Your 2-hour sightseeing tour of historic Edinburgh begins in early afternoon. Meet your guide at Mercat Cross on High Street and stroll along the cobbled streets of Old Town, peeking into cloistered courtyards and learning about how centuries of Dunediners (or Edinburgers!) have lived within the city’s narrow passageways, termed ‘closes’ and ‘wynds.’ As you walk, hear about Edinburgh’s extensive history, officially beginning with Roman settlement, though most renowned for its infamous royal residents and bloody wars of religious reformation and independence.
Follow medieval streets and alleys, and check out the protected Reformation-era constructions such as St Giles Cathedral, often called the High Kirk of Edinburgh. Hear some of the site’s dramatic events like that of Protestant reformer Jenny Geddes, whose assault on a bishop indirectly led to the Wars on the Three Kingdoms. Stop in Parliament Square and at the famous John Knox House, a historic treasure that is one of the last original medieval buildings on the Royal Mile. Then continue on to Castlehill, where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the bustling city below.
Next, head to Edinburgh Castle, strategically perched upon the craggy hilltop of Castle Rock, where you’ll have skip-the-line access to tour the building’s impressive interior. Learn about medieval life in the palace and the many bloody battles fought here such as the War of Independence in the 14th century. On a 45-minute guided tour, explore grand buildings like the Royal Palace and Margaret’s Chapel, see the ancient Stone of Destiny, and soak up the glimmer of the Honours of Scotland’s – the UK’s oldest crown jewels.
Your excursion ends here in the afternoon.