St. Giles' Cathedral

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St. Giles' Cathedral: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

1. Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

Explore Edinburgh's ghostly past on a guided tour through the streets of the Old Town and its underground vaults. Listen as your cloaked guide tells you tales of the city's dark and grim past as you are led along the Royal Mile. If you dare, step into the narrow alleyways, which are only a few feet wide. Make your way to the South Bridge, and head underneath, where Edinburgh's Vaults are located. Once storage areas for businesses and shops in the area, the vaults were taken over in the late 1700s and turned into living spaces. Eventually, the area became home to slums and the city's red-light district. As you walk through these now-vacant rooms, you will hear tales of the deplorable living conditions, as well as of the crime that once raged through the vaults. When you emerge from the underground, consider yourself lucky that it isn't in the dead of night.

Edinburgh: Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour

2. Edinburgh: Historic Underground Vaults Daytime Tour

The Story of the Underground This is a chance to visit our Underground Vaults – the deepest, largest and most extensive in the city in the company of a Mercat historian. After sitting unexplored for two centuries, there are many questions waiting to be answered…Why were the Vaults built? When and who by? Who used the Vaults? When and why? How did they work, and play? Your guide will recount their history, recall their stories and answer your questions during this glimpse into our past.

Edinburgh: Old Town History and Tales Walking Tour

3. Edinburgh: Old Town History and Tales Walking Tour

You will meet your guide on Edinburgh's iconic and historic Royal Mile, by the Statue of Adam Smith (one of Scotland's greatest thinkers). From there, your tour will be lead through the gorgeous winding streets that comprise Edinburgh's "Old Town". Covering everything from history to religion and folklore, this walking tour is an original tour of Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town. Your talented and entertaining guide will walk you through the streets and alleys of "Auld Reekie", while enthralling you with with its history, folklore, and tales! You will learn about the secrets Edinburgh is hiding and experience the incredible stories it has to tell, as your guide leads you through the city's long history. Topics included in the tour include Edinburgh's Mercat Cross, St. Giles Cathedral, the Scottish Enlightenment, Greyfriars Bobby, the Grassmarket, Harry Potter's inspirations, and many more. Your tour will finish in the heart of Edinburgh, surrounded by several bars, restaurants, cafe's, and great transport links.

Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

4. Edinburgh: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Pass with 3 City Tours

Save money and explore Edinburgh at your own pace with a 3-route hop-on hop-off bus tour ticket. Pick from a ticket that lasts for 24 or 48 hours. Explore the city with stop options like Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Hop aboard and embark on your city adventure. Contrast the Old and New Towns, see the royal attractions of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia (entrances not included). Live guides provide English commentary on the Edinburgh Tour, while audio guides are available in up to 9 languages on the City Sightseeing Tour and the Majestic Tour. Hop on and off as often as you like at dozens of attractions, and enjoy unique, scenic views from the open-top upper decks. City Sightseeing Tour: Hear about the people and events that shaped Edinburgh, from the cramped conditions of the Old Town to spacious Holyrood Park, on a classic sightseeing tour in 9 languages. Enjoy Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories with the on board Horrible Histories Children’s Channel - history with all the gory bits left in! • Hanover Street • Princes Street Gardens • St. John’s Church • Grassmarket • Johnston Terrace • Edinburgh Castle • National Museum of Scotland • Museum of Childhood • Scottish Parliament • Our Dynamic Earth • Palace of Holyrood House • Burns Monument Edinburgh Tour: Enjoy the best views aboard an open-top bus, as live commentary in English brings Edinburgh’s history to life. Explore the Old Town and Georgian New Town, hopping off at 9 strategic stops. • Hanover Street • George Street • Charlotte Square • The Mound • Lawnmarket • Grassmarket • Our Dynamic Earth • Scottish Parliament • Canongate Kirk Majestic Tour: Leave the city center and head to the coast at Newhaven, with stops for the Royal Botanic Garden and Royal Yacht Britannia. This multi-language tour offers commentary through headphones in English, Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Return via the Palace of Holyrood House and the Canongate section of the Royal Mile. • Hanover Street • George Street • Royal Botanic Gardens • Ferry Road • Newhaven Harbour • Cruise Terminal • Ocean Terminal (Royal Yacht Britannia) • Leith Mills • Elm Row • Queen Mary’s Bath House • Queensberry House • Canongate Kirk

Edinburgh City: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour

5. Edinburgh City: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour

Download an MP3 audio guide and explore Edinburgh's famous attractions at your own pace. Begin your tour at Edinburgh Castle, a building that dates back to the 12th century. See the Scottish Crown Jewels, the magnificent St Giles' Cathedral, Mary King's Close, and walk past underground alleys with a layered history. See the Princes Street Gardens, the Royal Mile, Tolbooth Kirk, the George IV Bridge, Edinburgh City Chambers, Tron Kirk, and the Scottish Parliament Building. Drop by at Deacon Brodie's tavern and try Edinburgh's best haggis, a national delicacy immortalized in poetry by Robbie Burns (the National Bard of Scotland). 

