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Hidden castles

Private Architectural Walking Tour in Edinburgh Old Town

Private Edinburgh Old Town tour for the seekers of romantic bonnie Scotland

Edinburgh Old Town tour, just south of Princes Street. With your expert guide you will discover how the city was first built up on the rocky volcanic landscape,  find the look-alikes of medieval Baronial castles around the Royal Mile, and hear how Victorian architects revived the unique Scots national architectural style within the Old Town. 

On your way, learn how the oldest existing buildings in Edinburgh inspired the new generation of  architects, producing such outstanding contemporary architecture as the National Museum and the famous Scottish Parliament. 

Tour available in English | Russian | Lithuanian

4km. Moderate activity level. Stairs and uneven surfaces.

All private Edinburgh tours from £108 per tour

Family discount 30% with code FAMILY at checkout

Tours last 2.5h. Recommended start time 10am, but other times are available on request.

Working to latest COVID-19 guidelines

Private tour Calendar

Hidden Castles

 Private | 2.5h | from £108 per tour

“Things I would have never noticed without the trained eye of my guide”

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Highlights

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Edinburgh Old Town Tour Details

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

Duration: 2.5 hours

Price: Private tours for 1-4 people, £108. Groups of 5-8, £27pp. Custom pricing for groups larger than 8.

Distance covered: 4km

Activity level: Walking at moderate pace. Uneven surfaces and a few stairs.

Meet: 3 Princes Street, outside Waverley Mall. 

Finish: Scottish Parliament, bottom of Royal Mile.

Weather contingency: Tours run rain or shine!

Languages: English, Russian and Lithuanian

William, Texas
I am a retired city planner and enjoyed the background of the old and new Edinburgh. I got to see back alleys and closes and learned the history of efforts to save the old town from destruction. Things I would never have noticed without the trained eye of my guide.
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Andrew, Melbourne
This walking tour was a good survey of all the elements of Scottish architecture and the significant buildings explaining the story and history of the city. I felt like I learned on this tour and understood the layout of the city better. Do this earlier in your trip and it will help you get around for the rest of your stay.
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Elisabeth, Newcastle
Even though I have been to Edinburgh several times and know a bit about the architecture and urban planning there, I saw the city in a new light through the excellent commentary and images Agustina shared.
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Ben, Lancaster
Had an amazing couple of hours with Olga, discovering all the hidden secrets of Edinburgh's architecture on the Old Town walk. She was one of the best guides we've ever had on a walk, and we could have happily carried on all day. Worth every penny for architecture lovers, and even those with a vague interest (like myself!).
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Rosalind, Dunbar
It was fascinating to learn about all the influences on Edinburgh’s architecture, from brochs and baronial castles to Le Corbusier. My friend and I are both local but without much knowledge of architecture, so the tour of the Old Town shed new light on familiar places. Entertaining and informative - would highly recommend.
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Glenn, London
Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and a joy to spend time with. She explained the historical context of how Edinburgh was developed, showed us examples of the Scottish Baronial style as well as a sample of high quality contemporary buildings and pointed out architectural features. It was a great way to be introduced to Edinburgh.
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Magdalena, Zurich
It was a pleasure to see Edinburgh through the eyes of a guide who can explain the details of the architectural history of the city.
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Margaret, Sydney
The tour guide really improved my understanding of the higgledy piggledy Old Town, and made subsequent explorations of this non grid town very easy. Lots of hidden courtyards and alleyways.
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Hidden Castles of Edinburgh Old Town

Royal Burgh of Edinburgh

 

The Old Town is the most popular attraction in Edinburgh. It contains the oldest buildings in the city and is steeped in fascinating and complex history. Hence, one can truly feel the medieval spirit of the burgh on the walking tour amongst the countless turrets and gables. 

Established as a royal burgh in 1125, Edinburgh has developed from a fortress into a market town of half-timbered houses. However, these were later superseded by less fire prone stone buildings, some of which have survived since 15th century.

Igneous rock under Royal Mile provided perfect solid foundation for the tall tenements that grew in height and density as a result of enclosing the city with defensive walls. 

Where are the hidden castles?

This Edinburgh Old Town tour will start near Waverley Bridge with a jaw-dropping sight of the dense Old town tenements perched on the slopes of the Royal Mile. We will walk through the elegant serpentine Cockburn street, under the multitude of crow stepped gables and turrets. Here, the group will learn how the political alliances influenced Scottish Baronial architecture.  

Royal Mile and its closes

While on the Royal Mile, your guide will narrate the story of the city’s landmark and the oldest building on the street – St Giles Cathedral. Around the corner, you will discover the national museum inspired by Corbusian geometries and Iron Age Pictish structures. 

Canongate and Scottish Parliament

Next, to seek out the oldest remaining tenements and houses, you will explore a sequence of atmospheric alleys, courtyards and terraces,

The walk will take you down the Royal Mile into Canongate, previously a separate burgh built up with nobles’ mansions, where we will admire some elegant contemporary student housing. 

At last, you will savour the story of the controversial postmodern Arts & Crafts building – the Scottish Parliament.