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Private Walking Tour of Edinburgh Castle, Old Town and Greyfriars
Tour Theme: Historic and Cultural Tours
This tour starts from: Edinburgh
Duration: Half Day - 4 hours approx
This is a Private Tour
Join Go Scotland Tours on this half day walking tour of Edinburgh Castle and Old Town. Edinburgh Old town has a rich and sometimes dark history. Let us guide you through the narrow closes and streets to reach the mighty Edinburgh Castle. This tour is a great introduction to the city. When the tour is done you will have the rest of the day to explore the castle and old town more in-depth, shop for fine woolen goods on the high street, or perhaps have a pub lunch. If you are staying in the city centre your private guide will meet you at your hotel or at a designated meeting point on the Royal Mile.
Edinburgh Old Town...
In the old town of Edinburgh we will explore the important sights that have made the town what it is today. This will include the Tron Kirk, Mercat Cross, Heart of Midlothian and St Giles area. In the medieval times Edinburgh was a large open air market place. They centred around the Mercat Cross where announcements were made as well as public punishments such as whipping. Attached the the big cathedral were lucken booths (locked booths) used by the merchants. Long gone now the Tolbooth was used as a jail for condemned prisoners. In it's place is the markings of a Heart in which people now still spit in as they pass, so watch your step!
We then walk through the narrow alleyways called closes and learn the meaning of Auld Reekie. In the past Old Edinburgh was a walled city with tall buildings to accommodate the tight-knit population. But instead of plumbing they had buckets that they used to throw their waste out the window and yelled Gardy Loo to warn the passers below. Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes as there will be stairs and cobblestone.
Greyfriars and Harry Potter...
Continuing the tour we make our way to Greyfriars Kirkyard which was home to Edinburgh's hero dog, Bobby. His statue is outside and great photo opportunity. The graveyard itself holds many interesting stories, from the paranormal to Harry Potter. J K Rowlings spent quite a bit of time here and used the names on the Grave Stones for her first book. Such as MacGonagall and Thomas Riddell, aka Voldemort. Near by is the Elephant House Cafe, deemed the Birthplace of Harry Potter here as she wrote some of her first pages in the cafe.
The graveyard also has an evil spirit who goes by the name of Bloody Mackenzie. His poltergeist is said to haunt a gated of area called the Covenanter's prison. In the 18th century the graveyard saw many body snatchers who dug bodies up to sell to the medical professors. We then make our way to Grassmarket which was the place of many Inns, a place of execution, and home of the notorious murderers Burke and Hare.
We finally reach the impregnable Edinburgh Castle for a person guided tour. Standing on top of an extinct volcano it offers great views of the city and surroundings. In the 18th century the castle was transformed into a military barracks which is still in use today. If we time it right we maybe able to view the firing of the One O'Clock Gun. But Edinburgh castle has a much longer history then this. It is said that the summit has been a dwelling for life for at least 3000 years. In 1314 it was occupied by the English during the Wars until Robert the Bruce's nephew, Thomas Randolph, scaled the walls to take the castle by sneak attack.
Continuing up the cobblestones we head towards St Margaret's Chapel which is the oldest building in Edinburgh. Queen Margaret was the wife of Malcolm Canmore and one of our Scottish Saints. In front of the chapel is the giant medieval cannon Mon's Meg. We will end the tour at crown square to give you time to explore the War Memorial, Great Hall and Crown Jewels on your own. We hope you enjoy the rest of the day in Scotland's Captial!
This is a private tour of Edinburgh and can be customized to your request. For more details contact us.
Private Walking Tour of Edinburgh Castle, Old Town and Greyfriars, Harry Potter and Grassmarket
Photography Credits: Kenny Lam (VisitScotland), Paul Tomkins (VisitScotland)
Operated by: Go Scotland Tours Rank 3
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