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Edinburgh - Ghost or Literary Pub tour

I'll be in Edinburgh for a little over a day in July (unfortunately I can't stay any longer!) and will be with a group of 6 others (7 total), all in our mid to late twenties, all first timers in Scotland. I've been working on a list of what we should try to hit in that time and have discovered a few different recommended tours - namely the underground 'ghost' tours (Mercat and Mary King's Close) and the RS recommended Literary Pub tour. I'm trying to determine (and would love feedback) on which would be the best to sign up for...

Feedback on the ghost tours (especially if you preferred Mercat of Mary King's Close) would be greatly appreciated as well as specific feedback on the Mercat Hidden and Haunted tour. Has anyone been on both the underground tour and the Literary Pub tour? If you had to pick one, which would you choose? Its possible that we could fit in two tours, but hoping for feedback on that as well (since we only have limited time in Edinburgh, is that a good idea)?

Appreciate any ideas or advice...thanks!!

Posted by
8485 posts

We really enjoyed the underground vault tour done by Mercat. It was something completely different from any other tour.

Wish we would have gone on one of the author or literary tours though too. They looked interesting. See if you can fit both tours in, but if not, I think I would go with the Underground Vault tour.

Posted by
5675 posts

I too liked the Vaults tour. There was a bit of ghostliness about it. :) The next time I'm in Edinburgh for longer than a quick lay over, I really want to do one of the Rebus Tours. I see that there's not been any current news so I'm a little afraid that sadly he's not doing them any more. Rebus, of course, is Ian Rankin's detective.


Posted by
4 posts

I enjoyed Mary King's Close tour, not so much for the 'ghosti-ness' aspect, which seemed a bit goofy at times, but to get a glimpse of what the living conditions were like at that time. Well worth the time and money.

Posted by
24 posts

I know this is an old post but I just came across it. I've been many ghost tours in Edinburgh and won't go on them again because I'm too scared. Strange things happened on the City of the Dead tour (the one where you stand in a tomb), scary things happened on the vault tour and there was one I did where we were our own "investigators" with our own ghost-hunting equipment and it was cool but not super scary. I think the scariest one for me was the vault tour. I won't go down there again.

As far as the Mary Kings Close tour is concerned, I've been on it twice. It's not scary - they briefly discuss ghosts - and it's a little cheesy now. I loved it when I first went 10 years ago but I went again recently and while it's still a cool experience and you learn what Edinburgh used to look like, it was just a little too "Disney" for me.

Posted by
1068 posts

I can't imagine why a group of young people with just over a day in Edinburgh would want to spend it on a tour! There is so much to see and do in Edinburgh that spending any of it on canned jokes and faux spookiness seems like a not-so-hot idea. I'd opt for doing a little research on the literary background of each pub on the Literary Pubs tour - then I would go to the pubs and talk to real live Scottish people. Rather than "ghosts," I'd seek out some history. That's just me, though.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for all the ideas!

Kira - I'm not normally a tour person but had read some good reviews and wondered if they would be worth it...especially at night when a lot of the other attractions are closed. We are still weighing our options and haven't fully decided on whether we do a tour or not...We are definitely still looking for opinions of people who have attended!


Posted by
8485 posts

The couple of hours we spent in the Underground Vaults was a unique history lesson about Edinburghs past and it was also someplace you cannot go with out a tour. There was not a single joke, nor were there fake ghost "sightings". Some tour companies are professional in what they present and make their tours fascinating without resorting to cheap tricks. Eavesdropping on some of the Literature tours we passed made us wish we had gone on one of them too. A good tour here only last 2-3 hours and enhanced our visit tremendously.