7 Best Edinburgh Ghost Tours (Underground Vaults, Graveyards & Mysteries)

Are you looking to get spooked out in Edinburgh?

Scotland’s beautiful capital Edinburgh is a city full of history, fascinating sights and sounds.

Think cobblestoned streets, a majestic castle, a charming Old Town, an elegant New Town, plenty of festivals, all things Harry Potter, and tons of haunted spots!

Whether or not you’re a believer in the world of the paranormal, Edinburgh is sure to give your nerves a run for their money.

So brave up and check out these spooky ghost tours.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1/ Underground Vaults

Edinburgh’s infamous underground vaults are without a doubt one of the most haunted places in the city.

Edinburgh was growing in the late 18th century and two bridges, namely the North Bridge and the South Bridge were built in 1788 to help with the expansion.

The underground vaults are chambers which form the arches of the South Bridge.

In total, there are about 120 vaults below the South Bridge.

They initially served as storage space for different businesses for over 30 years before severe leakage led them to be abandoned.

Over time, the vaults developed into a home for the poor, a red light district and a hotspot for criminal activities like robbery and murder.

Living conditions were deplorable and legend has it that serial killers William Burke and William Hare hunted for victims here and even used the vaults to store corpses sometimes!

With such a dark history attached to its name, there are bound to be a few spirits lurking around.

Hear all the grisly tales and have a close encounter of the supernatural kind on one of the following special underground vault tours.

Edinburgh Famous Underground Ghost Tour

This 75-minute early evening walking tour is the perfect way to experience Edinburgh’s dark side.

Join an enthusiastic guide dressed in period costume as he takes you through some of Edinburgh’s creepiest spots.

Your tour starts at Old Town where you will explore sites like St Giles Cathedral and the Parliament House. You will then continue on to the famously spooky Greyfriars Kirkyard where you will hear petrifying tales of poltergeists, serial killers, and bodysnatchers.

Finally, you will end your evening in the underground vaults which although have been abandoned a long time ago still have a few residents of the paranormal kind!

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Afternoon Underground Ghost Tour in Edinburgh

If you’re not brave enough to explore the underground vaults once the sun goes down, try this afternoon underground ghost tour instead.

Hear all about Scotland’s rich history and grisly stories as you walk through the Old Town and end your tour in the underground vaults. You will be accompanied by a “deceased” ghost guide in period costume.

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Royal Edinburgh History Experience and Ghostly Underground Vaults History Tour

If you’re looking to maximize your time in Edinburgh, try this tour that offers a combination of two must-visit spots at a discounted price.

You will start with a 90-minute walking tour of the historic Old Town, learn all about Edinburgh’s royal history as you walk along the famous Royal Mile and Canongate, and admire the grand Palace of Holyroodhouse and other historical sights.

This will be followed by a spine-tingling tour of the famous underground vaults. From royal history to ghastly tales of torture, murder, and body snatching, this tour has it all!

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Edinburgh Night Walking Including Underground Vaults

There’s nothing like exploring the dark side of Edinburgh when it’s actually dark outside. This night tour will take you through narrow streets, alleyways, and sites of documented hauntings while you hear grim tales from Edinburgh’s past as told by a knowledgeable guide.

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2/ Ghost Bus

Go back in time and prepare to be scared silly on this 1-hour ghost bus tour around Edinburgh’s most haunted sites in a vintage double-decker bus with a creepy (but hilarious) onboard conductor.

Visit Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh Castle, and the Royal Mile.

Hear tales of shocking executions, torture, and more and discover the dark side of the city.

You will board the vintage bus in Edinburgh Old Town and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.

Listen up close as your entertaining conductor tells you all kinds of stories about Scotland’s infamous murders, tortures, and hangings.

Learn about Burke and Hare’s body snatching stories and the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Pass by Greyfriars Kirk and try to spot a wandering spirit, then drive by the Grassmarket and learn all about its bloody history as an execution site.

This tour promises a bumpy ride!

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3/ Real Mary King’s Close

You can’t leave Edinburgh without visiting the real Mary King’s Close in the Old Town.

This close got its name from a merchant burgess of the same name who lived here in the 17th century.

It was once one of the busiest streets in 17th-Century Edinburgh.

So what led to it being demolished, buried and closed for many years before being reopened as an attraction for visitors?

Was it the many hauntings that this place is known for?

Come and find out for yourself.

These 1-hour tours run every day, depart every 15 minutes and are conducted by a costumed character tour guide.

The maximum tour capacity is 20 people, so you’re sure to have an intimate experience.

End your visit with a stop in the Royal Exchange Coffee House and enjoy some warm soup or some tea and a scone.

You can even buy a couple of unique souvenirs to take home with you.

Don’t miss out on all the fun!

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4/ Edinburgh Dungeon

With two underground rides and 11 incredible live shows, the Edinburgh Dungeon is where all the action is at!

Founded in 2000 by Vardon Attractions, the Edinburgh Dungeon features walkthrough theatrical shows that will take you on a journey through 500 years of Edinburgh’s history.

Think amazing actors, special effects, 360-degree theatrical sets, laughter, and loads of scary fun!

There are different shows that you can enjoy including The Courtroom, Witch Hunt, The Torturer, The Boat Ride, Sawney Bean, The Anatomy Theatre, Burke and Hare, Street of Sorrows, The Green Lady, Maggie Dickson, Drop Dead: Drop Ride, and the Labyrinth.       

The shows are based on real historical events from the Clan Wars, to the Great Fire, and even the Anatomy Theatre.

Guests are encouraged to participate in all shows.

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5/ Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard is located at the southern edge of the Old Town and has seen burials since the late 16th Century.

