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The Best Walking Tours in Edinburgh

Passionate explorers or travelers prefer to experience the journey by foot because it gives them a chance to experience travel. Therefore, you should explore the city of Edinburgh on foot to explore its rich history and stunning architecture. With its cobblestone streets, landmarks, and worth-capturing views, walking tours in Edinburgh cater to various interests. Whether you’re a history buff, a literature enthusiast, or simply seeking a stroll, this destination will be the right fit for all your interests.

In this article, we will tell you about the best walking tours in Edinburgh and provide you with its history.

The History of Edinburgh

The history of Edinburgh is a tapestry woven with tales of royalty, political intrigue, cultural advancements, and architectural marvels. That’s why it is important to know the history of this city to experience a premium journey overall. Here, you will get to know the super events of history that happened in Edinburgh from settlement to now:

  • Early Settlement and Foundation
  • Royal Connections and Development
  • The Union of the Crowns and Enlightenment
  • Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Industrialization and the Modern Era
  • Contemporary Edinburgh
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Early Settlement and Foundation

Edinburgh’s history dates back to the Early Middle Ages when it was settled atop Castle Rock. It was an ancient volcanic plug offering strategic advantages for the defense of the king’s kingdom. The city’s origins can be traced to the 7th century when it was referred to as “Din Eidyn.”

Royal Connections and Development

King David I granted Edinburgh its royal charter in the 12th century by establishing it as a market town. The construction of Edinburgh Castle in the 12th and 13th centuries solidified its importance as a royal residence. The city gradually expanded outside the castle walls and, by the 15th century, developed into a bustling medieval city.

The Union of the Crowns and Enlightenment

The 17th century was the age of prosperity due to James VI of Scotland’s ascension to the English throne. During the 18th century, the city witnessed the Scottish Enlightenment, a period of intellectual and scientific advancements worldwide. Personalities like David Hume and Adam Smith contributed to Edinburgh’s reputation as a center for philosophical and academic objectives.

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Architecture and Urban Planning

The city changed during the 18th and 19th centuries with the development of the New Town. Planned by architects like James Craig, featuring wide streets, elegant squares, and buildings that showcased Edinburgh’s cultural and architectural civilization.

Industrialization and the Modern Era

Industrialization brought further growth to Edinburgh, and by the 19th century, the city expanded beyond its historical boundaries. The Victorian era saw the construction of iconic landmarks such as the Scott Monument and the National Gallery of Scotland.

Contemporary Edinburgh

In recent times, Edinburgh has maintained its position as a cultural hub by hosting the famous Edinburgh Festival. It is a combination of a variety of arts festivals attracting performers and visitors from across the world.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Most Attractive Walking Tours in Edinburgh

Visitors who are going to Edinburgh must know the best walking tours in this city to experience true traveling. In this section, we have compiled a list of the best walking tours in Edinburgh:

  • Old Town Walking Tour
  • New Town Architecture Tour
  • Literary Pub Tour
  • Ghost Tour of Edinburgh
  • Food and Drink Tour
  • Harry Potter Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

Firstly, you should embark on a journey through Edinburgh’s medieval past with an Old Town walking tour. You may wander along the Royal Mile, a historic thoroughfare that connects the Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Explore narrow alleys and hidden courtyards while discovering iconic landmarks like St. Giles’ Cathedral and the imposing Edinburgh Castle. Experienced guides narrate captivating stories of the city’s dark history, mysterious legends, and notable characters, bringing Edinburgh’s past to life.

New Town Architecture Tour

Marvel at the elegant Georgian architecture of Edinburgh’s New Town on a guided tour focusing on its neoclassical buildings, wide streets, and grand squares. You are free to learn about the city’s 18th-century expansion and its role in the Enlightenment era of James VI. Discover impressive structures like Charlotte Square, designed by renowned architect Robert Adam, and Scott Monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. Moreover, you should gain insights into the architectural styles, urban planning, and historical significance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Literary Pub Tour

Edinburgh boasts a rich literary heritage, the birthplace of famous writers like Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and J.K. Rowling. A literary pub tour combines storytelling, history, and pub culture, guiding participants through the city’s atmospheric pubs while regaling them with tales of Scotland’s literary inspirations. Further, you should visit watering holes frequented by poets and writers and hear fascinating narratives and readings from their works. This will make for an entertaining and informative evening for visitors all over the world.

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Ghost Tour of Edinburgh

For those seeking a thrilling and spine-chilling experience, a ghost tour in Edinburgh is an excellent choice. Wonder around the city’s eerie closes as guides narrate haunting tales of paranormal encounters and historical events shrouded in mystery. Moreover, explore sites like Greyfriars Kirkyard, known for its ghostly sightings, and delve into the dark side of Edinburgh. These places are filled with tales of witch trials, murders, and restless spirits that will enhance your traveeling experience.

Food and Drink Tour

You may indulge in Edinburgh’s culinary delights on a food and drink tour, tasting traditional Scottish dishes, and artisanal treats. Stroll through markets, food stalls, and eateries, savoring haggis, Scotch whisky, and other delicacies while learning about their cultural significance. You must engage with local vendors and gain insights into Edinburgh’s culinary scene, blending history, gastronomy, and cultural immersion.

Harry Potter Tour

It is recommended that you should dive into the magical world of Harry Potter with a themed walking tour. This will reveal the inspirations behind J.K. Rowling‘s beloved series across the globe. Visit locations that influenced Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, such as the Elephant House Café, where Rowling wrote some of her early chapters. You must discover hidden gems and learn about the connections between Edinburgh and the enchanting universe of Harry Potter.

Final Verdict

Edinburgh’s walking tours cater to diverse interests, offering an amazing blend of history, culture, literature, and entertainment. Whether intrigued by the city’s medieval past, fascinated by its literary heritage, or simply eager to explore its culinary delights, these tours provide an immersive and memorable experience. Moreover, this is the reason visitors come to uncover the many layers of Edinburgh’s charm while traversing its enchanting streets.

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