Architectural Walking Tour in Edinburgh

Dean Village

Heritage Valley

Dean Village tour for those eager to explore off the beaten path

Edinburgh Dean Village tour in a lush valley with a focus on key Scottish architectural features. Stroll up the green banks of the Water of Leith to marvel at the goddess Hygiea within a Neoclassical mineral water temple, then take in the 1830s stonework of Dean Bridge designed by Thomas Telford. 

After discovering the picturesque Baronial legacy of the ancient milling village, learn about the Victorian social housing building of Well Court. Lastly, walk through a chic 19th-century cemetery to see two exceedingly glamorous Georgian orphanages now converted into modern art galleries.

English | Mandarin | French | Spanish | Italian | Russian | Lithuanian | Hindi | Bengali | Urdu

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Highlights

  • St Bernard’s Well
  • Dean Bridge
  • Old Baxter’s Tolbooth
  • Water of Leith
  • West Mill
  • Dean Cemetery
  • Modern Art Galleries
  • Well Court

DEAN VILLAGE

2h | £27pp

HERITAGE VALLEY

For those eager to explore off the beaten path

“We found ourselves applying our new knowledge of architectural features for the remainder of our trip!”

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Dean Village Tour Details

Availability: Tours run all year. Check the calendar for available times.

Group size: Public tours consist of small groups up to 8 people. Custom group sizes apply to private tours. 

Duration: 2 hours

Price: £27. Private tours from £108. Custom pricing for groups.

Distance covered: 3km

Meet: Stockbridge Market

Finish: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Weather contingency: Tours run rain or shine!

Languages: Public tours in English. Private tours with an instant confirmation are available in French. Contact us to check guide availability for Dean Village tours in Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Lithuanian, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu. 

Babette, California
Graduate student Nick took us on an informative tour along the Water of Leith through Dean Village. We learned so much about the city and explored an area most guidebooks ignore. A great tour for those wanting to go deeper into the history and architecture of Edinburgh and get away from the typical tourist areas.
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Sylvia, Maryland
Olga is an excellent teacher in her guide-role, and is able to help her 'students' make connections with their prior knowledge and experiences. My husband and I found ourselves applying our new knowledge of architectural features throughout the remainder of our trip!
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Tom, Berlin
We had a fantastic history tour through Dean Village. The tour guide was nice, eloquent, and very knowledgeable not missing some good taste of humour. Well worth it.
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Nicky, London
It was a real highlight of our visit and we would never have visited this area without booking this Dean Village walk. It is a wonderful tour and Olga was a super knowledgable guide.
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Beth, Edinburgh
Although I have been an Edinburgh resident for over thirty years and had even walked along much of the route, I found this guided tour gave me a great new insight to the buildings, ruins and sights along the way. Our guide, Olga, was friendly, extremely knowledgeable and welcomed questions at every stage.
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Oliver, Hebden Bridge
Very impressed with the quality of this guided walk. Lots of intriguing information, with detail it would be hard to find out for yourself. Really put Dean Village into a fascinating historical and architectural context. We thought we knew the city moderately well, but this was two hours very well spent. Ace!
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Nicholas, Florida
Despite the fact that it rained, I loved the tour. Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly. Even though I had been to Edinburgh 4 times before, I had never been to Dean Village - it is well worth a guided visit, and I highly recommend this walking tour.
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Alasdair, Edinburgh
I've lived in the area for 10 years but learned more about the Dean Village in 2 hours with Olga than in the previous 10 years on my own.
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Heritage Valley of Edinburgh Dean Village

Romantic Landscapes

The walk will start in Stockbridge market, with an introduction of the history of villages around medieval Edinburgh. 

The party will then stroll along the Water of Leith while trying to spot abundant local wildlife. Here your guide will analyse the origins of Alexander Nasmith’s ideas and the embodiment of a Claudian landscape that is the site of St Bernard’s Well.

Having acquainted ourselves with the influences of 1750s grand tours, we will approach the magnificent Dean bridge, Thomas Telford’s structure to connect Dean Estate to the New Town.

In the heart of Dean Village

The group will then arrive right to the heart of Dean Village, the Baxter’s guild’s settlement that still contains the old bridge, tollbooth, a mill, and a weir. 

Here the role of flour milling, its heyday, and eventual demise will be discussed. Using existing buildings as examples, your guide will introduce you to the wider subject of Scottish Baronial architecture.

Victorian Social Housing

As we navigate the lanes of Dean Village, the group will come upon the red sandstone building of Well Court, Victorian social housing funded by a local philanthropist and the owner of the Scotsman Newspaper.

On the way to the galleries, your guide will take you through a fashionable 19th century cemetery and familiarise you with a few influential figures buried there. 

Philanthropic tradition

Thomas Hamilton’s orphanage turned gallery will present a great opportunity to discuss Edinburgh philanthropy traditions as well as discover various stone finishes of Georgian Edinburgh.

The tour will end with a perfect shot from the landform sculpture by Charles Jencks facing a beautiful example of stark Greek Revival architecture.

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