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Private Walking Tour of Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle
Tour Theme: Historic and Cultural Tours
This tour starts from: Edinburgh
Duration: 1 Day - 8 hours
This is a Private Tour
Discover the old town of Edinburgh on a personal guided walking tour of the Royal Mile. Go Scotland Tours would be happy to arrange your private tour in Edinburgh. This tour can be offered as a full day tour from top to bottom. Explore the hidden corners and closes of the old town. A deep journey into the medieval history of Edinburgh. 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. The route for the day may vary depending on where you are staying.
Enjoy a personal guided tour of the Castle. Starting from the outside you will learn how Edinburgh all began. Sitting on top of a volcanic crag this site is said to have been occupied for over 8000 years. Although the frontage is from a bit more modern, the gate house was designed during Victorian times as an impressive entrance. Guarded by two great Scottish Heroes; King Robert the Bruce and William Wallace the Guardian of Scotland.
In the castle we will tell the story of the stronghold from a medieval castle to a military barracks, and now a top attraction in Scotland. Here the story of Queen Margaret and the chapel in her honour which is said to be now the oldest building in Scotland. In front is the 6 ton medieval canon last used in 1681 on a birthday celebration! Onto the highest point of the castle find out how the thistle and the rose were united. It was here where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to the future king of Scotland and England James the VI and I. From here we will give you a little free time to explore the castle; the Stone of Destiny, Crown Jewels, War Memorial, POW prison, Military Museums and more...
Meet your guide back outside the castle as we begin our walking tour of the Royal Mile. At the top of Castlehill is the Witches Well where in the 16th century saw more witches burned at the stake then any where else in Scotland. The Princes Street Gardens was once a giant man made loch that was used as the castle's moat and dumping ground for deceased bodies.
During medieval times Edinburgh was a crowded densely populated city. To deal with the population the buildings were about 14 floors high, sky scrappers of the time. The only problem was these building had no plumbing, so once a day bed pans were dumped on the street as they yelled ' Gardy Loo'! This is one of the reasons for the city's nickname is 'Auld Reekie'.
The structure of the old town is like a fish skeleton with the high street as the backbone with many alleyways or closes leading to courtyards away from the street. One of these closes is dubbed as poet's corner as Robert Burns spent a short time of his life in a room above a brothel. It is also the place of the writers museum with special exhibts from Robert Bruce, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Walter Scott.
St. Giles and Parliament Square...
The hub of Edinburgh, this is where the main market was, announcements where made, and the religious heart of the city. Surrounding the church used to be luckenbooths; small booths used by merchants to sell goods. These buildings were removed in the 1800s to create more space in the square. One of these buildings was the Tollcross which by its name was where you paid your taxes and also was a jail. It was included in the Walter Scott novel the Heart of Midlothian. Traditional walkers by spit in the heart on the ground for good luck, so watch your step!
St. Giles Cathedral has been the religious centre of the city for over 900 years. Restoration began in the 1800s to bring the church back to its former glory. Inside are impressive stain glass windows including the colourful blue Burns Window. Learn all about the covenanters and see the signed National Covenant and the tombs of Marquis of Montrose and Argyll, bitter enemies of the cause.
It is called the Royal Mile as it is 1 Scottish Mile from the Castle to the Holyrood Palace, place of Royal Residence. Gate means street, this was the place gifted to the Canons of Holyrood Abbey. Canongate was a separate town from Edinburgh until it was absorbed into the city in 1856. Residents still say they are going to Edinburgh when leaving the district.
On the tour we can go by the old Tollcross which is now the People's Museum. Then to Cannongate Kirk which is used by Royalty when they visit and has an interesting cemetery with some famous local residents being buried here. Including Robert Fergusson writer, poet and personal friend of Robert Burns.
Holyrood Palace and Scottish Parliament...
We will end the tour at the bottom of the Royal Mile. From here you can choose to visit Holyrood Palace or the Scottish Parliament, or combine both into one tour.
Holyrood Palace first built in the 16th century by James V and remodelled by Charles II. Most famously used by Mary Queen of Scots for her lavish Renaissance parties. It was here where her husband, Lord Darnley, publicly murdered David Rizzio, her secretary, in a jealous rage.
The Scottish Parliament built in 1999 has a unique style of architecture designed by Enric Miralles. It has a natural theme meant to be in line with Arthur's seat looming in the background. Visits inside are free of charge.
The itinerary can be customised to your request depending on which attractions you would like to visit most. For more details contact us and we can start planning your tour of the Scottish Highlands.
Private Walking Tour of Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle
Photography Credits: Kenny Lam (VisitScotland), Paul Tomkins (VisitScotland)
Operated by: Go Scotland Tours Rank 4
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