous for the story of Greyfriars faithful dog Bobby! St Giles' Cathedral will leave you speechless with its magnificent architecture. Admire Canongate Kirk, which is said to be miraculous and has a huge history. Learn about the Burns Monument built for the country's greatest artist and national symbol, while the icing on the cake of this unique tour will be Calton Hill, a spot that is always busy and enchanting, with amazing views.

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What people are saying about St. Giles' Cathedral

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 5,742 reviews

Absolutely fantastic walking tour, which I highly recommended. Dr Alison Duncan is an absolute font of knowledge on the history and evolution of both Edinburgh and Scotland in general. Her explanation of the geography (volcanic plugs, path of glaciers) gave wonderful context. Alison was not only knowledgeable but also bubbling with enthusiasm that was absolutely contagious! Alison, as promised, both Madeline & I each had a dram (a Dalwhinie and a Talasker) and raised them in your honour.

Emerald (Terry) was a grand, white witch! Lots of fun and interesting facts about the history of Edinburgh in such a small space. Walking through the cemetery was definitely a highlight and unexpected task.

The tour was great, Linda was informative and entertaining! Hope to be back soon to try different ones as the city is has so much history.

A walk through time under Edinburgh's bridges. So interesting and a part of history I knew nothing about before the tour.

Very good tour with Linda , be ready to be outside and to get involved.