In Summary

  • Take time to stop, listen and consider the historic figures who stand above us - and if they should... 
  • Hear history from a range of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds
  • Visit and listen to tales of existing and ‘missing’ statues
  • Revealed - those who have had an impact on the city and its people, as well as across the world
  • Enjoy Mercat exclusive audio devices - get immersed and lost in the stories...
  • Choosing Mercat is 'Good for you, Good for Edinburgh' - our team, community, and environment

About this tour

An Edinburgh History Tour Not To Be Missed

Statues are seen, often unnoticed...

On this Edinburgh tour you will explore the stories of people from history, immortalised (in bronze), but murky in people’s memories - a fighter, surgeon, scientist, philosopher, an explorer and a politician.

The story of the life behind a statue will help you to make up your mind about how ‘worthy’ a person is of its dedication. Do we look up to them and their success stories or do we look up at them and remember their failings, which can teach us as much as their successes?

History's Missing Statues

If you could dedicate a statue to someone, who would it be? What story would it tell?

Mercat Tours will take you on a journey to explore which historic figures from Edinburgh's past we’d like to place on a plinth, who we currently look up to, and whether they are all worthy of their pedestal.

To start, you’ll visit James Braidwood, a fire-fighter who saved lives, homes and cities. He changed the way we operated fire services.  Along the route, you’ll hear about Elsie Inglis, who made it possible for women to receive medical treatment that many did not have access to and about James Barry, who trained as a surgeon in Edinburgh and went on to work in South Africa and performed the first ever caesarean there. 

You’ll finish at a statue of one of Scotland's prominent politicians during the 1700s, which was recently the subject of much debate.  Your tour will share stories including LGBTQ+, Black History, and Women's History.

We’ve partnered with the Scottish Storytelling Forum, as part of its Talking Statues project, to deliver an Edinburgh walking tour which explores Edinburgh's different statues. On the tour you'll discover how they got there, the stories behind them, and hear history from a variety of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. 


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.

Enquire about Edinburgh's Talking Statues

Tours details


  • 1 hours 45 minutes

Tour location

  • Start point: Mercat Cross, High Street

Need help booking?

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

souvenir Guidebook image

Souvenir Guidebooks

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

See inside


awards awards

Awarded 5 stars continuously since 2007 in recognition of our commitment to our customers and always improving our tours and experience.

Subscribe for updates

For all the latest information, tour updates and promotions.
I am the notification bar, pleased to meet you.