Discover the history beneath the everyday city streets.
Hear surprising stories you won’t find in the guidebooks, soak up the festival atmosphere, and have fun. Learn about the people and the changing times as you travel from the ancient extinct volcanic castle rock, through medieval streets and onto the Neo-classical grace of the New Town. Encounter the genteel way of life – and the dirty underbelly. From sumptuous royalty to humble god-fearing Presbyterianism. Edinburgh comes to life with Kilted Black Cab tours.
Begin your tour
After pick-up from your residence, be transported through the streets of Edinburgh to the top of the Royal Mile where your tour begins. The first attraction is the most famous landmark in the city, Edinburgh Castle. This mighty fortress dominates the skyline, defending the nation from anyone foolish enough to attack.
It’s a hilly start but take your time getting up Castle Hill and you will be rewarded with unrivalled views across the city. Admission to the Castle is extra and tickets will be distributed at the Esplanade.
The Royal Mile.
Then head to the heart of the capital – the Royal Mile. History seeps through the pores of this ancient thoroughfare. Its numerous narrow alleyways or ‘closes’ teem with life and stories.
Dip into Lady Stair’s Close and discover Lady Stair’s house – a restored 17th Century townhouse tucked away from the busy streets. Next is Riddles Court, an authentically restored 16th Century merchant’s house now used for weddings and other special events.
Enter Gladstones Land and experience what life was like in a 17th Century tenement. High rise buildings were common in overcrowded Edinburgh and this one towers at six stories.
St Giles and Parliament square
Then onward from the bustle of daily life to things of a more contemplative nature at St Giles Cathedral. This high kirk represents 1000 years of history: from before the Reformation to becoming the church of John Knox. Admire the beautiful stained-glass windows and impressive Rieger organ.
Located off the high street is Parliament Square. Named because Parliament House was built here in 1641. The open area is often used by street performers during the festival. Home of the parliament of Scotland until 1707, it’s now a hotel.
From here head to George IV bridge and the Elephant House coffee shop– made famous by its association with Harry Potter. Fans can imagine how this was where it all began. Continuing on the theme, look across to the four towers of George Heriot’s School – the inspiration for Hogwarts.
Go downhill to the Grassmarket and into Edinburgh’s murkier past. This was the medieval marketplace and site for public executions. Spare a thought for the poor souls who lived in squalid, cramped conditions in the 19th Century.
Lying in the shadow of the iconic castle, this is a good place to stop for a photo opportunity.
Return to the High Street
Check out one of the oldest buildings in Edinburgh, John Knox House. It’s now a museum and next to the Story Telling Centre. Make sure to look up at the old buildings as you may see details that hide mysteries in plain sight, like the turbaned figure at Morocco’s Land on the Canongate.
Learn the intriguing tale behind this curious carving which tells of a man overcoming injustice to gain power, wealth, and marry his accuser’s daughter – with his blessing. At Canongate visit the elegant Canongate Kirk. The Queen attends this church when she’s in town. This brings you to the end of the Royal Mile and leads you on to Her Majesty’s official residence in Scotland – Holyrood House.
Hop back into the taxi
Enjoy a relaxing drive out to Midlothian to visit Rosslyn chapel. This is the longest part of the drive and gives you the chance to rest and take in the beautiful countryside on the way. Let the beauty of the surroundings and the mysterious and ornate stonework inspire you as it has done writers and artists for centuries.
Return to Edinburgh.
This time down to Leith and discover the real home of golf at Leith Links. Down at Leith Dock see up close the Queen’s former floating palace, the Royal Yacht Britannia. Then take a sedate drive through the New Town with its Neo-classical and Georgian architecture – a stark contrast to the old town with its medieval streets and Reformation era buildings.
End the day at Calton Hill where you will be provided with another perspective of the city skyline. On a clear day enjoy views all the way to Fife over the Firth of Forth.
Cornell University Library (original author: George Washington Wilson (1823-1893)), CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Holyrood House. Ewa Dryjanska, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
This adventure is perfect for individuals and small groups, and can be tailored for:
- Charity fundraising
- Hen / Stag parties
Make this experience your own: Send Enquiry