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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 - be immersed and get lost in the stories...
  • Choosing Mercat is 'Good for you, Good for Edinburgh' - our team, community and planet

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 Storyteller’s every word, as they walk you through the crime and culture to the politics and everyday events, and show reveal 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 Edinburgh's Royal Mile tour with a 45min introduction to Edinburgh Castle included, takes 2 hours and 15 minutes – simply choose this option when you book.  We recommend you allow an additional 1.5-2hrs to explore the rest of the Castle in your own time.

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


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

Pls note, vital work conserving the Honours of Scotland is underway and The Crown Room will be closed from Wednesday 15 to Friday 24 November and there will be no visitor access to the Honours of Scotland.  Find out more here

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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Tour details

Dates & times

Daily; morning & afternoon

Private group bookings

Reconnect with friends and family on a tour just for you. Book online now, or we're happy to help on email



  • Donate to help us reconnect vulnerable communities through storytelling - learn more about Our Stories, Your City.

  • Everyone has a warm welcome from us;
  1. NEW FOR 2023; local Edinburgh residents eligible for concession rates (EH postcodes)
  2. Complimentary tickets are available for carers, to book call us on 0131 225 5445.
  3. Read how we include you here
  4. See our Euan's Guide Reviews.
  • Language: English. Learn more on our FAQs
  • Step count without castle: 940.


  • 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


Awarded 5 stars continuously since 2007 it recognises that we're always improving our tours and experiences for our visitors and team.

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