Things to do in
St. Giles' Cathedral

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

Comedy Horror Show: Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour

1. 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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Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

2. 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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Edinburgh: Old Town History and Tales Walking Tour

3. Edinburgh: Old Town History and Tales Walking Tour

You will 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! You will 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. Your tour will finish in the heart of Edinburgh, surrounded by several bars, restaurants, cafe's, and great transport links.

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Edinburgh: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour

4. Edinburgh: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour

Download an MP3 audio guide and explore Edinburgh's famous attractions at your own pace. Begin your tour at Edinburgh Castle, 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. See the Princes Street Gardens, the Royal Mile, Tolbooth Kirk, the George IV Bridge, Edinburgh City Chambers, Tron Kirk, and the Scottish Parliament Building. 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). 

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

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

Save money and explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a 3-route tour ticket. Tour for 24 or 48 hours, to 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

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Edinburgh: Haunted City Exploration Game & Self-Guided Tour

6. Edinburgh: Haunted City Exploration Game & Self-Guided Tour

Be led on an exciting self-guided tour around Edinburgh while playing a mobile-based quest with your friends and family. See many of Edinburgh’s most famous attractions and go on a journey through some of the city’s most haunted places. Download the app, go to the starting point, and begin the adventure. Follow clues and visit ghostly locations including Greyfriars Kirkyard, the site of the Nor’ Loch and West Bow, and sites where public executions were held. Unlock secrets about the places you visit as you solve puzzles and guess the answers. Learn about the Scottish Witch Hunts and the Burke and Hare murders and view the hall containing a book made of William Burke’s flesh. Use the clues to lead you from one site to another. Each clue provides you with exact directions so you won't need a map, GPS, or guide. Complete the tour in about 1.5 hours, however, there’s no time limit, allowing you to go at your own pace. Play as a group or split into smaller groups/teams and compete against the others. Each person can also play on their own, separate from the group, and meet the group at the end of the tour. Take part in a special Halloween event on October 30 featuring live actors. Wear your best costume to win a contest with prizes such as a $1000 GetYourGuide gift card, a (real) coffin, and much more.

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Edinburgh: Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour

7. 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.

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Edinburgh: Scotland's Dark Secrets Walking Tour

8. Edinburgh: Scotland's Dark Secrets Walking Tour

Marvel at the mysteries lurking behind Edinburgh on a walking tour focusing on the city's darker side. Visit Edinburgh Castle, Grey Friars Kirkyard, and the Old Tollbooth Prison. Let your guide thrill you with macabre, twisted tales from days gone by. Learn about witches and ghosts from the city's past and find out which ones are still lurking around today. Soak up every creaky nook and cranny while you search for signs of ghosts and ghouls on this unforgettable walking tour of Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh: 3-Hour Guided Walking Tour

9. 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 Dr. Alison Duncan, Scotland expert and professional historian, will guide you through this beautiful city. You’ll see many of the city’s highlights, including Usher Hall and Edinburgh Castle. You’ll walk along the Royal Mile, tour the interior of St. Giles Cathedral, 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 of Edinburgh with you in an informative, personable, and enjoyable manner. Have no fear, as it won't all be serious stuff! Your guide will also show you the Mound, and take you on a tour of the National Galleries of Scotland. At the gallery you’ll see paintings by masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, and many others. Also, typically you will see Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens, the Scott Monument, George Street, and Charlotte Square.

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Edinburgh: Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and City Walking Tour

10. Edinburgh: Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt and City Walking Tour

Solve riddles on your smartphone as you explore some of the main tourist sights in Edinburg. Learn about the city as you go. Download the app and head over to the starting point at the Scott Monument. Use the map to navigate to each location as you complete challenges. Pause at any time to take a break or do some sightseeing.

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Other Sightseeing Options in St. Giles' Cathedral

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What people are saying about St. Giles' Cathedral

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,174 reviews

Ally was great, funny, knowledgeable and humble. He made what was a cold grey day into a fun, informative and entertaining tour. His recommendations for food and activities to look into after the tour were spot on too. Will definitely recommend.

Definitely the best way to navigate around the city, and find out the history, there’ll be lots you’ve walked past and not noticed before. It’ll be the first thing I try to book to do when I next go on a city break

We had so much fun on our self guided tour! We did it in the evening to make it more atmospheric and really enjoyed ourselves while learning a lot of interesting stories about Edinburgh’s brutal past.

An interesting, complete narrative for a fantastic city. Saw parts of the city never seen or explored before. The tour guide was great, knowledgeable and charming.

Fab bus tour that can get you all around the city with history learning as well.