Canongate Kirkyard
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Canongate Kirkyard Culture & History

Edinburgh: The Dark Side Walking Tour

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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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Other Sightseeing Options in Canongate Kirkyard

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What people are saying about Canongate Kirkyard

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 310 reviews

The tour was really fun and entertaining, and it was a great balance of history and humour. Our guide Angus was so friendly and enthusiastic. He remembered where everyone was from and made an effort to chat to us all between the stop off points. It was one of our favourite experiences from our trip!

A great experience, we really enjoyed it. Mark was an engaging and interesting guide who brought all the stories and characters to life. The vaults themselves weren’t as extensive as I’d been expecting but still really interesting. It was a great evening

Jen was a great guide! Very chatty, charismatic and informative. She was funny, and made sure that everyone was ok, adding trigger warnings where appropriate.

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

Amazing way to spend the evening. Interesting, exciting and delivered by a very entertaining host