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Looking for spooking things to do in Edinburgh? Auld Reekie is a city steeped in history and with history comes folklore, ghost stories, and hauntings. One of the best times of the year to immerse yourself in the eerie goings-on is October. Spending Halloween in Edinburgh is a must for all you ghost hunters and thrill-seekers out there.
It’s not all pumpkins and costumes, we are talking witches, murderers, and ghostly encounters, all of which you can experience for yourself.
Into this dark stuff? Check out our guide to haunting legends and spooky locations, historic hotels, things to do in Edinburgh this autumn.
Spooky Things To Do In Edinburgh This Halloween
We suggest that you get a strong itinerary together before you visit Edinburgh for Halloween. These tours book up fast!
Halloween Tours Edinburgh
Walking tours are a must in this beautiful city.
In order to just drink in the history and the ancient buildings, your feet need to lead you.
There are so many on offer to suit all budgets. We suggest the following for entertainment, information and a bit of a scare!
1. Ghost Walk Edinburgh
One of the spookiest cemeteries to visit is The Canongate Kirkyard.
This tour takes you to the cemetery where you can wander around and visit some of the mausoleums.
The guide will divulge all the terror of Burke and Hare (Edinburgh’s famous bodysnatchers) and will talk you through the horror of the witch trials and the burnings.
You will step back to the time of Mary Queen of Scots to hear the truth about her lover.
Starting at 6.30 pm
Meeting point varies.
Look for the guides with red t-shirts and red umbrellas with the local tour operator’s logo. Children under 13 are accepted if accompanied by an adult at no cost.
This tour is not suitable for those with limited mobility or pushchairs.
Book online here at a cost of £16 per adult. Pre-booking is a must.
2. Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour
A must for all Harry Potter fans, this tour takes you through the streets and places that inspired the famous Harry Potter series.
Visit the graveyard that gave Tom Riddle his name and see just exactly what Rowling pictured when she wrote her books.
Start times vary according to your booking. Pre-booking is strongly advised as it is one of the most popular tours.
Meet by our Everything Edinburgh mascot, Greyfriars Bobby statue.
Comfortable footwear is advised as it is a 75-90 minute walking tour.
Be ready to take part in the quiz and earn points for your house.
Book online here for free. Donations of £10-20 usually paid at the end via cash or card.
Part of your payment will be donated to the Scottish Trans Alliance in response to the actions of She Who Cannot Be Named.
Tell The Potter Trail their pals at Everything Edinburgh sent you!
Prefer to do self-guided tour? Here’s all of the Harry Potter locations in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Ghost Tours Underground
Did you know that beneath Edinburgh, there lies an old part of the city that was built over?
Edinburgh’s underground city is said to be haunted by the poltergeists and others with hearts as black as the midnight sky.
There are many areas to explore here and some of the best are included below.
Be warned, these tours are not for the faint-hearted, you will encounter some of the most malevolent presences and screaming is guaranteed!
→ Read next | 10 Spooky Edinburgh Legends and Locations
3 – 4. Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour
Did you know that there was once a vibrant yet seedy underground world in Edinburgh?
Right under your feet on South Bridge there is a number of vaults and you can visit them with an organised tour.
This South Bridge Underground Vaults tour is our recommended tour as the caves have had lots of activity since their discovery including the creation of a rock circle!
Read our full review here.
For a scarier and more animated tour, check out the Evening Underground Ghost Tour.
This tour will take you through 400 years of some of Edinburgh’s most gruesome history, exploring the chambers underneath the city’s roads, walking through the most haunted graveyard all in the darkest of nights.
This 75-minute tour has various start times from 6.45 pm onwards, depending on your booking.
Meet at Old Police Box, 9 Hunter Square, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1QS
You will wander through the streets and vaults hearing noises and seeing things your mind won’t want to comprehend.
Book here from £14 per person.
For more walking tours, check out this post
5. Real Mary King’s Close Guided Tour
Mary King’s Close is a must for all Halloween thrill-seekers.
This is part of Edinburgh’s underground city and is said to be one of the most haunted locations in Scotland!
Discover for yourself as you are taken through the stories of its most famous inhabitants, through the plague years, and how it has become so notorious for hauntings.
Theo ne hour tour is not suitable for under-fives and as there are a lot of steps, wheelchair access is not available.
Meet at 2 Warriston’s Close, Royal Mile, High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PG
The tours start at 10 am and every hour until 4 pm. Pre-booking online is a must.
An ideal option for a rainy day in Edinburgh.
6. Free Ghost Tour in Edinburgh
If you are looking for a free ghost tour, then this one is on every night in Edinburgh and takes you through the dark and gruesome history of Edinburgh.
Meeting at 7 pm at 153 High Street, this 1 and a half hour tour will chill you to your bones. You must book online.
7. Edinburgh Night Ghost Tours
For those who want a more extreme paranormal adventure, then here is where you need to look.
Walk around Edinburgh late at night, visiting the most haunted graveyards, following your guide through the streets where Burke and Hare brought their snatched bodies.
Hear the stories of the witches and murderers, and then you’re brought to the vaults and given the chance to explore them at the most ghostly of hours.
This 75-minutes of terror begins at 10.15 meeting at Old Police Box, 9 Hunter Square, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1QS.
Booking online is a must.
Book here from only £18 per person and remember – this is only for the bravest of you!
8. Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour
More into the ‘Beetlejuice’ side of Halloween? Then you won’t be disappointed with these tours.
The comedy-horror show is a ghostly tour bus that is a more theatrical way to have your Halloween experience whilst still enjoying the ghostly side to Edinburgh.
The bus itself used to carry dead bodies so you’re literally sitting amongst spirits.
