Edinburgh Tours and Trips

Make the most of your Edinburgh break with these trips and tours

Touring Edinburgh itself

Scots could not have made Edinburgh more suitable for trips and tours even if they tried. Famous European travel destinations might compete with Edinburgh in terms of attractions but few, if any, could compete with its tourist-friendly layout.

Taking a tour of Edinburgh itself is incredibly easy because most places of interest are in the heart of the city. The attractions that are not, are minutes away from the City Centre. It is very easy to walk around Edinburgh and car travel is unnecessary.

Begin your short break by taking a bus tour of Edinburgh's highlights on the first day of your trip. Use the tour as a preview guide to what Edinburgh has to offer and then just do your own walking to explore this fascinating city.

There are a variety of tours you can take around Edinburgh with a variety of price tags. You can take open-top hop on and off buses or travel by regular bus to places of interest, tour the city by bike or take a private guide to escort you around Edinburgh's historic centre.

Taking trips from Edinburgh

The city's excellent transport infrastructure and location on Scotland's map means you can take any number of day trips or longer tours from Edinburgh to places in East Lothian, Midlothian and Central Scotland or even further afield to the Scottish Borders, Fife or as far as the Highlands and Islands.

You can put together your own trip and travel by public coaches, buses and trains, go with an organised tour company by minibus or hire a car and a private guide for a more personalized trip.

What tours are available in Edinburgh

Many of the tours available in Edinburgh are tailored by interest. Some of the most popular include:

  • Ghost walks exploring some of Edinburgh's legends and myths, horrific stories of body snatchers and executions and visiting graveyards at night.
  • History tours exploring ancient buildings, churches and wells and uncovering Edinburgh's Celtic and early Christian history.
  • Architecture tours exploring Edinburgh's architectural variety from the medieval buildings of the Old Town to the Victorian and Georgian precision and symmetry of the New Town to modern time architecture and galleries.
  • Literary tours that celebrate Scotland's most famous literary figures Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns through romantic theatrical performances or literary tours. Famous Edinburgh stories like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Deacon Brodie are presented in a dramatised and witty fashion by professional actors the at a pint in the city's taverns.
  • Pubs of Edinburgh tour also known as the pub crawl takes you through some of Edinburgh's finest taverns.
  • Cycling tours of Edinburgh by rented bike or with a guide.

What to consider before taking an organised Edinburgh tour

The main advantage of an escorted group tour of Edinburgh is the guide. While the history of the places you visit is usually included in a written city guide, few will include local legends, folklore and anecdotes.

The Scots are great story tellers and the guides are usually very knowledgeable and will no doubt include in your tour some interesting places or stories about Edinburgh that only locals know about.

The downside of organised Edinburgh tours is the fact that you're tied to the group and the guide. At times you might want to dwell on sites of interest or take more pictures on particular occasions.

Once you realise that transport and distance are not an issue in Edinburgh, you can make the most of your short break in the city. Consider taking walking tours at your own leisure to explore the sights and things of historical interest literally at every step.

A good alternative to the tours organised by local companies is arming yourself with an excellent guide book and jumping on a coach or bus to places nearby.

Mingle with the locals and forget you are a tourist. Scots make you feel welcome wherever you go and you won't ever feel the need to take a group trip or tour to better explore Edinburgh and beyond.

For detailed information about Edinburgh tours and trips and how to make the most of your city break, see the links on the left hand side of the page.

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