We've booked a couple of tours with Rabbies out of Edinburgh for our visit in June, but the only tour of Edinburgh they seem to offer doesn't thrill me. Can anyone suggest other group tour companies that offer walking tours? In a perfect world, small groups, heavy on history content. Please don't suggest the RS audio guide, I'd rather be lead by a real person.
Look into airbnb experiences - I'm in the process of checking out some walking tours with them and have 3 saved to look over.
Trying to decide between a Comedy Walk (which has great reviews), Helen's Grand Design and Hidden Gems and a History Lovers Old Town Tour. There are more to choose from depending on your interests. Go on airbnb, put in city, dates, # of guests and select 'experiences'.
We used them in Prague for a highlights tour and Vienna for a off the beaten track tour - both were amazing. And most likely will be a group of 12 or less.
If you Google "walking tours of Edinburgh Scotland" you'll see (and probably already did) that there are several different companies. The one I tried to book with doesn't seem to show up -- this was a few years ago.
What I found inconvenient in their booking process was that you had to choose which tour you wanted, out of I think 3 different tours, and only then would you find out if there was space on that tour on the day you wanted. The auto-reply I got, after I'd paid, was that there was no space on the day I'd chosen but we could take that tour on a different day.
Sorry, but when you're on a vacation itinerary you are generally not going to be able to shift days like that. So I thought that was a poor way to run their booking process. What they should do is have you indicate your desired date first, then tell you which tours have space on that day. I mention this as a caution, in case you encounter this "mystery date" booking process.
On positive note is that I did get my refund right away, even though the boilerplate language said it could take up to 2 billing cycles on my credit card.
Allan - just curious which Rabbies you booked?
Epltd, yes I did Google, I was hoping to get some recommendations based on personal experience. Mercat and Sandemans seem interesting but I haven't heard of either before.
Both Mercat and Sandmans have been in business for many years (I took a Mercat tour of Edinburgh in 1993). Mercat is specific to Edinburgh; Sandmans operates in multiple cities around the world.
I think with all tours, the exact tourguide is more important than the company, and of course, most of the time you can't know your exact tourguide in advance.
We booked the 1 day Outlander Tour and the 1 day Melrose Abbey and Rosslyn Chapel Tour. My wife's TV boyfriend is Jamie Fraser and so we're calling this trip the 'Search for Jamie Fraser Trip.'
We did a walking food tour with Eat Walk Edinburgh. Our guide was very insightful and gave us a lot of history in Edinburgh and Scotland. A really nice blend of food and history actually. We had some good food and drinks; they also give you some discounts for recommended establishments. We found it a great value and really enjoyed our time. We did the tour the day of our arrival, which was good and bad. Good, because we learned a lot right at the beginning, got our bearings, and had some discounts we could use elsewhere. Bad, because we were jet lagged so I don’t remember as much of the history that I should. :) there you have it! I would definitely recommend them. They limit group size; the day of our tour there was only 4 of us.
We also did the Rabbie’s Outlander tour and had a fabulous time.
I was so torn between the 4 day Outlander and 4 day Castles - but the Castle tour hits some of the Outlander sights, plus some other areas I wanted to see.
I asked because as I was checking the costs of admissions to all the places on the Castle tour, I noticed many of them were part of the National Trust Scotland (NTS). I fell down a rabbit hole of thinking maybe a membership would be a better deal - as with our cruddy exchange rate, as a couple we'd save about $90 on admission fees with a membership - THEN - I noticed that you could use the NTS in other countries - one being Canada, so I went to our site and found that I could get a yearly family pass for $70 Cdn (as opposed to 100GBP for the NTS one, which is about $170Cdn) AND I could use it in Scotland! You can also use it at the tenement museum in Glasgow and a few spots in Edinburgh.
You might want to take a look at the sights you're visiting and see if a Canadian membership might save you some $$.
The even better news Nicole P is that you can use your Canadian membership to give free admission to National Trust properties in England and Wales too!
Nicole, thank you for the tip on National Trust Canada. We've been trying to decide if we should buy the Scotland pass, but this is a no-brainer now.
Wasleys - yes I noticed that as well...I was so pleased to find this out!