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Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon2 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 2 more

Overview

Journey through Edinburgh’s grisliest tales on a haunted walking tour. Experience the ghastly histories of monsters, madness, and murder that cast a dark shadow on the capital city. Discover the stories and sites of witch trials, pagan rituals, and executions, and hear about local monsters that live in urban myth. Then visit the chilling Old Calton Burial Ground or Canongate Kirkyard cemetery to learn about body-snatching and some of the infamous interred.
  • Walking tour of Edinburgh’s murky past and present, led by a knowledgeable guide
  • Explore the eerie, cobblestone streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town
  • Climb Calton Hill, the site of witch trials and pagan rituals, and take in panoramic views of the city
  • Visit Old Calton Burial Ground or Canongate Kirkyard cemetery and learn about body-snatching, vampires and more
  • Discover the capital’s gruesome past through the guide’s gripping commentary
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Professional guide
Hotel pickup and drop-off
130 High St , 130 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1QS, UK

The tours starts at 130 High Street (The Royal Mile), on the corner with Stevenlaw's Close. Look for the Red Umbrellas!

6:30 PM
This activity will end right where it started.
Your ghostly adventure starts in the evening on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in Old Town. Meet your local guide and steel yourself for a walk through the dark recesses of Edinburgh’s haunted history, hearing stories of murder, monsters, cannibals and other local oddities. Cross your fingers that you encounter (or not encounter!) a spooky character at one of the venues to come. 

First wind through shadowed alleys and cobbled streets to North Bridge and Calton Hill, where you get panoramic views of the city and a dose of gruesome history. Explore the monuments perched high above the city and learn about the grisly witch trials that occurred here. Still a sacred area for many, Calton Hill continues to host pagan rituals like the Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival.

Afterwards, continue to one of Edinburgh’s famous cemeteries. Stop at the 17th-century Canongate Kirkyard cemetery or Old Calton Burial Ground, where David Hume is buried. Hear about his fabled deal with the devil, as well as the history of Burke and Hare, body snatchers who made a killing (so to speak!) by selling corpses to medical science. 

Between stops, hear other creepy stories of execution, murder, torture, and hauntings. Your tour returns to the Royal Mile at a local pub. Pop inside for a drink to help warm your chilled soul (own expense)!
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Royal Mile
Meet your guide on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the main thoroughfare of the Old Town, and then set off on foot to begin your walking tour of the city’s shade side. Edinburgh is crawling with odd activity, and there are tales of murderers, vampires, monsters and even cannibals that locals nervously recall to each other.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
North Bridge
Follow your guide through dark courtyards and eerie alleys, and hear spine-chilling stories of executions, murders, torture, ghosts and witchcraft. Then, make for the North Bridge, with its own formidable history, before climbing Calton Hill.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Calton Hill
Feel the hair on the back of your neck stand on end as your guide tells real-life tales of gore and gruesomeness, including stories about the witch trials that once took place here. Discover how the site is still used today for pagan rituals such as the Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival, and drink in 360-degree views of the city’s skyline.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Old Calton Burial Ground
Then, continue to the Old Calton Burial Ground, one of Edinburgh’s chilling cemeteries. See the imposing mausoleum that marks the final resting place of David Hume, who is said to have made a deal with the devil, and perhaps hear of the infamous body snatchers Burke and Hare.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Canongate Kirk
Alternatively, visit the Canongate Kirkyard cemetery, which dates back to the 17th century. Rest assured, there is no staged gimmickry, monster masks or made-up stories on this tour.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Edinburgh Old Town
After roughly two hours, your tour concludes at a local pub near the Royal Mile, where you can purchase a pint of beer or a dram of whisky to help cool your nerves after this entertaining and intriguing tour (own expense).
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • The independent guides who employ us to market their tours have your best interests in mind; while the tour usually includes the sites & stories mentioned and lasts about 2 hours, your tour may vary depending on what your guide thinks is best for your group
  • We unfortunately do not advise guests in wheelchairs to join the Dark Side Tour, due to the narrow stairways and steep hills. We apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment caused.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Sandemans New Europe Ltd - Corporate Account
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends?
A:The policy on face masks and attendee health is:

  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
See all safety measures taken by Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends?
A:The policy on sanitization is:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
See all safety measures taken by Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips


  • "There was quite a lot of walking up and down hill (it is Edinburgh, after all), so you'll need to be fairly easily mobile on foot." See review
  • "This is a great way to be guided to Calton Hill which is a bit of a walk from the Royal Mile but well worth the trip" See review
  • "no explicit visuals) from a friendly tour guide, making it really very safe for children." See review

Reviews

5.0
star-5
2,366 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 2,366 reviews
star-5
Great way to see a lot of sights and get a bit of history and lore
Melissa_H
, May 2022
Lots of fun facts from past and present and not too gruesome or grisly. Our guide Australian David was entertaining and friendly and did a great job!
star-5
Darkside of Edinburgh
J_K
, May 2022
A great walking tour, Angus was extremely funny, friendly and knowledgeable. You get to hear some gruesome stories taken straight from the history of Edinburgh.
star-5
Australian David is a great tour guide and the darkside walking tour was very interesting
Francine_D
, May 2022
Australian David was our guide and he was superb! We did quite a few tours on this trip and our whole family agreed that he was the best guide. David is a great storyteller and very professional and friendly. We covered an amazing amount of ground in two hours and it flew by. The only thing that could have made this tour better was having a smaller group (we had 29) or if you must have that big of a group using the microphone and personal hearing devices, there were times it was a little hard to hear him.
star-5
Edinburgh's history
kim_m
, May 2022
Australian David did a wonderful job of bringing Edinburgh's history to life! We enjoyed the tour very much and highly recommend! You will not be disappointed!
star-5
Eva was enchanting , captivating and awesome great experience don’t hesitate to book .
Helen_B
, May 2022
Eva the tour guide was fun, energetic , passionate , interactive and approachable. The enthusiasm and energy she gave when reciting facts and story telling was captivating and brilliant . Her dedication to her role was inspiring. Eva without doubt was the main attraction and star of this tour , she could of recited the phone book and I would of been hooked . Thanks for a wonderful experience . Give this girl a pay rise .
star-5
“That guide with glasses” a GENIUS!
Eric_O
, May 2022
“That guide with glasses” (David, the Australian one 😉) was an amazing guide! He made our tour so dynamic and easy to follow. He’s so funny and it was a pleasure doing the tour with him.
star-5
Such Fun!
Roxann_H
, May 2022
Not only did we hear about the darker side of Edinburgh, we also got to see some beautiful and important monuments that we probably would have missed our own. This was our only tour in Edinburgh and we were pleased with our guide, Melanie!
star-5
Best Tour guide in Eidenburgh!
Jennifer_G
, May 2022
Do it! It was a great introduction to Edinburgh and it's history and if you're lucky, you'll get AnGUs as your guide. Funny, and a great storyteller, he does Scotland proud! And yes, the has a tattoo of Iron Brew heehee! Love from Ohio!
star-5
Great trip
Colin_D
, May 2022
Very enjoyable, Aussie Dave was very entertaining and knowledgeable, thoroughly worth the walk and it stayed dry (ish) but that didn't dampen the experience lol
star-5
Don’t miss this one!
stkrogers
, May 2022
Aussie David took us to the highs and lows of Edinburgh past. He was fun and informative. The walk covered a lot of Edinburgh that we would have missed on our own. I highly recommend this tour!

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