14 Sep Top 10 Best Tours in Edinburgh – Not to be Missed Edinburgh Excursions
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From the brick vaults, recesses and chambers of the Cowgate, to the wynds and alleyways that snake away from the main High Street, Edinburgh has much to offer anyone looking for interesting tours in and around the city.
For those wanting to head further afield, the city is the perfect base from which to explore the waterways of Leith or out into the rolling glens of Fife and beyond. There are some excellent scenic drives in Scotland just waiting for you to fall in love with too. Also, here’s a great guide on spending 10 days in Scotland.
Here’s our choices for the best tours in Edinburgh.
- Harry Potter Walking Tour
- Underground Evening Walking Tour With Whiskey
- Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands Tour
- Extreme Paranormal Underground Ghost Tour
- Comedy Horror Show: Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour
- St Andrews & Fishing Villages of Fife Tour
- Outlander, Palaces and Jacobites Tour
- Viking Coast and Alnwick Castle Small Group Day Tour
- Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian’s Wall Small Group Day Tour
- Whisky and Folklore – Whisky Tasting and Storytelling
Duration: 2 hours
Meet up with fellow muggles to experience this magical Harry Potter themed walking tour across the city of Edinburgh. You will get to discover some of the magical locations that inspired the famous characters and locations in JK Rowling’s award winning books. You will get to see where Lord Voldemort is buried, take a trip down the real life Diagon Alley, as well as taking a peak in the the cafe where Rowling first penned the story of Harry Potter and his wizarding ways.
You will even get the opportunity to be sorted into your house outside the school that inspired Hogwarts and find out fun facts like the identity of the world’s worst poet, and which Hogwarts teacher was named after him.
Duration: 2 hours
Experience this truly terrifying tour of Edinburgh based on real life historical events. Be brave and catch up with fellow walkers to listen to stories of blood, guts, and gore as you visit various underground locations across the city. In the haunted vaults of Blair Street, you can take your place as a member of the ‘Edinburgh mob’, who took great pleasure in rioting past the Mercat Cross.
Your cloaked guide with lead you through a world of dimly lit caverns, whilst regaling you with stories of witchcraft, torture and the restless spirits that still haunt the city today. End your evening sharing spooky stories with a wee dram of Dewar’s Scotch Whisky in a candlelit cellar bar.
Duration: 12 hours
Experience some of the most dramatic scenery the Scottish Highlands has to offer in this action packed full day tour. This excursion will have you journey out from the city, passing through hidden villages and around beautiful lochs to reach Glen Coe, the site of the 1692 massacre of the Clan MacDonald. The tours continues on past Ben Nevis to the world famous Loch Ness where you can enjoy a short 2 hour cruise and keep your eyes out for the ever elusive monster of the loch, or explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle.
Having taken in the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands, you will stop in the northern city of Inverness to explore the stunning architecture, before heading bak to Edinburgh once again.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Not for the feint hearted, this tour is only for the bravest of souls who want to explore the extensive paranormal history of the city. Taking in some of the city’s most haunted locations, this adult-only walking tour will wind its way through the the squares and streets of the Old Town, as you learn about the chilling stores that connect modern day Edinburgh with its gory past.
Pay a visit to Greyfriars Kirkyard, reputed to be the worlds most haunted cemetery and hear about the notorious bodysnatchers who disturbed the bodies of notorious serial killer William Burke and Hare. As the clock strikes midnight, the tour heads underground to visit the vaults below South Bridge for more frights and sights from departed souls whose spirits still linger there today.
Duration: 75 minutes
Climb aboard a vintage 1960’s Routemaster bus and join in the fun on this theatrical sightseeing tour the offers one of the spookiest and funniest experiences that Edinburgh has to offer. Enjoy the darker side of the city, as your creepy conductor escorts you all the way to Waverley Bridge, whilst regaling tails of witches, grave robbers and murderers, many of which are said to still inhabit the city from the other side!
Take in Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket, Greyfriar’s Kirk, Holyrood Palace and the Royal Mile as you sail along on your quirky bus, the only one of its kind, that is set to have survived a freak fire that totally destroyed the rest of the fleet. This bus may have survived, but the question is – will you?
Duration: 9 hours
This charming one day tour takes you from the bustling city of Edinburgh, out to the open spaces of St Andrews, via the picture postcard perfect fishing villages of Fife. The relaxed pace of the tour, leaves plenty of time for exploring the beautiful town of Anstruther, home of the Scottish Fisheries Museum before heading onwards to the medieval university town of St Andrews. Here you can explore the cathedral, the ancient cobbled streets or even the world famous golf course.
On the return journey to Edinburgh, the tour passes through the Lomond hills to the village of Falkland for a photo stop, then down to Loch Leven, where Mary Queen of Scot’s was imprisoned before she escaped. History and scenery combine on this day long tour of the Fife.
Duration: 9.5 hours
Discover the iconic palaces and castles as seen on TV’s “Outlander” series on this day long tour, that starts and ends in the city of Edinburgh. Taking in many of the sites for the fictional Jacobite saga, the tour includes a visit to Blackness Castle, the on-screen headquarters of Jack Randall, and Hopetoun House which was transformed into the Duke of Sandringham’s residence.
You will also get the opportunity to explore Wentworth Prison, set in the historic Linlithgow Palace, as well as Midhope Castle (Lallybroch) and Mercat Cross (Cranesmuir). Your tour guide will also share with you plenty of interesting facts about the filming of the series and the background of the characters.
Duration: 1 day
This full day tour begins with a scenic drive towards the historic border town of Berwick-on-Tweed, and across the ancient Scotland/England border into Northumberland. You will have the opportunity to visit Holy Island, also known as Lindisfarne, a small tidal island from which the Christian message spread throughout the North of England, and the site of the first of many fierce Viking invasions. You can also purchase some Lindisfarne Mead as a souvenir of your visit.
From here you will travel to Alnwick Castle, that you might recognise from many television shows and movies, including Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and even Blackadder. Guides in full costume will take you on a magical tour of the castle and its grounds, before you head back through the rolling countryside to the city of Edinburgh.
Duration: 1 day
Take in the mysterious 15th century Rosslyn Chapel, and the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall on this full one day tour departing from Edinburgh. The tiny chapel is now world renowned thanks to the publication of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ book and is surrounded in mystery, and connections to the Knights Templar and the Freemasons. Just a short walk though the rolling Glens takes you to the beautiful Roslin Castle, which is also rich in Scottish history.
After stopping at the pretty village of Melrose for lunch, the tour will continue on to the 2000 year old Hadrian’s Wall, the frontier of the Roman Empire and a magnificent reminder of one of the world’s greatest civilisations. Take pictures at Housesteads Fort in Northumberland National Park, or enjoy a slow stroll along the wall. The journey back to Edinburgh is broken up with a pit stop at Jedburgh Abbey along the way.
Duration: 2 hours
The good people of Scotland are famous for their love of great story telling and even better whiskey. On this 2 hour tour, you will be invited to sample four of the finest classic single malt scotch whiskeys the historic Waverley Pub has to offer. This iconic establishment has been in the same family for over 8 decades and is the ultimate venue to sample every kind of Whiskey, from the delicate and subtle flavours of the Lowlands to the bold and robust tastes from Islay.
To help you on your way to becoming a true Scottish whiskey connoisseur, you will also be given tasting cards giving information about each of the whiskeys that your sample. Enjoy 2 hours of great whiskey and fine folklore from the owner and his fellow whiskey buffs, as you experience what a real Edinburgh royal welcome feels like.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you buy a product after clicking on these links, I earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) which helps pay for the upkeep of this website.