★ 5/5 from Everything Edinburgh! ★
The tour has different times to book on to and the earliest is 6 pm.
The Ghost Bus departs from Lawnmarket, in front of The Heritage of Scotland, next to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern.
This 75-minute tour is a must for those who love a laugh and a fright!
Booking ahead is essential and can be done by clicking this link. Priced at £20 per person.
Gemma, owner of Everything Edinburgh, did this spooky Edinburgh tour with her mum and they laughed a lot at the dad jokes!
There’s a ten-minute walk through St John’s Cemetery for those who can hop off the bus.
Gallows on The Royal Mile
Just over the road and across from the statue of Hume you can see the remains for some gallows.
This is where the last public execution took place in Edinburgh.
Not a tour, but worth checking out after the Ghost Bus!
9. Scottish Storytelling Centre
Since you’re on The Royal Mile you might as well check out the Storytelling Centre programme to see what events they have ghouling on.
Listen to stories about White Ladies that haunt castles, a local ghost train and the city’s witches, from the safety of your own home!
Keep up to date with events on the website.
10. The Witchery Tour
Another way to chuckle yourself through this Halloween is to join the Edinburgh Ghosts and Gore Walking Tour.
Your deceased tour guide will walk you through the darker side of Edinburgh with a lot of laughs and a few frights!
The tour price includes a copy of ‘Witchery Tales’ giving you plenty to read up about when you’re safely tucked up in bed.
Tours depart from outside the front of ‘The Witchery Restaurant,’ located near Edinburgh Castle at 352 Castlehill (Royal Mile), EH1 2NF.
This 80-minute tour starts at 7 pm and with prices from £13, you must book this online to avoid disappointment.
Scary Things To Do In Edinburgh
It’s not just about the tours to get your bones quaking, there are other family fun things to do in Edinburgh that will start your Halloween off perfectly.
Edinburgh is packed full of family-friendly days out.
11. Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
This mind-bending exhibition is hands-on and full of fun and laughs.
Situated at the top of the Royal Mile, just underneath the Castle, this two-hour family fun attraction gives you and the children of all ages, a great day out.
Book online here as it is one of Edinburgh’s top attractions!
Read our full review here.
12. Edinburgh Dungeons
No Halloween would be complete without a trip to the Edinburgh Dungeons.
This immersive underground history tour offers rides, scares, screams, fun, and live actor shows.
It is one of Edinburgh’s busiest attractions, so pre-book your ticket here, choosing the time you want to visit, and skip the queues!
Book here from £15 per person, great value for money!
13. Samhuinn Fire Festival
One particular festival that is deeply rooted in the community of Edinburgh is the Samhuinn Fire Festival.
Normally this takes place on Halloween at the top of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.
Celebrate the transition from Summer to Winter, watching the costumed artists use fire, music, and dance to tell the narrative.
More information can be found here.
14. The Surgeons’ Hall
The Surgeon’s Hall in Edinburgh is open all year round.
At this unique museum you will learn about medical history in Scotland.
Do you know the connection between barbers and surgeons? Find out the Surgeons’ Hall.
There is also a Blood and Guts: The Twists and Turns of Edinburgh’s Medical History walking tour.
Suitable from ages 10 and up, this tour lasts around 70 minutes and takes you through Edinburgh’s old town.
The price includes free access to the museum on the day of purchase. Book online here.
The guide tours you around some of Edinburgh’s popular gory locations as well as the lesser-known areas including:
- Surgeons’ Hall Gardens where the tour starts and ends
- Greyfriars Kirk to learn about mortsafes and Edinburgh’s grave diggers
- Surgeons’ Square to find out about Daft Jamie, one of Burke and Hare’s victims
The tour guide, Gerry, is a pro with just the right balance between detail and theatrics.
After the tour you can enjoy free access to the Surgeons’ Hall museum where you will find some of the characters mentioned in the tour.
The museum has windows full of body parts and skeletons and a pocketbook covered in the skin of Burke and Burke’s Death Mask.
A really interesting tour and museum for those fascinated by crime, punishment and medical development.
Surgeons’ Hall also has a very quiet garden and a cafe called Cafe 1505. Read more about Edinburgh’s secret gardens here.
15. Arthur’s Seat Miniature Coffins
One of the strangest discoveries in Edinburgh happened at Arthur’s seat, where 17 miniature coffins were found.
With a city steeped in witchcraft as well as having the infamous Burke and Hare body snatchers, these coffins have been surrounded in mystery and folklore as to their origins.
The Scottish National Museum has dedicated a tour to these miniatures.
This free attraction is a great shelter for the family from the October weather.
No booking required. Have a look at the story so far here.
16. Drink in a Haunted Pub
Since Edinburgh is a medieval city, there is no shortage of pubs with stories of things that go bump in the night!
Check out the Banshee Labyrinth (29-35 Niddry Street) and have a drink in an underground cave!
This maze of a venue has three bars, a stage and cinema!
17. Catch a Scary Movie
Edinburgh has two vintage movie theatres, Cameo and the Dominion which show an eclectic mix of PG – 18 rated movies so you might just be able to see Hocus Pocus on the silver screen.
Prefer a comfier setting? The Brass Monkey pub has a big screen, mattresses and shows throwback films.
Edinburgh is full of legends and stories that are enough to chill your blood. Throw Halloween in the mix and you have got a great day out.
Gemma, Everything Edinburgh’s favorite time of year is Halloween and you’ll find her at a party dressed up and dancing the night away.
You might even find her on a spooky tour!
What spooky tours in Edinburgh did we miss? Tell us in the comments.
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About the author: Hi, I am Ruth. A Highlander living in Fife longing for the mountains of home but I can’t give up the delights of the big city!