With a number of famous residents buried here and a dark past, Greyfriars Kirkyard is said to be one of the most haunted spots in Edinburgh!

One of Greyfriars’ most well-known resident ghosts is George MacKenzie also called the MacKenzie Poltergeist.

He was a ruthless persecutor of the Scottish Covenanters back in the day and still continues to be the most active and aggressive ghost around.

The Covenanters’ Prison which is connected to the cemetery once housed around 1200 prisoners of which only 257 came out alive because of the deplorable conditions!

Needless to say, you can still feel the presence of some very unhappy souls.

But it’s not all ghosts and gore here at Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Bobby, the famous Skye terrier is also buried right here.

Legend has it that this loyal dog guarded his master’s grave for 14 long years before he himself passed away.

You can also check out his beautiful statue opposite the graveyard’s gate.

If that isn’t a special story, we don’t know what is!

Haunted Vaults and Graveyard Walking Tour in Edinburgh

This tour starts at Greyfriars Kirkyard where a guide will enlighten you about its dark history, followed by a walk to the haunted underground vaults of Niddry Street. Keep a lookout for lurkers of the paranormal kind and do remember to wear sturdy shoes! This tour is not suitable for those under 16 and for the faint of heart.

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City of the Dead Haunted Graveyard Tour

This 80-minute tour combines history, humour, and horror to give you an unforgettable experience. You will start at the “Tree of the Dead” outside St Giles Cathedral, continue on to the closes before entering Greyfriars and finally finishing off inside the Covenantor’s Prison. Considered to be the world’s first concentration camp, this is where most visitors seem to have an encounter with the infamous “Mackenzie Poltergeist”.

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6/ Edinburgh Castle

The majestic Edinburgh Castle is a must-visit while you’re in Scotland’s capital.

Dating back to the 12th century, this castle has served as a royal residence, was used as military barracks and has seen plenty of wars as well as the Jacobite rising of 1745.

With a record of 26 sieges in 1100 years, the Edinburgh Castle is known as “the most besieged place in Great Britain”.

Visit the oldest building in Edinburgh (St Margaret’s Chapel), the Royal Palace, the Great Hall, the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish National War Memorial, the National War Museum of Scotland and hear macabre tales of its past!

Ghost and Gore Walking Tour of Edinburgh

This 1.5-hour tour is guaranteed to scare the living daylights out of you!

Start your tour at the Royal Mile and meet the ghost of long-dead Mr Clapperton, Edinburgh’s old cemetery director. Go back in time and hear chilling tales of torture and witchcraft.

Explore the passageways under the Castle and learn all about its dark history and notorious departed souls including Mad Monk of the Cowgate, Agnes Fynnie, Rhuari McLeod, or even young Jimmy Tamson who used to bury the dead when Edinburgh was plagued by the Black Death.

Keep your eyes open, you never know which of these famous ex-residents may end up making an appearance while you’re there!

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7/ Old Town

The Old Town of Edinburgh is absolutely captivating with its cobbled streets, narrow alleyways, charming shops, bars, and restaurants.

You can literally spend hours exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site exploring Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, St. Giles’ Cathedral, Holyrood Palace, the Scottish Parliament and more.

Walk in the footsteps of kings and queens, armies, murderers, and prisoners!

While it’s beautiful in the day, things get a little dark once the sun goes down and some of its past residents come out to play.

Explore the magic of Old Town with one of these wonderful tours.

Murder and Mystery Walking Tour of Edinburgh

Put on your detective hats and take a trip back in time on this award winning walking tour which covers tales of witchcraft, plague, torture, and bloody murder!

Visit the actual sites where these horrific events occurred and if you’re lucky, you may even have a supernatural experience!

Your guide is the famous Adam Lyal who was executed in Grassmarket back in 1811. Stay close to your loved ones.

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Ghost and Torture Tour in Edinburgh

Here’s another tour that promises a grim but entertaining look at Edinburgh’s grisly past.

Learn all about the city’s unsavoury characters, what the Tolbooth prison was like, what happened when it was hit with the Black Death and much more.

This tour includes a walk to the underground vaults as well as a visit to the Museum of Torture which includes some rather interesting artefacts from the Nurumberg and Bamburg castles in Germany.

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Edinburgh Darkside Walking Tour: Mysteries, Murder and Legends

This 2-hour walking tour is the perfect way to explore the dark legends that plague Edinburgh. Meet your guide on the Royal Mile and continue through Old Town to explore the Old Calton Burial Ground or the Canongate Kirkyard cemetery all while listening to ghastly stories of witches, vampires, murderers, cannibals and more! The tour ends with a visit to a local pub where you can drink some beer or whiskey to calm your nerves (own expense).

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Edinburgh Ghost Tour Deals & Packages

If you’re thinking of visiting multiple attractions, we recommend choosing a combination tour like these to save some money.

Edinburgh Real Fear Ghost Tour: Old Town, Cemetery, and Underground Vaults

This 75-minute ghost tour will take you through the Old Town, Greyfriars Kirkyard, as well as the underground vaults. 

What makes it extra special are the guides. You may find yourself with Dr Robert Knox (an unethical 18th-Century surgeon), Cassandra Bean (a cannibal), or even Thomas Weir who was a satanic guardsman.

If you love scary stories, don’t think twice about joining this tour!

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Edinburgh Old Town Evening Tour

This two-hour will take you to the dark closes and wynds of Edinburgh, the Blair Street Underground and will give you the chills! When you’re done with these spots, your guide will take you to the cavern at Megget’s where you can sip some Scotch whiskey in candlelight and listen to more stories!

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Edinburgh is the perfect destination for those seeking paranormal excitement.

So book yourself on as many of these tours as possible and keep your eyes and ears open.

You never know who you might bump into!

More Ghost Tours

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