History Walks

Secrets of Edinburgh's Royal Mile

In Summary

  • Discover the fascinating secrets behind Edinburgh’s famous, historic Old Town
  • Enjoy a relaxed tour of the Royal Mile & Edinburgh Castle (with skip-the-line entry)
  • Hear about royalty, writers, philosophers and everyday folk living in Edinburgh through the ages
  • See the quieter, more hidden sites where history was lived and made
  • Mercat exclusive audio devices - get immersed and lost in the stories...


About this tour

Edinburgh history walks

This walking tour is the perfect introduction to Scotland’s capital. The first secret you’ll learn? That you can skip the line at Edinburgh Castle!

Discover an Edinburgh beyond the reach of tour buses and guidebooks. A beautiful city steeped in awe-inspiring history that has been perfectly preserved to this day, in the wynds, closes, courtyards and homes of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Take a journey through time with us, and explore the lives of Edinburgh residents from generations past and gone – from historical figures like Mary Queen of Scots and Robert Burns, to the everyday folk who never left the city’s walls their entire lives.

Hang on your tour Storyteller’s every word, as they walk you through the crime and culture to the politics and everyday events, and show you the evidence that has survived to this day, throughout the Royal Mile.


Take a walking tour

Want to visit Edinburgh Castle? Skip the line with Mercat Tours.

The castle towers over Edinburgh from up high on its great ancient rock – a literal fortress, looking out over the city’s stunning landscapes. Battles and sieges were fought over it, royalty lived and died within its walls, and countless generations have been inspired by it.

Visit Edinburgh Castle with your Mercat Tours Storyteller, and from the Royal Mile you’ll walk straight over the drawbridge, and straight past the ticket line – to continue your journey into Edinburgh’s history uninterrupted.


The full Secrets of the Royal Mile tour with Edinburgh Castle included, takes 2 hours and 15 minutes – simply choose this option when you book. Please note that under current guidelines, your time in the Castle will be self-guided to enjoy at your own time and pace. We recommend planing at least 2hrs for your visit to the Castle.

Prefer to join us for the 1 hour and 30 minute walking tour without Edinburgh Castle? That’s absolutely fine – there’s plenty of history to explore in Edinburgh’s Old Town.


Please Note: To give a fully immersive experience, we'll provide a personal audio device. Your Storyteller will use a headset with microphone to ensure you hear every word over the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh's lively Old Town. Please do bring your own headphones/earphones - it's a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

If you have a Historic Environment Scotland Explorer Pass, you’re very welcome to join us – including the guided tour of Edinburgh Castle – simply call us to check, once you’ve booked your tour ticket.

This tour explores the upper half of the Royal Mile. Want to know more about the Canongate? Try our Treasures of the Old Town tour where you can visit The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Customer review

"I highly recommend. It was interesting & answered all my questions about the fascinating history of Old Town Edinburgh. I loved that the tour guide had an audio system with individual earphones — we didn’t miss a thing! "

Megan, Google

Book ticket

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Tours details

Dates & times

Time: 10:00, 13:00


Private group bookings

Reconnect with friends and family on a tour just for you.  Book online now, or if you'd like we're happy to help on email info@mercattours.com



  • Small groups mean tickets are limited – we recommend booking in advance to guarantee your place and get the best price
  • Everyone has a warm welcome from us at the Mercat Cross.  Read more about how we look after you and what to expect on tour on our Accessibility page and Euan's Guide Review.
  • Check how we make sure you will be safe and feel safe on tour


  • 2 hours 15 minutes

Step Count

  • 1750

Tour location

  • Start point: Mercat Cross, High Street
  • End point: Edinburgh Castle esplanade, Castlehill

Need help booking?

Get in touch with us and one of our experts will be able to give you advice on our tours.

Customer review

"I highly recommend. It was interesting & answered all my questions about the fascinating history of Old Town Edinburgh. I loved that the tour guide had an audio system with individual earphones — we didn’t miss a thing! "

Megan, Google

Secrets of Edinburgh's Royal Mile

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Souvenir Guidebooks

Don’t forget to buy a Mercat Tours souvenir guidebook with your ticket.

See inside


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