What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

You won’t believe where this Edinburgh tour takes you!

Tours are a great way to learn about any city you are visiting and Edinburgh is no exception. There are so many incredible tours of Edinburgh from bus tours, to literature tours, running tours and photography tours and many more besides.

Edinburgh tours are all unique in their own way, but Edinburgh offers one tour like no other – a visit to The Real Mary King’s Close!

Group shot - small (1)

Courtesy of The Real Mary King’s Close

 

For those not in the know, Edinburgh is built on a spine of volcanic rock. The Royal Mile runs down the backbone of the Old Town, from the Castle to Holyrood Palace.  A series of lanes and alleyways grew either side of this long street – these are the ‘wynds’ or ‘closes’ where people lived. What you may not realise is that there are as many storeys underground in Edinburgh’s Old Town as there are above.

Many ‘closes’ were named after the most prominent citizen or the most commonly found business.  Old Fishmarket Close, Buchanan’s Close and Brodie’s Close are all places you’ll find in the Old Town and all places with very interesting story! This close, in particular, was named after a businesswoman from the 1600s called Mary King.

History flows from every stone in Edinburgh, so don’t worry, this isn’t just a tour of an old street. The Real Mary King’s Close is underneath the Edinburgh City Chambers! In 1753, The Royal Exchange – now the location of the City Chambers – decided to take down the top three floors of Mary King’s Close and use the lower floors of the street as a foundation for the building. That’s right, this tour takes you beneath the busy modern Royal Mile, to see Edinburgh as it was over 250 years ago.

If that isn’t enough, it is also known as Edinburgh’s Most Haunted Street. Mary King’s Close was a teeming market street until the bubonic plague arrived in 1645. Many people believe souls were trapped in the close after suffering painful deaths.

The best known ghost in the close is Annie. Most researchers believe that Annie had been left to die by her family when she caught the plague and they abandoned the building. The room is now known as Annie’s Room where many tourists leave gifts for the little girl.

A visit to The Real Mary King’s Close is a great way to begin your journey through the historic streets of Edinburgh. If you believe in ghosts or not, just seeing the confined spaces that whole families called home is a real eye-opener to what life was like over 250 years ago. They are called closes for a reason!

If you’d like to stay in the heart of the action on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in an apartment above ground, we have some lovely and completely unspooky choices! There’s a lovely one bedroom apartment on Canongate and also a welcoming two bedroom apartment on Lawnmarket.

As a guest with Dickins, you’ll receive Dickins Insider Guides on Great Things to Do In Edinburgh and Tours and Courses to make the choice of where to spend your time in historic Edinburgh much easier. You’ll have a home from home and the best chance to make some unforgettable memories. Just don’t forget to take a gift for Annie!

Opening times

November 1st – March 26th

Sunday – Thursday

10.00 – 17.00 (last tour)

Friday & Saturday

10.00 – 21.00 (last tour)

March 27th – October 31st

Monday – Sunday

10.00 – 21.00 (last tour)

Admission Prices

Adult £13.95

Senior (60+) £12.50

Student (ID required) £12.50

Child (5 – 15 years) £8.25 *

* not suitable for children under 5

 

206 Canongate, Edinburgh

206 Canongate, Edinburgh

457 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh

457 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh

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