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Edinburgh Vaults

Edinburgh Vaults: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

1. Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

Explore Edinburgh's ghostly past on a guided tour through the streets of the Old Town and its underground vaults. Listen as your cloaked guide tells you tales of the city's dark and grim past as you are led along the Royal Mile. If you dare, step into the narrow alleyways, which are only a few feet wide. Make your way to the South Bridge, and head underneath, where Edinburgh's Vaults are located. Once storage areas for businesses and shops in the area, the vaults were taken over in the late 1700s and turned into living spaces. Eventually, the area became home to slums and the city's red-light district. As you walk through these now-vacant rooms, you will hear tales of the deplorable living conditions, as well as of the crime that once raged through the vaults. When you emerge from the underground, consider yourself lucky that it isn't in the dead of night.

Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Historical Tour

2. Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Historical Tour

Immerse yourself in the history of Edinburgh on a guided city walking tour. Trace the origins of the city as you explore the Royal Mile, the underground vaults, and Old Town, with stories hidden behind every turn. The historical tour begins at the Old Police Box on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, where you will be met by a local historian and proceed straight into the Underground Vaults. Edinburgh's Underground is over 400 years old and is full of fascinating history, all of which the guide will share with you. After visiting the Underground Vaults, your guide will take you all around Edinburgh's Royal Mile and Old Town, visiting some hidden closes and other spots of historical significance. Delve into parts of Edinburgh that you did not know existed, mostly off the tourist trail.  Hear that the first skyscrapers in the world were built in Edinburgh, discover the identity of the local criminal who became the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde, and learn where the phrase "Black Market" came from. Find out where Ebeneezer Scrooge is buried – yes, really – and how Edinburgh University worked closely with the serial killers, Burke and Hare. Edinburgh’s history is long and fascinating, made even more special when told by your enthusiastic, passionate, and local guide. 

Edinburgh: Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour

3. Edinburgh: Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour

The Story of the Underground This is a chance to visit our Underground Vaults – the deepest, largest and most extensive in the city in the company of a Mercat historian. After sitting unexplored for two centuries, there are many questions waiting to be answered…Why were the Vaults built? When and who by? Who used the Vaults? When and why? How did they work, and play? Your guide will recount their history, recall their stories and answer your questions during this glimpse into our past.

Edinburgh: Late Night Guided Ghost Tour & Underground Visit

4. Edinburgh: Late Night Guided Ghost Tour & Underground Visit

Dare to join one of Edinburgh’s most infamous characters as you explore the city’s haunted past. Begin your tour with a walk through the dark and mystifying Old Town. Listen to stories about Edinburgh’s troubled and tormented past, walking some of the most haunted streets as you go. Then, descend into the Underground closes and chambers hidden beneath the streets and bridges of Edinburgh. See bridge arches from the 1700s, walls and doorways from former houses, and the modern pavement (with people walking above you) through a skylight. Finally, follow your guide out of the Underground and head back to the starting point to end your terrifying tour. 

Edinburgh: Late Night Haunted Underground Vaults Tour

5. Edinburgh: Late Night Haunted Underground Vaults Tour

This 60-minute adults-only tour is a chilling way to explore Edinburgh after dark. Head underground for an unsettling introduction to the city’s unpleasant past. These tales are not fit for the glare of daylight or for telling to those under 18. Your guide will share true stories of sinister misdeeds and terrible consequences, starting aboveground around the wynds and closes of the Old Town. You'll hear of bloody plots that led to treason and torture, and secret lives that led to horrific deaths and tormented souls. To delve deeper, head to the Blair Street underground vaults, where there’s definitely an unsettling feeling. Your expert Mercat guide will tell you troubled tales as you continue this terrifying walking tour. Expect true stories of murder and hangings, all of which took place in these very vaults. There’s evidence of life in the distant past, lurking just beyond the faint beam of your guide’s flashlight.

Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Evening Ghost Tour with Whisky

6. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Evening Ghost Tour with Whisky

Journey into Edinburgh’s ghostly past and uncover the secrets behind each turn on a guided walking tour. Descend into the underground vaults and finish your tour with a drink in an authentic tavern. Hear the troubling tales of Edinburgh's past from your guide, from the bloody crimes to the unsettled spirits that roam the city. Visit the shadowy corners of old Edinburgh that many say are haunted. Descend into the famously haunted Blair Street underground vaults where the ghosts of Edinburgh's past still cling to this day. Learn about the dark history of the vaults before finishing your tour with a drink and some storytelling at a local tavern.

Edinburgh: Guided Ghost Walking Tour

7. Edinburgh: Guided Ghost Walking Tour

Discover more about the dark side of Edinburgh's history on a guided walking tour. Stroll along the Royal mile, explore the eerie underground of the city, and wander through Greyfriars Graveyard. Begin your tour at a traditional police box. Walk with your guide up The Royal Mile, and hear stories that have happened over the years in the area. After that, head up to Greyfriars Graveyard where lots of paranormal activity has been registered over the years. Learn about the graveyards spooky past and the notable and notorious people buried there. To finish the tour, visit the 18th century underground vaults called Niddry's Wynd, that were once old streets but now lie under the road of South Bridge. Hear about the areas history, how the vaults became buried, and which haunted activity has taken place there.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh Vaults

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What people are saying about Edinburgh Vaults

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 12,915 reviews

Absolutely fabulous guide who absorbed us in thrilling history of living in the harshest of times. Walking the same ground of many poor soul down in the Vaults and catching spirits energy on my phone camera. Weird but thrilling. Loved the tavern and whisky time in which more grizzly tales were told.

What a powerfully amazing experience! This was the best part of our stay in Edinburgh! Veni was a spectacular guide and she will be remembered fondly after our holiday!

The tour was very spooky and Ann-Margaret was an excellent guide! Enjoyed it very much!

The guide was really fun and gave attention to everyone. I recommend this tour :)

It was a great tour and our tour guide was absolutely fantastic.