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Discover the stories and social enterprises behind the city’s Old Town, poop yer pants during a poltergeist hunt in a graveyard and bring the magical Harry Potter books to life with trained wizards.
Run by experts in their field, Edinburgh walking tours include everything from facts about the city’s most popular attractions to photography in the lesser-known neighbourhoods.
These foot tours in Edinburgh are not just for visitors, locals are guaranteed to learn more about their city’s architecture, history and place in the world while having a laugh.
Support local! Join one of the following tours in Edinburgh to help small businesses while enjoying a socially distanced day out with pals.
If you find this guide useful, please share with your friends and on social media.
Best Edinburgh Walking Tours
Invisible Cities is an award-winning social enterprise that trains people who have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city.
They offer several tours in Edinburgh, all focused on themes and content developed by the guides themselves.
Edinburgh Tours On Offer
- Crimes & Punishment – Grassmarket – 3pm
- Leith: The Trainspotting Generation – 3pm
- Women of Edinburgh – Grassmarket – 3pm
- The Royal Mile: From Huts to High Rises – 2pm
- Edinburgh: City of Festivals
Tours operate every day and cost £12 per person per tour.
Book your Invisible Cities tour here.
Instructions For Customers
Invisible Cities is part of the ‘Good to Go’ scheme and have passed the COVID-19 assessment.
Tours will welcome smaller groups of up to 10 people who will practice safe distancing.
Customers are asked to bring their own mask, if you forget you will also have the option to buy a disposable mask at check out (when you book your tour) which your guide will hand out at the start of the tour.
Your guide will carry a bin bag with them to dispose of bought masks afterwards.
If you would like to leave a tip at the end of the tour but would rather not use cash you can do so via a cashless tip using a QR code directly on the tour or a link on our website.
Each guide has had a TipJar page set up which means they will get 100% of your cashless tips!
Everything Edinburgh Experience
As with all the outdoor tours we’ve done so far, the guide asked the group if we wanted him to wear a mask and advised us that since we were out in the fresh air we did not need to wear ours.
Find out more about Invisible Cities virtual tour in our Edinburgh from home guide
The Potter Trail
The Potter Trail is the original and best magical walking tour of Edinburgh’s Old Town taking fans to all the places that inspired She Who Cannot Be Named as well as the places where she wrote.
Edinburgh Tours On Offer
There are currently three versions of the classic Potter Trail tour.
The free public tour, the private tours and virtual zoom tours.
On all of these you will…
- See where Lord Voldemort is buried
- Discover in which café Rowling wrote the FIRST Potter book
- Take a trip down the real life Diagon Alley
- Find out which house you would be in at Edinburgh’s very own school of magic
- Learn who the world’s worst poet was, and which Hogwarts teacher is named after him
And much, much more! All of these tours feature a house point competition, spell casting and lots of opportunities to ask questions from the most experienced Harry Potter tour guides in the city.
Ronan and I have taken the virtual tour and loved it. Ronan is a huge Potter fan and I’ve not even read all the books, proving there is something for everyone!
So if you don’t fancy joining a foot tour you can still visit the Harry Potter locations in Edinburgh via Zoom.
Sign up here and mention we (Everything Edinburgh) sent you!
Tour Dates and Times
- Virtual Zoom tours are available every day and can be booked now. £40 per session, up to 20 screens.
- Private tours can be booked now and will resume from July 18th. Price depends on group size.
- Public tours are available from July 18th too, available to book online from July 10th. Free with the option to pay a ‘tip’ at the end. Always pay for your experience!
- Foot tours will take place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm.
The Potter Trail Tour Instructions
- Face coverings will be mandatory on our tours, anyone not wearing a face covering will not be permitted to join.
- Different households are asked to maintain a 2m distance at all times.
- Up to three different households permitted.
- Maximum of 14 people per group.
- Brings something you can use as a wand as The Potter Trail cannot give these out on the tours anymore.
