Canongate District
History & Heritage

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Our most recommended Canongate District History & Heritage

City Sightseeing Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

1. City Sightseeing Edinburgh: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Tour Edinburgh to your own schedule on the open-top sightseeing bus, and enjoy the onboard commentary that describes the history behind the lively city. Compare Edinburgh's Old Town, where families lived in cramped conditions and rubbish was thrown out of the windows, to the elegant Georgian New Town, with its 3 main streets and square at either end. Hear about the hangings that took place in the Grassmarket as you marvel at the impenetrable Castle Rock above you, and hear about historic attempts to capture Edinburgh Castle. Drive along the Royal Mile, which joins Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Use the 24-hour ticket to hop on and off as you please. With great visitor attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget, Edinburgh's got it all! Buses run every 30 minutes, making the following loop: Tour Stops: 1. St Andrew Square - Northside 2. Lothian Road - Waldorf Astoria 3. Grassmarket 4. Lauriston Place 5. Johnstone Terrace - Edinburgh Castle, The Scottish Whiskey Experience 6. Lawnmarket - Gladstone's End, The Real Mary King's Close 7. Chambers Street - National Museum of Scotland 8. St Mary's Street West 9. Canongate - John Knox House 10. Royal Mile - Scottish Parliament, Palace of Holyrood House 11. Dynamic Earth 12. Regent Road - Burns Monument

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Edinburgh: The Dark Side Walking Tour

2. Edinburgh: The Dark Side Walking Tour

Meet some of Edinburgh's most infamous characters on a fun ghost walk through the dark side of the city center. Learn more about Burke and Hare and hear tales of witch burning, grave robbing, body snatching and mysterious murders. Start on the Royal Mile, where plundered tombs, funeral pyres and mass graves from thousands of years ago are concealed. Get goosebumps as the past is brought to life by your guide and venture to gruesome burial sites such as the Canongate Kirkyard. Prepare to be spooked by spine-chilling tales of real-life cannibals and vampires as the true history of Edinburgh is recreated before your eyes.  

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Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

3. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

Explore the haunted Blair Street Underground Vaults with access no other tour company can offer, then head to the Canongate graveyard, where the spirits of the dead await. It might be something to do with the change in temperature. Or the perpetual darkness. Or the ever smaller rooms, stretching beyond the weak beam of a torch. Whatever the reason, there’s something unsettling about the Blair Street Underground Vaults – and your expert guide will reveal the troubling tales on this evening walking tour. Cannibals. Body snatchers. Deals with the Devil. And that’s before you even head underground. Torture. Murder. Hangings. And that’s just what went on in the vaults. A walk along dim streets to the Canongate graveyard will bring you to the resting place of the city’s most famous figures: Adam Smith, the father of economics; David Rizzio, the lover of Mary Queen of Scots; and James Douglas, 3rd Marquess of Queensberry – the infamous cannibal of the Canongate. 

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Edinburgh: Outlander Walking Tour

4. Edinburgh: Outlander Walking Tour

The year is 1745 and the Jacobite rising has reached the city gates of Edinburgh. Bonnie Prince Charlie is met by a cheering crowd of 20,000 strong. Amid the chaos of rebellion are Claire and Jamie, the Outlander characters entwined in a story that spans centuries. On this 2-hour walking tour your guide will trace the real events that inspired Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed novels. The story captures the spirit of the Jacobite rebellion in Edinburgh: The Redcoats, the Highlanders and the smell of gunpowder in the air. Your expert guide will take you deep into the Old Town, to the places where history was made: Tolbooth Jail, Canongate Kirkyard and the World’s End Tavern. If Edinburgh is the setting for the second Outlander novel, you’ll be going behind the scenes!

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Historic Royal Mile Private Walking Tour

5. Historic Royal Mile Private Walking Tour

Why not join a breathtaking walk down Edinburgh's Royal Mile? The tour will take you on an entertaining journey of discovery along one of the world's most famous streets.  Every step has a story to tell. On the way, you'll learn some of the secrets that lie behind its historic buildings - and under your feet. You can also look at locations attached to the Outlander Book/TV series (Claire & Jamie). So why not embark on a journey through time down a street that's felt the footsteps of both royalty and commoner alike, and where legends abound.

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Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse and Old Town Walking Tour

6. Edinburgh: Palace of Holyroodhouse and Old Town Walking Tour

Tread the route of royals, past and present – and let your expert guide unlock the history of this ancient seat of power. Discover the hidden history of the Canongate, and the glorious Palace of Holyroodhouse. Discover an approach to the palace that escapes the notice of history books and bus tours. As you walk down the quiet closes of the Canongate your expert guide will show you a different side of the royal city – in rich, engaging detail. Here, rebellious Jacobites clattered over the cobbles, led by a proud Bonnie Prince Charlie. And Deacon Brodie led his dual life as locksmith and thief, immortalised by Robert Louis Stevenson. In the hands of your gifted storyteller, you’ll find that romance and intrigue are everywhere – in the architecture, literature, crime and politics, on the very doorstep of the Queen’s Palace. After the Canongate, your guide will introduce the glorious Palace of Holyroodhouse – which you’ll explore in your own time. You’ll find 14 magnificent state apartments, as well as the romantic ruins of the 12th century Holyrood Abbey. The palace was the setting for many dramatic episodes in the short reign of Mary, Queen of Scots – and Her Majesty The Queen still makes use of the State Apartments for royal ceremonies.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Canongate District

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What people are saying about Canongate District

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 323 reviews

Jen was amazing! So fun and engaging and even though it was freezing it was a great two hours in the cold with fascinating stories and history

This tour was was excellent. Very informative and we saw parts of Edinburgh that we didn’t know existed. Would definitely recommend this tour.

Excellent service. Always on time. Friendly drivers and guides. Good information. Made getting around easy and comfortable.

Beautiful tour with incredible sights while learning about the history of Edinburgh.

Great tour, very knowledgeable staff and very helpful