10 Alternative Guided Tours of Edinburgh
With Edinburgh being the fascinating city it is, there are naturally also a fair share of excellent guided walking tours to choose from. However, if you’re looking for something a bit different you’d be pleased to know that there are also plenty of interesting alternative guided tours on offer. We’ve listed ten of them in this article.
The Potter Trail
- 1 hour 15 minutes
- Starts at the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby
This magical walking tour of Edinburgh’s Old Town is designed especially for Potter fans – but it doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy the tour if you’re not that into Harry Potter! You’ll visit places where J K Rowling wrote the books, find out where Lord Voldemort is buried and much more. Great for families too.
The Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour
- Around 2-2,30 hours
- Starts outside the Beehive Inn
Launched back in 1996, this award-winning tour is the first literary tour in Edinburgh. The tour is performed by two professional actors and takes you from the pubs in the Grassmarket through the wynds and courtyards of the Old Town to Rose Street in the New Town. Please note that drinks are not included in the ticket price.
Smart Phone Tour
- 2 hours
- Start from St Giles’ Cathedral
Will and Chris who run Iconic Tours believe that the best camera you have is the one in your hand, and although they also do tours for people with “big” cameras, this one is sure to open your eyes as to what you can do with “just” your smartphone. After the tour you’ll come away with some gorgeous photos of Edinburgh’s Old Town, new smartphone techniques and some fascinating stories from the city’s past. Check out their new private whisky tours as well!
Edinburgh Trike Tours
- 1,5 hours
- Collection point TBC
If you want to see the city in style whilst turning heads you need to sign up for one of these fun trike motorcycle tours. There are many Edinburgh-based tours to choose from, such as the Afternoon Cocktail Tour, the Fish & Chips Tour and the Edinburgh Coastal Tour. These guys also do tours all over Scotland!
Ghost Bus Tour
- 1 hour 15 minutes
- Starts at Waverley Bridge
This is not your average Edinburgh bus tour, but one that is a lot more macabre and sinister – but definitely a lot of fun too! The bus visits the most famous sites from the Castle to Greyfriar’s Kirk and the Old Town, leaving you with stories of murder, torture, executions and witches to mull over…
Edinburgh Bike Tours
- 2,5 hours, 12 km
- Starts at the waterfront in the Port of Leith
If you’re a keen cyclist or would just prefer to absorb the city on a bike instead of on foot we’ve got that covered too! Edinburgh Bike Tours offer several tours of Edinburgh, including a family tour and custom and private tours. The City Centre tour takes you through the heart of Edinburgh with views across the city’s dramatic skyline and frequent stops to hear about the history, culture and people of Scotland.
Gin Journey Edinburgh
- 4,5 hours
- Meeting point confirmed a week before the tour
Gin has experienced a huge revival in the past few years, and Scottish gin with its unique character really deserves a closer look – something this exciting Saturday tour will help you do. The tour includes five samples of gin and five cocktails in five venues, a chauffeured drive from bar to bar as well as a distillery tour. Sounds like a pretty decent Saturday afternoon!
Greater Grassmarket Historic Trail
- Around 1 hour
- You can start wherever you like on the trail
This recently launched self-guided audio tour explores the most infamous landmarks in the Greater Grassmarket area. There are 11 different locations on the trail, and you can find the map online or pick one up for free in local shops, pubs and restaurants.
Edinburgh Food Tour
- 3 hours
- Starting point TBC
Edinburgh is an up and coming foodie destination with new cafes and restaurants opening frequently. This tour gives us insider’s access to some of the city’s top food shops where you’ll meet shop owners, try artisanal products and discover some of the best kept secrets of Scottish culinary traditions. A must for any self-confessed foodie! The groups are small (max 6 people) and led by a trained chef or food writer.
Cupcake and Macaroon Walking Tour
- 2,5 hours
- Starts in central Edinburgh
We’ve saved the sweetest tour for the last – so if you’ve got a sweet tooth this one is for you! On this tour you’ll get to try some of Edinburgh’s best sweet treats whilst exploring the Royal Mile and learning about the local history and Scottish delicacies. You’ll also visit some lovely artisan shops, such as Cuckoo’s Bakery and Bibi’s Bakery.
Canongate Stars & Stories (Bonus tour!)
- 45 minutes
- Starts at John Knox House
We only found out about this trail after publishing the blog, but felt that it needs to be on our list anyway. This is a new illuminated self-guided walking tour by Edinburgh City of literature that explores Edinburgh’s Old Town by taking you to 20 light boxes displaying quotations about the print & publishing history of the Canongate area. The map can be picked up at any of the 20 locations, downloaded online or iPhone users can download the Edinburgh World Heritage App from iTunes store.
Stay in an Edinburgh home
To get the most out of your visit and experience Edinburgh like a local would we suggest you take a look at our self catering homes. Our apartments are all centrally located and fully equipped – and if you need to contact us during your stay we’ll always pick up the phone and try to sort out things asap.