There are many walks that claim to show you 'Underground Edinburgh,' but only one shows you the part of the city that was buried many years ago: Mary King's Close. Other tours will dub themselves as "underground," but only show you vaults under a bridge (South Bridge). You will not be allowed to take any photos or videos, but they will try to market one they take of you.
Unique Suggestions: Know that you will be "underground" and should not suffer from claustrophobia.
Fun Alternatives: Wait until nightfall and take one of the MANY "ghost" walks.
It was quite entertaining but wasn't exactly what I expected. The first 20 minutes were spent listening to a funny but fairly inaccurate history of Scotland. From there we went to Greyfriars Kirkyard. The talk was quite interesting, especially to hear an alternative story of the famous dog Greyfriars Bobby. The tour culminated in a crypt in the Covenanter's Prison, supposedly the site of frequent poltergeist activity. I won't spoil it for potential visitors but ..... all in all, not what I had in mind but an okay way to pass an hour anyway.
There are 5 bus tours in Edinburgh, we went on the MacTours version, it was informative and we got a great view around the city before exploring on foot.
Unique Suggestions: You can keep your ticket all day and hop on and off the bus to see more of the city.
Fun Alternatives: Have a sneak preview of the tour here:
Edinburgh has many different areas, the New Town was new over 200 years ago and the Royal Mile can have some run down areas too.
Unique Suggestions: Use the internet to search for photos in different areas of Edinburgh before you go, I found http://www.go360edinburgh.co.uk spot on for reference!
There's tons of them. Walking down the Royal Mile theres wooden boards everywhere advertising the different tours. Ghost, gouls, graveyards, caves, tunnels, hauntings...
I'm not saying you shouldn't do one of them... Im just saying DO NOT EXPECT TO MUCH.
They are NOT very scary. They ARE expensive. Some are better than the others. Somem are very history based and feels more than a lecture than a ghost tour. A sure disappointment that WILL BORE the kids!!!
Unique Suggestions: Ask around. Ask people you meet, ask locals, ask anyone until you find a tour that sounds OK.
Don't join one on your first day in Edinburgh. Watch them from a distance. The tour groups are walking around town every day, all day. Its guite easy to spot the one people actually enjoy!
Otherwise you might be in for a treat that isn't a treat at all. And it will cost you!
Fun Alternatives: Kids: Edinburgh Dungeons. A bit expensive. But a lot scarier!
Adults: The Mary Kings Close tour is quite interesting. And you walk the tunnels underneath the city.
We decided to buy a ticket for a one day trip. I think you'd better not to take those tours and to plan your trips by yourself . They took us around and let us see very touristic places and nothing more. Stops were always near shops, bars and so on, sometimes we passed through beautiful places but we didn't stop, we were in a hurry to reach next wool shop. :(
Fun Alternatives: Use the Tourist office and ask them to help you planning your own trips instead of going with tours, they're very kind and give you useful information (and girls are very nice!!)
there are a whole heap of tour companies that usually tout people from outside the Waverley Train Station. Please, please just get a ridacard (cheapest way to travel) from Lothian Buses, and hop on a bus instead. It will be heaps cheaper and you will get around Edinburgh just as easily.
Buses to the Botanic Gardens in Inverleith Row: 8, 23,27, 17
Buses to Ocean terminal in Leith (where the Queen's Royal Yacht Britannica is located, and has a large shopping centre. Entrance to the yacht is from the second floor - worth a look):, 1.34.22. (probably quite a few more)
Unique Suggestions: Just avoid. Tours are a rip off
Fun Alternatives: Take a local Lothian Bus instead. Just get on it and see where it goes. At the end of the journey it will turn around and come back. As long as you have an all day ticket or a Ridacard, it won't cost you a cent more to do this. A much more fun way to see the city.
I got my hair cut by a Scottish chick living in Dublin working in Temple bar area.
This is a message for you young lady.
That was the worst hair cut I ever got in my life and if, I ever run into you again I will shave your hair off .I had to wear a hat for half my trip.
so please note I don't like Scottish hair dressers lol.
Unique Suggestions: if your back packing around I found some every conservitive views here and many places would not let you share a room with some one who might not be of the same sex as you and so maybe you might get up to some naughty stuff what ever that may be only god would know I guess .
so if you happen to vbe gay it might not worry you but if your traveling cheaply with your wife ,it may cause some minor annoyance.
or is that just me??
OK, first off, I'm not about to knock the open top tour bus thingy's that are everywhere in Edinburgh. They're nice vehicles, (if you're a bus geek), and the tour staff are I'm sure lovely and well educated on their city. My tip is merely the fact that if ever there was a city suited to walking tours, it's Edinburgh, compact enough to walk anywhere, cool little alleyways cutting corners everywhere around The Golden Mile. Anyway some of the views in the city need to be viewed for prolongued periods, which you can't do on a bus! I'm thinking of the park, The castle, the Firth of Forth, Arthur's Seat etc. So if you've got the time, take a stroll, you know you should be working off that hamburger you ate yesterday anyway!!!
Unique Suggestions: If you do use the bus, (you might only have a couple of hours, in which case i might be a good idea, try and pick out one thing on the tour, and after you've got off, go back and give it a proper look). A place like Edinburgh deserves more than a fleeting visit considering what it's offering.
Fun Alternatives: Just stroll, (preferable stopping at the odd pub, for purely medicianl restative purposes of course!)
The city is walkable! get yourself a small simple map and walk it- this way you get to explore the thousands of little alley ways and still see it all (it's not that big and everything is close together) the tour is also EXTREMELY over priced- skip it!
The Underground Haunted Tours are pretty much a tourist trap, but if you enjoy people trying to scare you and fill you full of bull then you might enjoy it. I'm a big baby so they scared the hell out of me! My friend that went with me swares that someone tapped on her shoulder when we were in one of the haunted tombs.