On Request Tours

Treasures of the Old Town

In Summary

  • Meander through the ancient, picturesque closes and gardens of Edinburgh’s Canongate
  • Hear the lesser known tales of fascinating and often scandalous events that took place in the lower section of the Royal Mile (which contains more historic buildings than the upper half!)
  • Delve into the escapades of famed Edinburgh characters like Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Explore Holyrood Palace, Her Majesty the Queen’s official residence in Scotland
  • Mercat exclusive audio devices - get immersed and lost in the stories...


About this tour

History walk in Edinburgh

Explore the hidden treasures of the Royal Mile – and let your expert guide unlock the history of this ancient seat of power. Discover the lesser known history of the Canongate, and the glorious Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Unearth a pathway to Holyrood Palace that escapes the notice of history books and Edinburgh bus tours. Explore a lesser known but equally captivating side of Edinburgh Old Town’s vibrant history as you journey down the quiet closes of the Royal Mile.

Your expert tour Storyteller will immerse you in the rich, engaging history of the rebellious Jacobites clattering over the cobbles, led by a proud Bonnie Prince Charlie. You’ll delve into the intriguing life and times of sickly poet Robert Fergusson; the inspiration to renowned Robert Burns and forever immortalised in this part of town.

In the hands of your gifted Storyteller on this walking tour, 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.

From rebels to royalty

Explore the Palace of Holyroodhouse, equipped with your newly acquired knowledge of the Canongate’s history.

At the conclusion of your Treasures of the Old Town tour, your guide will introduce you to the glorious Palace of Holyroodhouse. You are free to explore these 14 magnificent state apartments, as well as the romantic ruins of the 12th Century Holyrood Abbey, at your own leisure.

Long before the Palace was used by Her Majesty the Queen for modern day royal ceremonies, it was the setting for many dramatic episodes in the short reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, which you’ll hear all about during this tour.


This tour explores the lower half of the Royal Mile. Want to know more about High Street and Lawnmarket? Try our Secrets of the Royal Mile tour where you can visit Edinburgh Castle

Palace image photographer: Ian Jones. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Enquire about Treasures of the Old Town

Tours details


  • 1 hours 45 minutes

Step Count

  • 2000

Tour location

  • Start point: Mercat Cross, High Street
  • End point: Holyrood Palace, Canongate

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Souvenir Guidebooks

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

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