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Edinburgh Vaults

Edinburgh Vaults: Our most recommended tours and activities

Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

1. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults Tour

This guided walking tour takes you beneath the streets of Edinburgh's Old Town into a dimly lit space that many considered to be haunted. Your tour visits the vaults of the South Bridge that date back to the 1700s. These are the same vaults mentioned on Most Haunted Live as one of the scariest places on earth. Learn how the vaults have been used over the years, the living conditions endured by the poor and homeless residents, and the spirits that are supposed to haunt them. The darker side of Edinburgh's history will unfold as you wander through the candle-lit underground area. From your guide, you'll hear about the Burke and Hare murders and the persecution of witches. Discover the characters who stalked the streets of Edinburgh, and the paranormal stories associated with the vaults. The Haunted Vaults tour option will cover slightly more paranormal and ghost stories. Step into the torture exhibition and explore how and why these items were used.

Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour

2. Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Ghost Tour

Join an early afternoon ghost tour in Edinburgh and enjoy a walk with a professional local guide dressed in full period costume. See historic landmarks in the old town on this 1-hour tour as your guide tells you about Edinburgh’s dark past. Head down into the city’s underground vaults, located below the historic South Bridge, just off Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. The vaults are known to be some of the most haunted in the world and many a ghost has been spotted lurking around by visitors and guides. Experience an afternoon filled with ghosts, torture, death, and horror in Scotland’s historic capital.

Edinburgh: Late-Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour

3. Edinburgh: Late-Night Underground Vaults Terror Tour

Join this late-night guided walking tour in English of Edinburgh to discover the city’s darkest and most frightening experience. Hear ghost stories of the city told above and below the ground of the Royal Mile. Walk through the famous wynds and closes of the Royal Mile, learning about the horrific living conditions of the population that once lived in these underground rooms. Listen to stories from your guide about murderers who roamed the streets and snatched bodies to sell to medical schools at the time. Then, hear stories of the scratching hauntress who leaves marks on her victims. Witness torture exhibits and learn how these devices were used in times gone by. Finally, go to the home of “The Watcher” ghost, and see the infamous stone circle vault, still decorated with pentagrams and spiritual symbols.

Edinburgh: Haunted Underground Vaults and Graveyard Tour

4. Edinburgh: Haunted Underground Vaults and Graveyard Tour

Join a guided walking tour to Greyfriars Graveyard and learn about one of Edinburgh's most famous canine residents and hear stories about notorious criminals. See Gothic mausoleums and learn about notable burials as you explore the grim history of the cemetery. Continue with a visit to the nearby Edinburgh Vaults, located in the arches of South Bridge. Hear about regular paranormal occurrences and how some of the characters from history have never really left. Discover the former home of the destitute, witches and a hellfire club, and hear how the haunted vault is now possessed by something truly evil.

Edinburgh: Extreme Paranormal Underground Ghost Tour

5. Edinburgh: Extreme Paranormal Underground Ghost Tour

Experience a walking ghost tour best suited for those who consider themselves to be very brave and venture into some of Edinburgh’s most haunted locations, above and below ground. Feel goosebumps dot your skin as you follow your darkly-clad guide to these eerie spots in the Scottish capital, learning about their haunted stories en route. This adults-only tour is not for the faint-hearted, and is ideal for hardened ghost hunters - or non-believers. You will journey down the old wynds (alleys) that lead to the world’s most haunted graveyard. Then, take a walk along the path of death! Below the pavement, “ghosts” lurk. Journey through paranormal tales of ghosts and hear both sides of the story. Uncover true and terrifying tales of hangings, torture, murders, witches, and cannibals. 

Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

6. Edinburgh: Ghostly Underground Vaults Tour

Explore Edinburgh's ghostly past on a guided tour through the streets of the Old Town and its underground vaults. Listen as your cloaked guide tells you tales of the city's dark and grim past as you are led along the Royal Mile. If you dare, step into the narrow alleyways, which are only a few feet wide. Make your way to the South Bridge, and head underneath, where Edinburgh's Vaults are located. Once storage areas for businesses and shops in the area, the vaults were taken over in the late 1700s and turned into living spaces. Eventually, the area became home to slums and the city's red-light district. As you walk through these now-vacant rooms, you will hear tales of the deplorable living conditions, as well as of the crime that once raged through the vaults. When you emerge from the underground, consider yourself lucky that it isn't in the dead of night.

