Old Town

Guided Architecture Walking Tour

Walking tour for the lovers of picturesque and hidden architecture

A 3-hour tour of Edinburgh’s picturesque Old Town, just south of Princes Street. 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.

On a guided tour with a local architecture graduate, you will learn ideas behind new award winning buildings such as the Scottish Parliament, hear stories about celebrated historical buildings and dip in and out of closes while discovering the hidden Old Town.

2.5-3h

English | Mandarin | French |
Russian | Lithuanian

Start next to Tourist Office
Finish near the Parliament

In Small Group

up to 8 persons
£ 27
pp
  • Tours will depart with minimum 2 people. If you are by yourself, pick a tour that already has customers signed up, or select a private tour option.
Popular

Private

starting from
£ 108
per tour
  • Minimum payment for a private tour equals 4 persons's fee. If you require a tour outside of our regular schedule, email for a specific date and time.​

Large Groups

from 9 persons
CUSTOM
PRICES
  • Great prices for study trips, and corporate visits. We can accommodate groups of up to 50 people (Max 25 per guide). Special theme requests welcome.

Full description of the Old Town Tour

Edinburgh 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. 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burgh in 1125, Edinburgh has developed from a fortress into a market town of timber frame cottages, that were later superseded by less fire prone sandstone buildings some of which survive since 15th century.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. 

The walk will start near Waverley Bridge with an introduction of Edinburgh history told with a backdrop Old Town panorama. The group will then delve into foreign architectural influences and the development of Scottish Baronial style as we walk through the serpentine of Cockburn street. 

Amid the hustle and bustle of the Old Town social and physical backbone, The Royal Mile, your 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 latest post modern museum inspired by Corbusian geometries and Iron Age Pictish structures. 

You will then enjoy a sequence of atmospheric alleys, courtyards, terraces and gardens, all accompanied by your guide’s enthusiastic commentary. 

You will then march down the Royal Mile into Canongate, a previously separate burgh built up with nobles’ mansions. Towards the end of the tour you will be able to see how historical architecture influenced sensitive modern development in the Old Town. At last, you will savour the story of the Post Modern Arts&Crafts building – the Scottish Parliament.

Things you can do before and after the Old Town Tour

The sign outside Tourist information Centre

Edinburgh iCentre

If you get to our meeting point early, why not plan the rest of your visit to Edinburgh or Scotland by visiting the tourist information centre.

Architecture of the Debating Chamber at the Scottish Parliament

Scottish Parliament

The walking tour ends just outside the Scottish Parliament, which you can visit to rally appreciate the power of architectural thought applied to this building.

Two people drinking tea after a walking tour

Café at the Palace

After the tour, rest your legs and have a warm beverage in the beautiful setting of Palace Café, indoor and garden seating available.