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Things to do in Canongate District

Our most recommended things to do in Canongate District

Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

1. Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours

Make getting around Edinburgh's top sights easy with a 48-hour Royal Edinburgh hop-on, hop-off bus ticket. Dive into the history and culture of Scotland with access to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Easy to use, the all-inclusive ticket is fantastic value if you want to go to Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the Royal Yacht Britannia. The ticket also includes 48-hour unlimited travel on three of Edinburgh's hop-on-hop-off bus tours; Edinburgh City Sightseeing, Edinburgh Tour, and Majestic Tour. Use the bus to reach the attractions, leaving the city behind and heading to the coast at Newhaven through Edinburgh’s New Town. With stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia, it couldn’t be simpler. As the bus returns to the city center, you can jump off at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile to walk up to Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

2. Edinburgh: 24-Hour Family-Friendly Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Explore Edinburgh at your own pace with an award-winning hop-on hop-off open-top bus tour. Enjoy the onboard commentary that describes the history behind the city. Stop at locations like St Andrew Square, Johnstone Terrace, the Royal Mile. See sights like Edinburgh Castle and Grassmarket. Board the bus and begin your city adventure. 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

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

3. 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: The Dark Side Walking Tour

4. Edinburgh: The Dark Side Walking Tour

Meet some of Edinburgh's most infamous characters on a guided, ghost-themed walking tour through the dark side of the city center. Learn about figures like Burke and Hare. Hear tales of witch burning, grave robbing, body snatching, and mysterious murders. Be greeted by your local guide on the Royal Mile, where plundered tombs, funeral pyres, and mass graves from thousands of years ago are concealed. Get goosebumps as the past is brought to life by your guide. Venture to gruesome burial sites such as the Canongate Kirkyard. Prepare to be spooked by spine-chilling tales of real-life cannibals and vampires as the true history of Edinburgh is recreated before your eyes. End your tour at the Whitefoord House mansion.  

Edinburgh: Dark History - Old Town & Canongate Walking Tour

5. Edinburgh: Dark History - Old Town & Canongate Walking Tour

Ah, Edinburgh! They don't call it "The Jekyll & Hyde City" for nothing. During the day, a respectable figure, with its astonishing architecture and wondrous history. But when the sun sets, it tells an entirely different story... Hear all about the darker history of Edinburgh: murderers, thieves, cannibals, hangings and decapitations, witches, the Plague and streams of human waste. Learn about the most notorious citizens of Edinburgh and how ghost stories are born. This is not a ghost tour: we don't need costumes or people jumping from behind the corners, Edinburgh's Dark History itself is enough to make your skin crawl. And oh, how we love to share it with our visitors...

Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

6. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

Descend into the Blair Street Underground Vaults and hear the eerie history that lurks within on an evening walking tour in Edinburgh. Follow your guide through the narrow streets to the Canongate Graveyard. Delve into the terror of Edinburgh’s past as your guide leads you through the ancient city towards the vaults. Submerge yourself in darkness in the unsettling Blair Street Underground Vaults and uncover the troubling tales of torture and murder. Walk the dim streets to the Canongate graveyard and arrive at the resting place of the city’s most famous figures, including Adam Smith, the father of economics; David Rizzio, lover of Mary Queen of Scots; and James Douglas, the 3rd Marquess of Queensberry and infamous cannibal of the Canongate. Hear about their lives and the mark they left on the city, as well as the ghosts that haunt Edinburgh to this day. Don't miss a word your guide says with your radio receiver in hand.

Edinburgh: Dark Secrets of the Old Town Ghost Walking Tour

7. Edinburgh: Dark Secrets of the Old Town Ghost Walking Tour

Discover Scotland’s mythical sites and Scottish faeries as you walk around the city of Edinburgh. Pass by graveyards, aged houses, and the sites where witches and warlocks were burnt on this sinister yet insightful walking tour. Learn about the black market for corpses in the 19th century and the serial killers William Burke and William Hare. Hear how they sold corpses for dissection at anatomy lectures. Visit the Old Calton Cemetery and Canongate Kirkyard. Enjoy pleasant views across Edinburgh whilst your guide talks about a particularly dark chapter in the city’s history, the burning of witches and warlocks. Be astounded by the number of people burned for witchcraft and what spells and beliefs caused this. Unearth the past as your guide explains about the doctors who cured those with the Black Death, a bubonic plague pandemic in the 1300s. Walk past houses where people lived in the 17th-century and explore the mystery and mysticism that surrounds Edinburgh.

Edinburgh: Outlander Walking Tour

8. Edinburgh: Outlander Walking Tour

The year is 1745 and the Jacobite rising has reached the city gates of Edinburgh. Bonnie Prince Charlie is met by a cheering crowd of 20,000 strong. Amid the chaos of rebellion are Claire and Jamie, the Outlander characters entwined in a story that spans centuries. On this 2-hour walking tour your guide will trace the real events that inspired Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed novels. The story captures the spirit of the Jacobite rebellion in Edinburgh: The Redcoats, the Highlanders and the smell of gunpowder in the air. Your expert guide will take you deep into the Old Town, to the places where history was made: Tolbooth Jail, Canongate Kirkyard and the World’s End Tavern. If Edinburgh is the setting for the second Outlander novel, you’ll be going behind the scenes!

Private tour: History and Murder in Edinburgh's Old Town

9. Private tour: History and Murder in Edinburgh's Old Town

Discover the history and legends of Edinburgh and Scotland in World Heritage Old Town District for a 2h private guided tour.

Edinburgh's Royal Mile: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

10. Edinburgh's Royal Mile: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

Embark on a tour of Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile with an audio tour available on your smartphone. Enjoy 14 stories narrated by radio actor James Bryce in his charming Scottish lilt and see highlights, including the Lawnmarket and Mercat Cross. After installing your app, begin at the top of Castlehill next to the Witches Well and hear about Edinburgh Castle’s early days, when a series of infamous witch burnings took place here. Amble down all four sections of the Royal Mile: Castlehill, Lawnmarket, the High Street, and the old burgh of Canongate. Stroll around St. Giles Cathedral, home to the Old Tolbooth, the Heart of Midlothian mosaic, and a statue of Charles II. As you travel the length of the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, see the former residence of the gentleman robber, Deacon Brodie, the inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Hear about historical figures, such as John Knox and Mary Queen of Scots, and listen to tales about the barbaric punishments of the 1600s. Uncover the deeds that took place in the shadows of the Mercat Cross and see Netherbow Port, once the main gate between Edinburgh and Canongate.

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What people are saying about Canongate District

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 5,942 reviews

This was a really fun and interesting tour through the dark streets of Edinburgh, Tommy was our guide and he was fantastic. He was fun and energetic, as mush as you can be when talking about the morbid history of murders and plague victims. I highly recommend this tour for anyone visiting Edinburgh!

Good to see the tour busy and the city tour with the horrible history commentary was really informative and funny for the kids. Great for the price

Amazing experience. The tour guide (Melanie) was amazing. She really immersed us in the stories of Edinburgh. Really liked it!

sabella was absolutely amazing, full of fun and spooky facts. she really entertained and took care of us.

such an amazing tour with scott. such a highlight of my scotland trip