Free Historical Walking Tours of the Royal Mile

This tour is a brilliant way to explore the history of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. You’re given an extensive overview of the whole Royal Mile covering Castle Hill, Lawn Market, the High street, Canongate and Abbey Strand. You’re shown a few of the surrounding gardens, one of the cemeteries and also taken into the old Parliament House.

Our tour guide had a wealth of knowledge and the conversation amongst the whole group was lovely.

When taken down an alleyway or a close off the mile you’re told how gardens used to be here and that water carriers would come back and forth from the town’s wells. At the Parliament Building you learn all about Scotland’s Royal Supporter, the chained and crowned Unicorn. You learn about important historical figures who are celebrated on the Mile including the heroic fireman James Braidwood, the revolutionary Dr. Inglis and the philosopher David Hume. You’re told the history of each of the Royal Mile’s districts which were once separate boroughs; the World’s End pub being a signifier to separate Canongate from the Old Edinburgh. You’ll see the beautiful 17th century little gardens of Dunbar’s Close and finally you’re led to the outside of Holyrood Palace and the new Parliament building. There are plenty of lovely little places dotted around the mile that you might not otherwise find, especially if you’re only here for a short while. And you’ll be told all about their history and how they’ve come to be the way they are now.

Our tour guide had a wealth of knowledge and the conversation amongst the whole group was lovely. This is a great way to explore the history surrounding the Mile and it’s completely free.

Reviews by Dave House

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Now in our 68th year, this is the longest running show at the festival. Join one of our 60 local voluntary guides for a stroll around the Old Town, exploring dark little alleys, magnificent buildings, treading hidden corners and secret nooks. Visit the places where characters, famous and infamous, lived and died. Small groups of fewer than 15 visitors will share our guide's enthusiasm and knowledge of Edinburgh and Scotland's fascinating past. No charge, no tickets, just turn up and enjoy. Walks start daily at 10am and 2pm lasting about 2.5 hours.