6 Best Edinburgh Walking Tours For New Visitors

Harry Potter Trail Edinburgh Tour_

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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 day out with pals.

Walking Tours in Edinburgh’s Old Town

Edinburgh Vault Tours and Poltergeist Hunting in Edinburgh

There are a number of tours that 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.

Underground Vault Corridor Tours

Mercat Tours LTD

Mercat Tours believes 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 yearly, with exclusive access to Blair Street Underground Vaults, Edinburgh Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Mercat Tours is an award-winning, local family business, a Living Wage Employer, and part of the profit share bonus scheme.

Canongate Kirk Edinburgh Royal Mile

Mercat Tours in Edinburgh

Outlander Edinburgh Tour in Scotland

Whisky Tasting and Walking

This 2-hour tour takes attendees through the streets of the Old Town, focusing on locations that helped put Scotland on the map for whisky, thanks to the biggest scotch fan, King James IV/

The second part of the walking tour leads visitors underground to Megget’s Cellar for a cosy whisky-tasting experience.

For more whisky-related tours, read this guide.

Scotch Whisky Experience tour dram whisky

Invisible Cities

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

  • Uncover Stories of Crime and Punishment
  • The Royal Mile – Edinburgh’s Most Famous Street
  • Women of Edinburgh – Grassmarket
  • Boil Boil Toil and Trouble- History of Witchcraft in Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh’s Queer History
  • The Alternative Story of Leith
Invisible Cities Trainspotting Tour Leith Edinburgh_

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 and the places where she wrote.

Edinburgh Tours On Offer

There are currently two versions of the classic Potter Trail tour – public and private.

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
Spoon Black Medicine Food Harry Potter Edinburgh

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!

Harry Potter Trail Edinburgh Tours

Tour Dates and Times

  • Free walking tours take place every day. Payment is by tip
  • Public tours can contact the provider for more
Black Medicine Food Harry Potter Edinburgh

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.

You may also like | Magical Harry Potter locations in Edinburgh

Potter Figure at Victoria Street in Edinburgh

Cobble Tales

Cobble Tales offers private and audio tours focusing on Edinburgh’s history through architecture.

They have a number of tours that will let you explore Edinburgh’s history through the lens of the architect’s 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.

Read next | Edinburgh’s most Instagrammable places

Dean Village in Edinburgh Historic Houses_

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