Our guide to the best tours in Edinburgh (and beyond)
One of the best ways to see Edinburgh and the surrounding country is to go on a guided tour. A search on Google reveals a number of tours based in Edinburgh specialising a range of trips, from literary and whisky tours to all day trips exploring such as places as Loch Lomond. Here we’ve pulled together a list of the best tours in and around Edinburgh. We’ve provided links to the tour group websites where you can find out more and maybe book a trip. Hope you enjoy..
Perhaps one of the best ways to explore Edinburgh is by taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and there are 14 stops all over the city, close to many of the top attractions. The tours are a great way of familiarising yourself with Edinburgh and planning where you want to visit next. With the day pass its easy to get from location to location without having to walk.
A walking tour of the Royal Mile by Mercat Tours. This walk is lead by an expert guide who will take you through the wynds, closes, courtyards and homes of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Not only that but as part of the tour there is also the chance to skip the queues and get a tour of the world famous Edinburgh Castle. Mercat Tours also run a host of other walks, so worth checking out their site to find out more.
Definitely not one for the faint-hearted! This tour leads you under the streets of the old town where you’ll be met by a famous “ghost” from Edinburgh’s past. You’ll also gain access to the undergound vaults which lay hidden for centuries after being blocked up! The tour is run by City of Edinburgh Tours who also run a variety of other walking tours across the city.
A one day tour from Edinburgh which takes you sightseeing to Loch Lomond, the Trossachs National Park and Stirling Castle. Organised by Timberbush Tours, the day will begin with a visit to Stirling Castle, before moving on to the village of Luss (where you’ll get a chance to explore). You’ll finish off the day with a cruise across Loch Lomond before heading back to Edinburgh.
Another bus tour organised by Timberbush Tours. This one is a must for fans of the Outlander series, taking in two castles, two palaces and two mansions. The full day tour allows you to explore many of the sets of the famous TV series, including Linlithgow Palace (Outlander’s Wentworth Prison) and Blackness Castle. Full details of the itinerary are on the Timberbush Tours website.
Accompanied by a costumed guide you’ll discover the secrets that lie beneath Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on a 1-hour tour of the Real Mary King’s Close. You’ll experience Edinburgh’s past as you explore the underground streets, hear stories about real-life residents, and learn about life in Edinburgh during the 17th century. A very popular tour so well worth booking in advance.
This tour by Rabbies, lets you uncover the myths and legends of the Da Vinci Code on this Rosslyn Chapel tour from Edinburgh. You’ll get a chance to explore the chapel before heading off to the Tweed Valley to visit Melrose Abbey (where the heart of Robert the Bruce is said to have been buried) before heading back up to Edinburgh.
A walking tour of Edinburgh, taking in the sites associated with the character and creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You’ll also see where the ‘real” Sherlock Holmes was born in 1837. You’ll be led on the tour by Holmes himself (complete with deerstalker hat) who’ll also introduce you to some of the other famous buildings and landmarks along the way. The tour will (fittingly) end outside the Conan Doyle bar!
A bus tour where you’ll see some of Scotland’s great castles, lochs, coastal villages, and mountains. This one day tour by Rabbies lets you discover Scotland’s iconic sights, while also showing you some of the country’s best kept secrets. You’ll take in places like Kilchurn Castle, Doune Castle, Loch Awe and the Rest and Be Thankful pass before returning to Edinburgh.