Edinburgh: Evening Underground Ghost Tour

7. Edinburgh: Evening Underground Ghost Tour

Experience the world's most haunted city on a ghost tour of Edinburgh and be spooked by the dark side of the Old Town. Discover the hidden wynds (alleys) off the Royal Mile and hear some of Edinburgh’s horrifying secrets. Visit what is considered the world's most haunted graveyards, "Greyfriars Kirkyard." Finally, explore the underground Edinburgh Vaults. Completed in 1788, the series of chambers housed taverns and stored illicit material, including dead bodies killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for their medical experiments. Journey through over 400 years of history and true tales of hangings, torture, murders, and witchcraft. Shiver at the weird noises and unexplained smells that appear after dark! 

Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Historical Tour

8. Edinburgh: Old Town and Underground Historical Tour

Immerse yourself in the history of Edinburgh on a guided city walking tour. Trace the origins of the city as you explore the Royal Mile, the underground vaults, and Old Town, with stories hidden behind every turn. The historical tour begins at the Old Police Box on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, where you will be met by a local historian and proceed straight into the Underground Vaults. Edinburgh's Underground is over 400 years old and is full of fascinating history, all of which the guide will share with you. After visiting the Underground Vaults, your guide will take you all around Edinburgh's Royal Mile and Old Town, visiting some hidden closes and other spots of historical significance. Delve into parts of Edinburgh that you did not know existed, mostly off the tourist trail.  Hear that the first skyscrapers in the world were built in Edinburgh, discover the identity of the local criminal who became the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde, and learn where the phrase "Black Market" came from. Find out where Ebeneezer Scrooge is buried – yes, really – and how Edinburgh University worked closely with the serial killers, Burke and Hare. Edinburgh’s history is long and fascinating, made even more special when told by your enthusiastic, passionate, and local guide. 

Edinburgh: Late Night Haunted Underground Vaults Tour

9. Edinburgh: Late Night Haunted Underground Vaults Tour

This 60-minute adults-only tour is a chilling way to explore Edinburgh after dark. Head underground for an unsettling introduction to the city’s unpleasant past. These tales are not fit for the glare of daylight or for telling to those under 18. Your guide will share true stories of sinister misdeeds and terrible consequences, starting aboveground around the wynds and closes of the Old Town. You'll hear of bloody plots that led to treason and torture, and secret lives that led to horrific deaths and tormented souls. To delve deeper, head to the Blair Street underground vaults, where there’s definitely an unsettling feeling. Your expert Mercat guide will tell you troubled tales as you continue this terrifying walking tour. Expect true stories of murder and hangings, all of which took place in these very vaults. There’s evidence of life in the distant past, lurking just beyond the faint beam of your guide’s flashlight.

Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

10. Edinburgh: Underground Vaults & Graveyard Evening Tour

Descend into the Blair Street Underground Vaults and hear the eerie history that lurks within on an evening walking tour in Edinburgh. Follow your guide through the narrow streets to the Canongate Graveyard. Delve into the terror of Edinburgh’s past as your guide leads you through the ancient city towards the vaults. Submerge yourself in darkness in the unsettling Blair Street Underground Vaults and uncover the troubling tales of torture and murder. Walk the dim streets to the Canongate graveyard and arrive at the resting place of the city’s most famous figures, including Adam Smith, the father of economics; David Rizzio, lover of Mary Queen of Scots; and James Douglas, the 3rd Marquess of Queensberry and infamous cannibal of the Canongate. Hear about their lives and the mark they left on the city, as well as the ghosts that haunt Edinburgh to this day. Don't miss a word your guide says with your radio receiver in hand.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Edinburgh Vaults

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What people are saying about Edinburgh Vaults

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 13,311 reviews

This was my first time experiencing the vaults (10pm slot) and I was NOT disappointed!! James who was our tour guide and has only been with the company for 1 month did an absolutely fantastic job! Providing haunting and gory details about the history of Edinburgh, interacting with the group and ensuring we were safe in our journey to and within the vaults. I even learned a few ‘fun (gory) facts’ about Edinburgh even though I am from the city!! I would highly recommend to anyone who loves a bit of ghostly adventures or would like to learn some history on the city! Great job James!!

The guide was full of energy enthusiasm clear, was fantastic at telling a story..... So much so i for one was disappointed the tour was only 75 minutes long. Could have done another hour.... Would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a spot of adventure, bit of fun plus learn a thing or 2. Tall slim white male, 20s quick walker.... Lol guide.

Andrew was a great guide, we enjoyed the whole tour, we had previously been on the vaults tour so we were quite happy that the information was still in depth, we even got a few more details than the last tour! Really chuffed with the energy of the guide and tour, would definitely recommend and rebook

The tour was great, Linda was informative and entertaining! Hope to be back soon to try different ones as the city is has so much history.

Great experience exploring the vaults and understanding the history of Edinburgh.