Taking a stroll in Edinburgh Old Town is like stepping into a film set. A very beautiful film set that is. And with both ghost stories, castles, well-preserved buildings and lots of souvenir shops, Old Town offers something for every taste.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile is the tourism center in Edinburgh. Here you find lots of attractions and beautiful well-preserved buildings gathered in one place. The Royal Mile is the nickname of the street that is running all the way from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle. The closer you are to Edinburgh Castle, the higher the concentration of restaurants, cafés and pubs is. A lot of colorful souvenir shops with more or less imaginative items are unavoidable as well. Shortbread cookies, kilts of questionable quality and CDs with Red Hot Chili Pipers are sold in outrageous numbers. (And yes, Red Hot Chili Pipers is a genuine bagpipe-band. Try to google them, it is actually pretty festive!)
Whether you’re into souvenir-shopping or not, you will find a nice atmosphere at Royal Mile. And it is very difficult not to admire one beautiful building after the other, as they are located side by side here. If it weren’t for all the tourists, you might be tempted to think that you had traveled a few hundred years back in time…
Ghosts and stories from the old days
If you think that the Royal Mile is nothing but fun and enjoyment, think again… Edinburgh is supposedly one of the most haunted cities in the world, so if you are looking for some spooky experiences, you have come to the right place. On the Royal Mile you will find a large selection of different ghost tours – some more scary than others. How about a guided tour in the cemeteries of Edinburgh during the night? Or maybe a tour with the scary ghost bus that will take you to the most haunted places of the city? You have a lot of options, so ask around before deciding what you want to do. The providers of the ghost tours are easy to recognize. Just look for the ones all dressed up in something that looks like a scary Halloween costume.
We chose to visit The Real Mary King’s Close. Here, you will only hear a few ghost stories – however, you will learn a lot about what it was like to live in Edinburgh in the 17th century. The duration of the tour is about an hour, and in this time you are guided through streets and buildings located under ground, that was closed off hundreds of years ago, so a newer part of town could be built on top. These streets and buildings have been untouched for centuries, but now it is possible to experience how people used to live here. Our guide told many good and very interesting stories about the people who lived and died here. It gave us a good understanding of how life used to be in Edinburgh. Very exiting, and definitely something that I will reommend!
Unfortunately, it was not allowed to take photos during the tour, but you can read more on Real Mary King’s Close website.
Get lost in the narrow streets of Edinburgh
The Old Town in Edinburgh is of course much more than just the Royal Mile! Edinburgh is a city with a lot of hills and stairs, so put on your comfortable shoes and discover the many crooked streets the city has to offer. You are almost guarantied to stumble upon small shops, delicious cafés and great views.
Old Town is also home to a couple of interesting places, if you are a fan of Harry Potter. If you are not, then swing by anyway. Even though you do not know who Tom Riddle is, these places are still worth a visit. Read more in my post about Edinburgh for Harry Potter fans.
Visited in June 2016
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