Picturesque Fantasy

Guided tour of Royal Mile closes for true explorers

If you have a curious nature and a hunger for knowledge, this Edinburgh tour around Royal Mile is for you. Discover the mysterious creatures lurking overhead and wander the multitude of atmospheric closes and courtyards,  many of which were saved by the town planner and local hero Patrick Geddes.

Find more ins & outs than an Edinburgh local would know, and take in the greenery of Royal Mile’s hidden gardens. To keep up the energy for further exploration of the Old Town, we will break for a meal in a lavish Neoclassical setting of the Signet Library.

English | Mandarin | French | Spanish | Italian | Russian | Lithuanian



  • Lunch in the Signet Library
  • Ramsay Garden
  • Scottish Parliament
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Royal Mile
  • Chessels court*
  • Wardrop's Court
  • New College*
  • Riddle's Court
  • Parliament Square
  • Sugarhouse Close
  • Victoria Terrace
  • Dunbar Garden*
  • John Knox House
  • Trunk's Close
  • White Horse Close*

* Time permitting



Half Day | Lunch Stop | £57pp

For true explorers. Discover the mysterious creatures lurking overhead and wander the multitude of atmospheric closes, courtyards, and gardens. 

“It was the best first day we could have possibly had in Edinburgh!”


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: 4.5 – 5 hours

Price: £57pp*. Private tours from £228. Custom pricing for groups. Meal price not included. 

Restaurant: Colonnades, set in a former advocates library. 

Distance covered: 4.5km

Meet: 6 Waterloo Place, outside of Rabbie’s Cafe. 

Finish: Scottish Parliament, bottom of Royal Mile.

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 tours in Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Lithuanian.

*Minimum booking: Tours will depart with a payment for minimum 2 people. For solo travellers, we recommend picking a date that already has customers signed up, or booking one of our shorter tours. 

Inez, Kentucky
This Royal Mile tour was the first thing we did in Scotland and I’m so glad we experienced it first. We had a much greater appreciation and understanding of all the different architecture and history throughout the rest of our trip.
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Ian, Edinburgh
We took the 5 hour walking tour, in very bad weather, but the time flew by and was terrific. Whether you are new to Edinburgh, or already know the city, you will get a huge amount from it. Our tour guide was Olga who was so informative and passionate about her subject.
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Harvey, New York
We had the most amazing time with our tour guide Olga learning about the architectural history of Edinburgh. She had so many amazing stories and insights into the history of Edinburgh. We really felt like we had a deeper understanding of Edinburgh and its culture because of this guided tour. It was the best first day we could have possibly had in Edinburgh!
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Vivien, Canada
Seeing Old Town any other way is just not the same. Olga’s knowledge, professionalism and passion for architecture and history was so appreciated! The pace of the walking tour was just right. Highly recommend.
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William, Texas
The tour guide was well informed, pleasant and was interesting in debating architectural opinions. I was shown all sorts of little off the beaten path architecture and historic gems. The lunch was great (in an old Scottish Law Library) and I enjoyed the entire day.
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Orna, Tel Aviv
A professional guide with knowledge, interesting and attentive, strongly recommend a walking tour with them! A great option to get to know Edinburgh. Thank you very much!
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Michael, London
This is quite simply the best guided tour available. Olga teaches at university and has also become an expert local architecture historian with deep knowledge about Edinburgh's architecture. I learned a fantastic amount about the history, geology, development and architecture of the Old Town.
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Picturesque Fantasy of Edinburgh Old Town

Exploring further in a relaxed pace

This in-depth Edinburgh Old Town tour will allow us to notice the little idiosyncrasies of the city’s patrons and builders, imagine what was lost, and learn how so much of the medieval fabric was saved from blunderous Victorian demolitions. 

We will tour the Royal Mile in a relaxed pace and take a peak at a multitude of charming courts, closes and gardens with plenty of time for atmospheric shots.  

Romantic Scottish Baronial Architecture

We will learn how the Old Town was first built up, and subsequently revamped in the second half of the 19th century in the unique Scottish Baronial Revival style that so captured the Victorian imagination. As we walk through the serpentine of Cockburn street, we will get into the habit of saying hello to the mysterious gargoyles overhead. 

Amid the hustle and bustle of the Old Town’s social and physical backbone, the Royal Mile, your tour guide will narrate the story of the city’s landmark and oldest building on the street – St Giles Cathedral. Around the corner, you will discover the city’s postmodern museum inspired by Corbusian geometries and Iron Age Pictish structures. 

The Legacy of Patrick Geddes

We will stop by Grassmarket to find the most handsome water fountain in Edinburgh, and admire the spectacular change of levels on Victoria Terrace. The group will discover a string of historical courtyards full of secret gems, such as Wardrop’s court and Ramsay garden. Here we will learn about the role that a biologist-turned-visionary-town-planner, Patrick Geddes, had in saving the fabric of the Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Delicious break amongst the book shelves


Following a brief introduction of the New Town with a beautiful view towards the Firth of Forth delta, the party will sit down for lunch in the magnificent Signet library** that was converted into a restaurant serving modern Scottish cuisine. Joy for the eye and the stomach guaranteed!

Canongate's gardens


We will then march down the Royal Mile into Canongate, a previously separate burgh built up with nobles’ mansions, and sneak into little hidden orchards such as Trunk’s Close, Dunbar Garden, and Chessels Court. 

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


**Break in Signet Library is subject to their availability. We book a table as soon as your booking is confirmed, but they can sometimes be already full or closed for a private function. In that case we find and agree on an amazing alternative restaurant with you.