I am the notification bar, pleased to meet you.

About this tour

Discover Edinburgh at the moment it transformed the worlds of history, science, literature and philosophy. On this private tour you’ll see a city that was home to an extraordinary concentration of great minds: David Hume, Adam Smith, James Hutton and Walter Scott.  

The enlightenment in Edinburgh transformed philosophy, history, science and literature. From this small stage, a few men laid the foundations of modern economics, and inspired great leaps for modern medicine. But how did Scotland’s capital gain its reputation as the Athens of the North? And what was it about the city that inspired so many thinkers?

Excitement and endeavour

On this private tour of Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, your expert Mercat guide will conjure the excitement and endeavour of the men who met for intense meetings at The Select Society and The Poker Club. We’ll take you to places where it all happened – the university, the Surgeon’s Hall, the observatory. Forget the guide books – this tour brings a city of radical ideas to life.

Contact us for more details

Your Edinburgh tour at a glance

Book this tour if you'd like to...

  • Explore Edinburgh’s fascinating role in the history of ideas
  • Visit Old and New Town, tracing the tales of how it developed in the history of Europe
  • Enjoy a private tour with an expert guide

Tour Details


1 hour 45 minutes

Meeting point and route

Start: Mercat Cross, High Street

Finish: Calton Hill

award award

Trust Mercat to show you a side of Edinburgh others don’t see. We have 5 stars and a 91% rating from VisitScotland. We’re also one of the top 11 attractions in Scotland. Our Awards