Our Edinburgh Full-day tour is a comprehensive exploration of the city which includes both a tour of Edinburgh’s famous sites and many of the ‘off the beaten trail’ locations. A big part of this trip is bringing Edinburgh’s history to life through interesting stories, quirky recounts of events, antiquities and idioms. This is customised to your interests, but you’ll leave with a real connection to Edinburgh through the eyes of a local. These are the highlights…
From the top of Calton Hill take in the world-famous vista over Princes Street towards Edinburgh Castle. Calton Hill also boasts quirky and interesting architecture including the National Monument of Scotland, Nelson’s Column and the old Royal Observatory.
Edinburgh New Town
A large scale development built in Georgian times in part to relieve the hugely over-populated city and in part to provide an enlightened new city, the first of its kind in Scotland. We’ll learn the social history of this area of the city and visit some of its grand mansion houses.
Edinburgh Old Town
Take a tour of the medieval old city and Edinburgh, learn 1000 years of living history, the effect of the Black Death, the great fire and developments and characters that lead the world. Typically this includes an element of walking through the area to be able to access some of the hidden gems that this part of Edinburgh hides.
We’ll see St Giles Cathedral and venture down a few of the closes (alleys) that ooze history, folklore and stories from old Edinburgh.
The Royal Mile that runs for a ‘Scottish mile’ (around 1.3 miles / 1.8 kilometres) through the heart of the old town from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. We will explore much of the mile, its closes and colourful history.
The lively Grassmarket area has a sinister past as the place for Edinburgh’s public executions. There are many famous stories about executions that your guide will recite. Climb ‘The Vennel’ and see the remains of the Flodden Wall and take in this unique view of the Castle.
Victoria street is a winding cobbled lane with an eclectic selection of colourful shops on top of one another. Edinburgh is famously the birthplace of Harry Potter and Victoria Street is the inspiration for Diagon Alley… The perfect place to buy a new wand!
Grayfriars Kirkyard at Potterow is the old city’s main burial site. We’ll learn the cute story of Grayfriars Bobby, a loyal dog who guarded over his owners grave against the resurrectionists. We’ll visit Bobby’s statue nearby and learn the darker stories of some of those interred within.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
Holyrood Palace is official residence of the Monarchy in Scotland. The impressive entrance courtyard and Palace dominate the scene including the Queens Gallery next door. You’ll learn about the fascinating history of this place from Mary Queen of Scots to the Jacobite occupation and the role of the palace in the modern monarchy.
In stark contrast to the Palace, The modernist Scottish Parliament building sits across the road. It is home to the devolved Scottish government. Learn about the controversial architecture and about political life in modern Scotland.
Arthur’s seat is the dramatic volcanic ‘plug’ mountain that can be seen from all corners of the city. If open, we’ll explore Queens Drive which that offers fantastic views back to the city.
Edinburgh has many areas that where once separate villages such asDuddingston Village and Dean Village. Duddingston hosts the historical Sheep Heid Inn, the oldest pub in Scotland and quaint Duddingston Kirk (church) with a fascinating history. Dean village is a haven of tranquility and we’ll stop to have a wander around this enclave of the city.
Leith Docklands & The Shore
Technically a separate town, the extensive docks around Leith and Shore are intertwined with cobbled lanes, tramways and bond buildings. Leith is also the home to The Royal Yacht Britannia, a floating museum to the monarchy.
South Queensferry & Forth Bridges
Venturing out of the city we arrive at South Queensferry, a quaint coastal town on the banks of the Firth of Forth. Marvel at the Forth Bridges; a Victorian Forth Rail Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge and the recent Queensferry Crossing.
During your private tour we will explore many of the hundreds of attractions and sights of the city. Typically we don’t include Edinburgh Castle in this itinerary as it requires at least 2 hours to explore fully.