Edinburgh: Scotland's Dark Secrets Walking Tour

6. Edinburgh: Scotland's Dark Secrets Walking Tour

Marvel at the mysteries lurking behind Edinburgh on a walking tour focusing on the city's darker side. Visit Edinburgh Castle, Grey Friars Kirkyard, and the Old Tollbooth Prison. Let your guide thrill you with macabre, twisted tales from days gone by. Learn about witches and ghosts from the city's past and find out which ones are still lurking around today. Soak up every creaky nook and cranny while you search for signs of ghosts and ghouls on this unforgettable walking tour of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh: Outlander Walking Tour

7. 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!

Edinburgh: 3-Hour Walking Tour

8. Edinburgh: 3-Hour Walking Tour

On this walking tour of Edinburgh, you will get an in-depth look at the city. Your guide will take you on a journey full of history, literature, gastronomy, and nightlife. You will learn the fascinating history and culture of the capital of Scotland. This is a fun and entertaining tour that will give you insight into this historic city and help you make plans for your stay in Edinburgh. During your walking tour, you will make stops that are off the traditional routes while ensuring that you get to see the forgotten areas of Edinburgh. This tour will take you through Old Town and its intricate alleyways to see some of its most emblematic buildings and characters. You will also get to see the New Town, the picturesque Victoria Street, Grassmarket, and the chilling cemetery of Greyfriars, to finish touring the most representative buildings of the University of Edinburgh, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world.

Edinburgh: Ghost Hunt Exploration Game

9. Edinburgh: Ghost Hunt Exploration Game

Be led on an exciting self-guided tour around Edinburgh while playing a mobile-based quest with your friends and family. See many of Edinburgh’s most famous attractions and go on a journey through some of the city’s most haunted places. Download the app, go to the starting point, and begin the adventure. Follow clues and visit ghostly locations including Greyfriars Kirkyard, the site of the Nor’ Loch and West Bow, and sites where public executions were held. Unlock secrets about the places you visit as you solve puzzles and guess the answers. Learn about the Scottish Witch Hunts and the Burke and Hare murders and view the hall containing a book made of William Burke’s flesh. Use the clues to lead you from one site to another. Each clue provides you with exact directions so you won't need a map, GPS, or guide. Complete the tour in about 1.5 hours, however, there’s no time limit, allowing you to go at your own pace. Play as a group or split into smaller groups/teams and compete against the others. Each person can also play on their own, separate from the group, and meet the group at the end of the tour. Take part in a special Halloween event on October 30 featuring live actors. Wear your best costume to win a contest with prizes such as a $1000 GetYourGuide gift card, a (real) coffin, and much more.

Edinburgh Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & City Tour

10. Edinburgh Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & City Tour

Solve riddles on your smartphone as you explore some of the main tourist sights in Edinburg on this self-guided scavenger hunt and walking tour in one. Join with friends or family and learn about the city as you go. To get started, simply download the tour app (instructions received via email after booking) and head over to the starting point at the Scott Monument. Choose to start the activity at any time. Use the map to navigate to each location as you complete challenges and pause at any time to take a break or do some sightseeing. As you explore, learn insider information about the city and attractions. Sights along the walking tour route include the Royal Scottish Academy, Esplanade, Edinburgh Castle, The Hub, Grassmarket, Greyfriars, St. Giles, Cannongate, the Burns Monument, Calton Hill, and more.

Other Sightseeing Options in St. Giles' Cathedral

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What people are saying about St. Giles' Cathedral

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,230 reviews

From start to finish, the experience was incredible. Our tour guide Madge, did a fantastic job of telling the history and horrors that occurred in the town of Edinburgh and making our way towards the underground vaults. The experience I endured down in the underground vaults was something I never experienced before. I heard what seems to be loud banging coming from above us while being three storeys below the city and it was just the beginning of the tour around the vaults. The same experience occurred again in a vault not far from the first two vaults we entered and it was surreal. Another experience I endured as well and others in the vault, was a gentle swift of cold air running across the vault. It was certainly chilling and there was feeling of a presence that made itself known as we were guided by Madge. I do recommend this to anyone who is fascinated or have a interest in the paranormal. I will definitely will be making a return for this tour in the future.

Fiona (Little Fish Tours) is an awesome guide. Learned a lot of Old Town history and heard some fun stories from a very knowledgeable and cheerful tour guide. Well done!

The four of us adults had a great time on this tour. Lovely to see the sights and details you’d otherwise miss. Highly recommend this activity.

Our guide was Ali, Alistor hope the name is spelled correct. He is smart and funny! He knows so much about everything. I really enjoyed it!

Very knowledgeable and funny. Everyone was very friendly and I would definitely recommend to others !!