Royal Mile Tours

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The atmospheric Royal Mile thoroughfare cuts through the historic core of Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, extending for slightly more than a mile from Edinburgh Castle all the way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Both sides of the partly pedestrianized street are bordered by historic granite buildings bearing shop display windows piled high with symbols of Scotland, from tartan to whisky to shortbread. In between the former tenements and taverns are darkened arm-width-wide alleyways, known locally as closes.

The Basics
Because it penetrates the very heart of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town and is home to so many of the city’s star attractions, including St Giles’ Cathedral, the Scotch Whisky Experience, and Camera Obscura, the Royal Mile is a staple on Edinburgh sightseeing tours. Classic walking tours, Harry Potter–themed tours, and tours of the underground Real Mary King’s Close all cover portions of the Royal Mile, as do hop-on hop-off and ghost bus tours. Visitors based in Glasgow can take day tours to the city to see Edinburgh’s biggest attractions, among them, of course, the Royal Mile.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Wear sturdy walking shoes as some surfaces are uneven and sloping.
  • To avoid an uphill slog, start at Edinburgh Castle and walk downhill to Holyrood Palace, then use public transport or a taxi to get back up.
  • The cobblestoned sections of the street can cause difficulty for some wheelchairs, strollers, and mobility devices.

How to Get There
The Royal Mile comprises a succession of streets, namely Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Canongate, and Abbey Strand. It’s about a 5-minute walk from Princes Street tram station and even quicker from Edinburgh Waverley train station.

When to Get There
The Royal Mile is a much-frequented thoroughfare, and during the annual Edinburgh Festival in August, it is packed with visitors. If you can stomach the crowds, the atmosphere is truly something special with curbside entertainment courtesy of buskers and street performers.
 
Things to See on the Royal Mile
Many of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks are situated on the Royal Mile. In addition to the palace and castle at either end, you’ll find other centuries-old landmarks such as St Giles' Cathedral, the Mercat Cross, and Canongate Kirk. It’s not all dusty old attractions, though—the Royal Mile is also the setting for the contemporary Scottish Parliament Building, a striking 2004-built concrete structure whose abstract shapes and forms take inspiration from such diverse references as Scottish landscapes and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s paintings.
Location
Address: Edinburgh, Scotland
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Admission: Free
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30 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Edinburgh Harry Potter Walking Tour

Experience the magic of the world’s most famous wizard on a 2-hour Harry Potter walking tour of Edinburgh, perfect for families with kids. Alongside your Potter-mad guide, you’ll explore the winding streets and mysterious alleys that inspired J. K. Rowling to create the iconic wizarding world, and see filming locations featured in the movies. Plus, tick off top Edinburgh attractions such as the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, and Princes Street.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$19.44
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$19.44

Royal Mile Guided Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Explore famous landmarks and hidden secrets in Edinburgh on this 3-hour walking tour. Explore Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile with a guide, and gain insight into famous writers and inventors who have called the city home such as Sir Walter Scott, Alexander Graham Bell and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Hear of Scotland's national bard — Robert Burns — and discover top landmarks such as St Giles’ Cathedral and the National Galleries of Scotland. Capture Edinburgh through the eye of your camera as you go, and find out what makes this ancient city tick.
  • Duration: 2 to 3 hrs
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US$29.81
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  • Duration: 2 to 3 hrs
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US$29.81

Edinburgh Shore Excursion: City Highlights Tour

Experience the grandeur of Scotland’s brooding capital with a full-day shore excursion of Edinburgh. With an expert guide, journey by coach to the city’s main attractions such as the formidable Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and the Royal Yacht Britannia, owned by the British Royal Family for more than four decades! Accompany your local guide on a stroll along the Royal Mile and through Old Town, the city’s oldest quarter strewn with historic landmarks.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$67.39
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$67.39

Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

Learn about Edinburgh past and present on a private walking tour with an insider guide, who shares information about the city’s royal history and colorful characters, some of whom have inspired books and well-known stories. Get tips on where to eat and drink around the city, and see sights on and off the Royal Mile and near Greyfriars Kirk. You’ll enjoy one-on-one attention from a private guide on this tour that caters to couples, families and small groups looking for a more personal experience.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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US$38.88
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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US$38.88

Private Edinburgh City Tour in a Minibus

Explore Edinburgh from the comfort of your own personal minibus on a private full-day tour of the Scottish capital city. While listening to informative commentary from your guide, you’ll gaze at the Gothic silhouette of Edinburgh Castle and hear about the historic Royal Mile. Ascend Carlton Hill for panoramic city views, admire the grand architecture of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and become engrossed by tales of witchcraft, body snatching and a loyal dog. This private tour ensure you’ll receive undivided attention from your guide while experiencing the best Edinburgh has to offer.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$550.80
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$550.80

Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour

Save valuable vacation time with skip-the-line access to Edinburgh Castle on this 1.5-hour walking tour. Listen to your guide's commentary about the Scottish landmark's history as you walk through the fortress.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$38.23
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$38.23

City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

An Edinburgh bus tour is the perfect way to hear commentary on city sights and get a panoramic overview. This City Sightseeing tour of Edinburgh lets you hop on and off at 14 strategically placed stops as many times as you like. Board the open-top double-decker bus and travel the entire 60-minute route, or stop at Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum and much more. Buses depart every 20 minutes from each stop. Tickets are valid for 24 hours from first use.
  • Duration: 1 day
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US$19.44
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  • Duration: 1 day
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US$19.44

Glencoe, Loch Ness, and The Highlands Tour from Edinburgh

See the best of Scotland in one action-packed day on this 12.5-hour Glencoe, Loch Ness and the Highlands tour from Edinburgh. Pass Stirling Castle on route to Kilmahog with a guide, then continue through Rannoch Moor to the soaring Highland peaks of Glen Coe. Head along the banks of Loch Linnhe to Fort William and gaze over Ben Nevis — Scotland’s highest mountain. Enjoy free time to explore Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, and learn the famous legend of Nessie! Visit Inverness, then travel through the mighty Grampian Mountains to Edinburgh.
  • Duration: 12 hours 30 minutes
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US$54.43
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  • Duration: 12 hours 30 minutes
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US$54.43

Edinburgh Historical Walking Tour Including Skip the Line Entry to Edinburgh Castle

See the best of medieval yet modern Edinburgh this 2-hour walking tour with skip-the-line access to Edinburgh Castle. As you walk, listen as your guide shares the history of this formidable city with ancient Roman roots and UNESCO-listed pockets. Explore atmospheric cobbled walkways along the Royal Mile, breeze into Edinburgh Castle to witness royal opulence, and pass iconic locations like St Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square and John Knox House.
  • Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
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US$38.88
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  • Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
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US$38.88

Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends

Journey through Edinburgh’s grisliest tales with a 2-hour 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.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$16.22
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$16.22

3-Hour Edinburgh Secret Food Tour

Scotland is renowned for its unique cuisine, but Edinburgh’s foodie hotspots are best explored with a local guide. On this 3-hour small-group walking tour, discover the UNESCO-listed Old and New Towns, and sample Scottish classics such as Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, Scotch whisky, and afternoon tea.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$82.58
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$82.58

Shore Excursion: The Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh City Tour, Rosslyn Chapel Tour and Dinner from Edinburgh

Maximize time in Edinburgh with a private full-day shore excursion including pick-up at the cruise terminal. Explore the Old Town on foot, hearing stories from your local guide as you see the Royal Mile. Visit the 15th century Rosslyn Chapel and taste traditional Scottish fare in a historic pub before heading to Edinburgh Castle for reserved seating to see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  
  • Duration: 12 hours
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US$456.19
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  • Duration: 12 hours
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US$456.19

Edinburgh Famous Underground Ghost Tour

Edinburgh is known for its dark past, and this 75-minute evening walking tour is the original one to showcase the city's historically sinister and spooky side. Discover the hidden ‘wynds’ (alleys) and closes of the Old Town as you learn their mysteries and horrors; visit the ghost-ridden Greyfriars Kirkyard; and explore the city’s underground vaults to uncover their spirits and secrets. Your tour is led by a creepily costumed guide.
  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
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US$12.96
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  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
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US$12.96

Underground Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Step off the tourist trail and explore the Scottish capital’s hidden secrets on this 1 hour underground walking tour in Edinburgh. Follow a guide from the South Bridge in Edinburgh Old Town down below street level, where a series of ancient vaults lie. As you explore the dark passageways, learn why the vaults were built, hear of the poor souls who sought refuge in the depths and discover a hidden witchcraft temple. Gain insight into city life during the 18th century, and learn of the deadly diseases which threatened Edinburgh’s inhabitants.
  • Duration: 1 hour
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US$15.55
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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US$15.55

Edinburgh Ghost Tour by Vintage Bus

Delve into Edinburgh’s horrific history on this evening ghost bus tour. With your spooky local guide, visit the city’s most terrifying locations, haunted by infamy and restless spirits! From your seat in a double-decker vintage bus, gaze at eerie sites such as Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh Castle, Grassmarket and the Royal Mile. Throughout the 1-hour trip, hear anecdotes and facts about Edinburgh’s chilling past, replete with bloody executions, unspeakable tortures and murder.
  • Duration: 1 hour
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US$22.03
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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US$22.03

