City of the Dead Haunted Graveyard Tour

Edinburgh’s City of the Dead tour company guide fringe audiences along their graveyard route. In doing so, they take us on a journey that shows us the world in a handful of soil; and inform us that the soil is two percent dead body.

City of the Dead Haunted Graveyard Tour offers excellent value for money. And, most importantly, for those ninety minutes, it makes you feel that you, and the ground on which you are standing, are at the centre of the world.

Our tour guide, Gerry Kielty, promises to tell us a ghost story that has “changed the world in gigantic ways. It has touched each and every” - two fingers extend, gun-like, picking each of us off in turn - “one of your lives and…” he says with a final flourish, “it saved Christmas.” It’s an extraordinary and audacious promise to make to an audience. Even more extraordinarily, Kielty fulfils it, making convincing claims that the tour’s focus, Greyfriars graveyard, is the origin point of most canonical gothic fiction, the Harry Potter franchise, psychoanalysis and the whole of modern western democracy.

The story begins outside St Giles Cathedral, which we learn is not actually a cathedral. From here, Kielty shambles over to Greyfriars, where various points of significance anchor each new part of the tale. Greyfriars is a beautiful location, with a near panoramic view of more highly elevated city landmarks and elaborate headstones built ten feet or so into portions of the original city wall. This range of backdrops give our guide a variety of stages on which to perform.

And perform he does. Kielty’s storytelling gives whole new meaning to the word ‘gusto’. He is full of passion and bluster, making every historical detail seem, by turns, fascinating, devastating or marvellous. Forty thousand Scottish soldiers die at the bullets of English farmers and it feels like a massacre, a political scandal, not a statistic. His well-practised gesture, annunciation and sense of theatrics mean we are never lost in the narrative, even as he cracks on at a lightning pace. He rolls his Rs in a very satisfying manner.

An hour into the tour, as dusk descends into full-blown night, we enter a non-public area in the churchyard, flanked by rows of mausoleums that look like a cartoon horror film. Or rather, this is what horror film sets are trying to look like. Kielty tells us detailed legends of throttlings by the graveyard’s supernatural guest, the evening wind tickling our necks and, for a few long moments, I am really quite scared.

Running to around ninety minutes, crammed full of historical information, and with access to one otherwise private space, City of the Dead Haunted Graveyard Tour offers excellent value for money. And, most importantly, for those ninety minutes, it makes you feel that you, and the ground on which you are standing, are at the centre of the world.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

The Girl with the Hurricane Hands (and Other Short Tales of Woe)

Pleasance Courtyard

A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood

Traverse Theatre

Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?)

theSpace @ Jury's Inn



The Castle Builder


4D Cinema


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

A terrifying journey into the lair of the world famous Mackenzie Poltergeist, the best documented supernatural case in history. Our walks combine the weirdest stories, wickedest humour and wildest history. City of the Dead has been named ‘Britain’s Best Ghost Walk’ (Yahoo! Travel, Virgin Media, It was also named ‘Edinburgh's Best Ghost Tour’ (Lonely Planet) and is the only Scottish attraction ever to be shortlisted three times for the prestigious Screamie Award, which proves that good doesn't always triumph over evil.

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £35.00

More Info

Find Tickets