THE HIDDEN GEMS OF EDINBURGH, ABOVE AND BELOW GROUND

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Customised, private tours of Scotland in English or German.

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Tour snapshot

 

Come and experience the hidden secrets of this beautiful mediaeval city.  Let me transport you back to the Middle Ages, where you must allow your imagination to run wild.  Discover the majesty and horror of Edinburgh Castle.  Wonder at the Scottish Crown jewels , The Honours of Scotland, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the ramparts of this fortress, perched on top of a volcanic plug. Visit  the former royal palace, closely associated with the Stuart Dynasty.  Relive the  atmosphere in the underground dungeons and the Great Hall, the focus of life in the royal court during the reign of the Stuarts.

 

Saunter down the Royal Mile, meandering in and out of original narrow Closes and Wynds.  Stumble across pubs galore, where the nightlife rocks until the wee hours. Be overawed by a visit to Parliament Hall, once the home of the Scottish Parliament, now the impressive backdrop to the Writers to the  Signet and symbolic of our legal traditions.  Take in the sights and sounds of life street performers and the haunting melodies of the pipes.

 

Visit ancient graveyards and churches and be moved by stories of courage and sacrifice, myth and legend, grandeur and poverty.  Let the city embrace and transport you back in time.  Indulge in “foodie” sensations whilst walking down towards the Palace of Holyrood House.  Sample a dram of malt whisky, shortbread, fudge, Scottish cheeses and for the very brave, a deep fried Mars bar!

 

Discover the exquisite courtyard from where coaches used to transport travelers down to London to Scotland Yard in London,  a journey that took three weeks! Stand in awe in front of the Royal Palace of Holyrood House, the official residence of her Majesty the Queen in Scotland.

Highlights

  • Relive life during the Middle Ages whilst visiting Edinburgh Castle. Admire the The Honours of Scotland, housed within the former royal palace. Wander into the Great Hall  where members of the Royal Court used to feast and be entertained.

  • Visit Old Town pubs and sample a wee dram of whisky or a draught ale. Indulge in some of our typical culinary treats.

  • Allow yourself to be transported back to a time when myths and legends prevailed; when witches were burned at the stake, where the poor often lived in closes many of which are still buried beneath the Old Town.  Should time permit, visit Mary King’s Close.

  • Wander down the Royal Mile, past the new Scottish Parliament and arrive at the Royal Palace of Holyrood House, where our tour will end

Full Itinerary

We will begin our tour on top of Castle Hill, upon which Edinburgh Castle is perched.  Like many other cities, Edinburgh is also built on seven hills, but only volcanic plugs remain.  Your entrance ticket to the castle is included in the tour price and as members of a private tour, you will be able to bypass long queues. We will slowly ascend the narrow, winding road to Crown Square, from where you can visit the former Royal Palace, the The Honours of Scotland Exhibition and  The Great Hall.   Those visitors with Scottish ancestors, who fought for Queen and country,  can discover much about their family members in the Scottish War Memorial.  Staff are always on hand to assist you. There will be the opportunity to stop and photograph stunning panorama views over the city and whilst approaching the summit, we will pass by the entrance to the former prisons, which housed prisoners of war from  far-flung nations.  Wax figures and a running audio feed bring the entire visitor experience to life.  The walk up to the summit is quite steep, but we will walk up together slowly.  Those with walking difficulties may use a special vehicle that transports visitors to Crown Square from the parade ground below.  Visitors should avoid carrying large bags or backpacks, since these will be searched. 

 

When we leave the Castle, our route leads us gently downhill along the Royal Mile – the most famous street in Scotland.  You will be distracted by the call of retail therapy, as we aim to avoid the temptation of cashmere and whisky stores!  You will have the opportunity to sample Scottish delights en route, such as fudge, cheeses, malt whisky and even a deep fried Mars bar.  The latter sounds disgusting BUT it is the mainstay of Scottish youths, when in need of a pick me up! 

 

We will detour round to Greyfriars Bobby, where you will fall in love with the story about the loyalty and devotion of this famous wee Scottish terrier.  The graveyard is a magnet for all who enjoy Pictish carvings  and memorial headstones displaying symbols of former Guild and Trade members .  The mortsafes are always compelling too.

 

We will pause in front of the Royal Museum of Scotland, before returning to the Royal Mile.  Our visit to Parliament Hall is always a privilege  and a highlight.  Photography is strictly forbidden and all bags will be searched.  With luck, you will see bewigged advocates promenading up and down the hall, deep in conversation with their clients.  One cannot help but be overawed and inspired by the centuries of tradition.  Thereafter we will walk past the Mercat Cross, from where all news used to be disseminated to the public by a town crier.

 

As we walk down the mile, I will point out various other attractions, which you might wish to visit later: Mary King’s Close, St Giles Cathedral, the Signet Library, the Writers' Museum featuring literary giants such as Robert Louis Stevenson,  Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns.  We will pause in a famous pub, to sample either a whisky or a Scottish ale.  The Edinburgh watering holes are numerous and legendary.  Most feature live Scottish music every evening from 7pm.

 

We will pass by several kilt outfitters and the secret will finally be revealed – what do the Scots wear beneath their kilts!  The story of our traditional attire is compelling and reveals so much about the Clans and Scottish culture.

 

We will pass by the Tron, where residents within the old city walls used to need to have their wares weighed, before selling them at the market – this to establish how much tax was due.  The picturesque courtyard which witnessed the departure of the daily coach to Scotland Yard in London, until the arrival of the railway, is also unmissable, as is the former house of John Knox, the architect of the Scottish Reformation.

 

Ghost tours and haunted venues abound in Edinburgh and our stories are rich and mostly based on fact.  Film venues also feature prominently, especially for Harry Potter and Outlander fans. At the end of our 4 hour tour we will arrive at the foot of the Royal Mile, where those who wish can visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse, an experience I would heartily recommend.

Inclusions:

 

  • Private tour with qualified , accredited STGA Tourist Guide

  • Samples of Scottish delicacies such as fudge or whisky

  • Visit to Parliament Hall (not at weekends)

 

Exclusions:

  • All entrance fees

  • Additional food and drink, items of a personal nature, and tips / gratuities for your guide

Tour Details:

By arrangement with client.  Tour must be pre-booked.

I will meet clients either at their hotel or elsewhere at their request.

English or German language

4 hours max

Price:

£190.00 for up to 6 people

Meeting point: 

09:00 - Deacon Brodies Tavern, 435 Lawnmarket Edinburgh EH1 2NT

Goosepie House
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Festival Royal Mile
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Edinburgh Castle
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Fringe
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St Giles Cathedral
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Royal Palace of Holyrood House
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Tenement
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Royal Mile
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Holyrood House
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