I am the notification bar, pleased to meet you.

About this tour

Few places have mixed horror and entertainment as effectively as the gallows. On this private tour you’ll hear tales of all who met their end with a noose around their neck – and one who sprang back to life.

Stand in the spot where the gallows once stood, a stage in the midst of a baying crowd. Imagine the rope slipped over a bagged head, cinched tight. The air falls quiet. A lever creaks, the trapdoor clatters, the rope snaps taut, the body swings.

Follow the bodies from gallows to graveyard

This private tour transports you to the gruesome spectacle of Edinburgh’s many hangings. Hear of vagabonds, murderers, and witches – of Maggie Dixon coming back to life, and Deacon Brodie trying to cheat death. Your expert Mercat storyteller will fire your imagination, and you’ll follow the route the bodies took from gallows to the crowded Canongate kirkyard.

You’ll meet a costumed character – it could be a body snatcher, or a gossipy woman – on your way through the closes and wynds to the graveyard. They’ll point you to the grave of David Rizzio, alleged lover of Mary Queen of Scots. And to the unmarked patches of earth – places where murderous spirits used to lie – before they were dug up, their restless souls set loose on the city.

Enquire about this tour

Your Edinburgh tour at a glance

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

  • Delve into the gore of Edinburgh’s worst punishments
  • Hear from a costumed character to bring the stories to life
  • Explore the historic Canongate graveyard and its secrets
  • Hear of crime, punishment and bloody history of the Old Town

Tour Details


1 hour 30 minutes

Meeting point and route

Start: Mercat Cross, High Street

Finish: Canongate Graveyard

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