Edinburgh Old Town History and Underground Vaults Ghost Tour

Delve into old Edinburgh’s history and often grisly past on this 1-hour Old Town and Underground Vaults walking tour. Explore the cobbled lanes off the Royal Mile as your costumed guide shares creepy and entertaining tales about murder, mysteries and the city's dark days. Then, explore the South Bridge vaults, once the lairs of bodysnatchers and killers, and thought to be haunted. An early afternoon departure makes the tour family-friendly.
  • Duration: 1 hour
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US$11.66
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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US$11.66

Early Evening Underground Ghost Tour in Edinburgh

Get a night in Edinburgh off to a spooky start on an early evening 75-minute walking tour of the Old Town’s lanes and underground vaults. Led by a costumed guide, explore the old quarter's secret ‘wynds’ (alleys) and closes, hearing tales of their 18th-century slums and stories of murders and crimes. Then, head into the city’s underground vaults where ghosts and spirits are still said to lurk.
  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
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US$11.66
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  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
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US$11.66

3-day Iona and Mull Islands tour from Edinburgh

Iona and Mull are two of the most scenic islands of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides and this multi-day tour from Edinburgh visits both. Cruise out to Mull from Oban; discover the islands’ Celtic history at Iona Abbey; and enjoy photo opportunities at Glen Coe and Loch Lomond.
  • Duration: 3 days
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US$356.40
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  • Duration: 3 days
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US$356.40

The Royal Military Tattoo, Edinburgh City Tour, Rosslyn Chapel Tour and Dinner from Edinburgh

Edinburgh is at its busiest during the Royal Military Tattoo but you can get away from the crowds on this private guided tour. Traveling in minibus in the company of just your party and a guide, explore the city streets from the medieval Old Town to the Georgian New Town before heading out of town to Rosslyn Chapel. Enjoy a 4-course dinner back in the city before taking your reserved seats for the spectacle that is the Military Tattoo, an unforgettable evening of music, ceremony, and dance.
  • Duration: 12 hours
From
US$456.19
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  • Duration: 12 hours
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US$456.19

Edinburgh Real Fear Ghost Tour: Old Town, Cemetery, and Underground Vaults

Edinburgh’s stately streets hide a darker, more mysterious side of the city, rooted in its 18th-century slums, ‘wynds,’ (alleyways), and vaults. This 75-minute tour takes you back in time to this shadowy world, exploring dark cobbled lanes, a haunted cemetery, and underground vaults. As you explore, your costumed guide shares captivating tales of the city’s history, along with stories of ghosts, murders, crimes, and more.
  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
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US$18.14
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  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
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US$18.14

Chauffeur Driven Private Sightseeing Tour of Edinburgh

Explore Edinburgh without the hassle of driving or using public transit on a private sightseeing tour with round-trip hotel transport. Your driver, who navigates for you, points out top landmarks and architectural gems, from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood House. With the flexibility to customize your itinerary and inside recommendations from your driver, this private tour is a popular choice for newcomers who wish to orient themselves in the city.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$615.60
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$615.60

Guided Edinburgh Private Walking Tour

Embark on an enriching 3.5 or 7-hour walking tour of Edinburgh’s cultural and historical highlights with a private guide. While you listen to insightful commentary, you’ll visit iconic landmarks and hidden gems according to an itinerary tailored to your interests. Explore the cobbled streets of the Old Town, gaze at Edinburgh Castle on its rocky perch and ascend to the summit of Calton Hill for panoramic city views. On this private tour, you’ll receive the undivided attention of your guide while gaining unique insight into the Scottish capital.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$317.52
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$317.52

Edinburgh City Tour by Glass-Roofed Convertible Mini-Coach

Ride through Edinburgh in a glass-roofed, convertible mini coach on this 50-minute hop-on-hop-off tour. Learn the history, culture and traditions of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with a small group of fellow travelers, limited to 15 people or fewer. Stop by some of the area's top attractions, such as the Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh’s central university area. Hear an insider's perspective on the vibrant city via the onboard audio commentary.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$19.44
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$19.44

Private Executive Minibus Tour of Edinburgh

Experiencing Edinburgh’s many highlights can be tricky on limited time. Maximize your visit on a private day tour, and discover landmarks including Arthur’s Seat, the Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle. Learn about the city’s history and culture from your guide, and travel the seven hills with ease via air-conditioned, panoramic minibus.
  • Duration: 8 hours
From
US$699.84
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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US$699.84


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