- Anything roughly wand-shaped will do!
How to Pay
Finally all tours will all be cashless from now on.
Guides are equipped with card readers so you can use your money wands for contactless payments and our private tours can also be paid for in advance.
A Note From Our Pal Richard At The Potter Trails
There are a lot of Harry Potter tours in Edinburgh to choose from but don’t be fooled – we are the original tour!
We’re also one of the only ones to be operated by Edinburgh locals. We’re consistently in the top 5 walking tours in Edinburgh on TripAdvisor and have been featured everywhere from The Times, to PBS to BBC Scotland.
We’d also like to make it very clear that trans and non-binary people will always be very welcome on our tours.
Like many HP fans we have been saddened and dismayed by JK Rowling’s recent comments regarding transgender issues.
We will also be donating a percentage of our profits to the Scottish Trans Alliance from now on.
Everything Edinburgh stands with The Potter Trail.
We do not agree with She Who Cannot Be Named and are happy to see The Potter Trail donate to this charity.
We work with The Potter Trail and will waive our commission made from referrals so more profits can be donated to support trans equality in Scotland.
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Cobble Tales, powered by architect-guides, traces Edinburgh history through architecture.
Cobble Tales have a number of tours that will let you explore Edinburgh’s history through the lens of the architechts’ eyes.
Want to know how much of the New Towners’ fortunes were connected to slavery?
Want to learn about the underground vaults that lie beneath the city?
Or maybe you want to know more about the decay of Edinburgh’s old buildings and the efforts to save them.
Cobble Tales is a unique twist on a regular walking tour. Learn more about this beautiful city’s culture and heritage with knowledgeable local guides.
Tours range from 2-5 hours and start at £108 for 1-4 people or £27 per person for larger groups.
Get 5% off a private Cobble Tales tour with this code | ‘EVERY5’
Please bring your own face covering, we take care of the rest!
We are “Good to Go” certified for providing safe tours.
- Book online for contactless payment.
- Tours are led outdoors only, in large open spaces.
- Small groups of up to 8 people on public tours.
- Physical distance of 2m during the tour.
- We will provide digital handouts only.
- Guides do daily wellness checks to ensure they are healthy and symptom-free. If you or anyone in your group is experiencing symptoms, we will work directly with you to cancel or reschedule your tour.
- Guide and all participants wear a face covering during the tour.
Read next | Edinburgh’s most Instagrammable places
Edinburgh Vault Tours and Poltergeist Hunting in Edinburgh
There are a number of tours which take visitors from the safe cobbles of The Royal Mile to the lesser-known underground world of the vaults in Edinburgh.
Guides share stories of what life was like for the deprived population who found themselves living underground in the city at its South Bridge.
As you move through the rooms, the temperature drops and the tales get darker.
Are you brave enough? Reserve your ticket here.
Everything Edinburgh Experience
We were asked to wear our masks in the vaults but not on the Royal Mile or at the graveyard.
The guide asked the group if we were happy for him not to wear a mask.
Mercat Tours LTD
Mercat Tours believe history is a damn good story, and it needs a damn good telling!
They help visitors connect with Edinburgh’s past, the sights, stories and characters, on history walks and ghost tours of the city’s Old Town.
All tours are guaranteed, daily, year round with exclusive access to Blair Street Underground Vaults, Edinburgh Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Mercat Tours are an Award-winning, local family business, Living Wage Employer and part of the profit share bonus scheme.
Mercat Tours in Edinburgh
Mercat Tours COVID-19 Instructions
Please follow Government Guidelines and protect yourself in advance of your visit, and our team and other guests on your tour:
- Purchase tickets in advance, online
- Wear a mask on tour
- Bring headphones
Mercat Charter CV-19
- Smaller groups
- Personal distancing
- Use of TourTalk
You may also like our guide to unique Airbnb Experiences which connect visitors with local tours on unusual tours.
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