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Edinburgh Culture & history

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 (depending on the time of year) and a cup of coffee. 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: Underground Vaults Tour

2. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

This guided walking 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: Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry

3. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry

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).

Edinburgh: Skip-the-Line Walking Tour of Edinburgh Castle

4. Edinburgh: Skip-the-Line Walking Tour of Edinburgh Castle

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: Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour

5. 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.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Inverness Tour in Spanish

6. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness & Inverness Tour in Spanish

The tour will depart from Edinburgh at 07:45 and return to the original departure point at approximately 20:00. Following the river Tay Perthshire, you will stop in the county of Perthshire to have your first coffee, to buy some souvenirs and if you are lucky, to spot the well-known Highland cattle. On your journey to Inverness, you will see the mouth of the river Ness, the Moray Firth, the Cathedral of Saint Andrews, its castle and the university. On this stop, have the possibility to have lunch. After Inverness, you will head to Urquhart Castle, one of the gems of the Highlands with its superb views of Loch Ness. It is also the place from where more sightings of Nessie have been reported. Before undertaking the trip back to Edinburgh, you will visit the Commando Memorial, a monument dedicated to the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II. This stop will give you the chance to make out the highest mountain of the United Kingdom, the Ben Nevis. On your way back, cross the Cairngorms National Park, and later on, you will do a last stop at Pitlochry, a Victorian town well-known for its beautiful High Street.

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. 

The Edinburgh Dungeon Entrance Ticket

8. 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 a thrilling ride. 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.

From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness

9. From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness

Embark on a 3-day guided trip to the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh. See the Glencoe Valley and the Eilean Donan Castle. Admire the rolling pastures of the Isle of Skye and visit lake Loch Ness. Day 1 From Edinburgh, you will head west where your first stop will be at the picturesque conservation village of Luss, on the ‘Bonny, Bonny’ banks of Loch Lomond. Traveling north via Tyndrum you will pass over the atmospheric Rannoch Moor before enjoying time to walk and admire the dramatic Glencoe valley, site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald Clan. After lunch in the Fort William area, your tour will pause for photos at Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, then stop to admire Glen Garry and the stunning Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range. Your first day ends in the charming village of Portree, on the Isle of Skye. Day 2 After breakfast, your will depart Portree for a full day’s touring - options include Dunvegan Castle, a trip to Uig, and a visit to Flora MacDonald’s grave and the unique Black Houses, ancient dwellings of the Scottish Highlanders. Other options include viewing Duntulum Castle, enjoying breathtaking views of Kilt Rock, or perhaps a bracing walk at the Lealt Falls. The day will end with the opportunity to admire the Old Man of Storr, before returning to Portree. Day 3 You will commence your final day of the tour via the much-admired Eilean Donan Castle, the backdrop for the movie, ‘Highlander’; (interior closed in winter) then move on to the pretty lochside village of Fort Augustus for lunch and views of Loch Ness. The tour continues south over Laggan and the Grampian mountains with the last stop, for refreshments, in the Victorian resort town of Pitlochry, before returning to Edinburgh, where the tour will end.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

10. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe, Highlands & Ben Nevis

Depart Edinburgh on an air-conditioned luxury coach (max 57 seats). Pass Stirling Castle and hear your tour guide tell tales of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and the bloody battles fought out on these lands. First, arrive at Callander town, nestled at the foot of the Trossachs. Next, drive through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Your Scottish guide will tell you about Rob Roy MacGregor, the infamous Highlander. Follow in the footsteps of James Bond ("Skyfall") and Harry Potter ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban") as you travel to the stunning Highland valley of Glencoe. Hear the eerie story of the Clan MacDonald massacre of 1692. Travel through Fort William, home to Ben Nevis, which at 4,409 feet is the highest mountain of the British Isles. Arrive on the south bank of Loch Ness in the charming village of Fort Augustus, where lots of cafes, shops, and restaurants offer a relaxing lunch. Stroll along the banks of the Caledonian Canal, then experience Loch Ness on an optional 1-hour boat cruise. Try to catch a glimpse of "Nessie," the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Admire the impressive Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge with views of the Nevis Range. Enter the Cairngorms National Park and discover "Monarch of the Glen" country. Drive along Loch Laggan before the roads climb above the Grampian Mountains. Travel over the Pass of Drumochter, linking the northern and southern Central Highlands. Experience the majesty of a mountain pass created by glacial activity during successive Ice Ages. Finally, stop briefly in the beautiful Victorian town of Pitlochry before heading back to Edinburgh city center, arriving at approximately 8:30 PM.

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Loch Ness

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What people are saying about Edinburgh

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 12,976 reviews

The guide was full of energy enthusiasm clear, was fantastic at telling a story..... So much so i for one was disappointed the tour was only 75 minutes long. Could have done another hour.... Would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a spot of adventure, bit of fun plus learn a thing or 2. Tall slim white male, 20s quick walker.... Lol guide.

We had a lovely time, Jim our tour guide was exceptional as he explained a lot for us during our travel. He made our journey very enjoyable and we were taken aback from the beautiful scenery Edinburgh and Scotland had to offer. Thank you Jim and thank you to the tour company for facilitating it all. Vas and Eleni.

It was my best excursion ever! Full of emotions, laugh’s, great explanation about every single detail, PAUL SANTA made it epic, this guy know the job like nobody else! Epic amazing !!! Amazing Scotland, and Amazing guide wich made everything perfect ..! I will be back and book again but, only with Paul SantA!!!

Andrew was a great guide, we enjoyed the whole tour, we had previously been on the vaults tour so we were quite happy that the information was still in depth, we even got a few more details than the last tour! Really chuffed with the energy of the guide and tour, would definitely recommend and rebook

Excellent, original tour which was our highlight of Scotland. Andy was great and made our trip so memorable. New year's day was even special this year with this trip