Today was like most others in Edinburgh. Sunny and snowing. In other words, beautiful and freezing. Maybe not the best day for a hike, not that it would stop me. If you are looking for something to do in Edinburgh that’s out of the cold and doesn’t take too long, Mary King’s Close is the perfect choice!
Located directly opposite of St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile, Mary King’s Close is easy to find. With tours every 15 minutes from 10 AM to 9 PM most of the year (click here for exact schedule), you can almost always find the time that you want. Just book in advance during the summer! Full price admission is £14.50, with discounts for seniors, students, children and families.
The tour is quite user-friendly. Guides speak English, Spanish and Italian, and there are audio-guides in French, German, Spanish and Italian, with Portuguese, Mandarin and Gaelic on the way. You can also show up for the tour right off the bus or plane with your luggage. Large lockers are available for you gear and extra layers you might be wearing, since the underground attraction can be considerably warmer than the outside temperature. Unfortunately there is no access for wheelchairs.
While Edinburgh is most known for its ghost tours, and this is an underground location, it’s not really about the ghosts here. Instead, you learn about 500 years of Scottish history and how a street could be “buried” while still preserved and accessible. Not many cities in the world have that!
I also had the pleasure of getting Paul as our tour guide. Perhaps the others are just as good, but he definitely added his own flair and humor into the tour. And as my group was relatively small, it made for a great experience. After all, it’s only an hour long, so you’re not losing the whole day. In fact, this is a great activity for after dinner or a day’s bus tour, since they are open after most other attractions have closed.
One word of advice – bring a little toy or stuffed animal with you. You’ll see why on the tour; I’m certainly not going to spoil the surprise!