Private Royal Mile Tour

City Tour

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This tour is provided by

Historic Edinburgh Tours

Historic Edinburgh Tours was formed in 2013 with the intention of providing high-quality walking tours around the Old Town of Edinburgh. We research, write, plan and resource our tours ourselves and pride ourselves on a high degree of professionalism. Taking people around our home city is a great honour for us! It fills us with pride when people come from around the world to see Edinburgh!


  • 2 hours approx
  • Private Tour
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is quite possibly the most historic street in all of Scotland. With Edinburgh Castle at the top, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Holyrood Abbey at the bottom, the Royal Mile was the scene of many momentous events. Edinburgh was Scotland’s capital city for hundreds of years, and the Royal Mile her busiest and most important road. If it happened here, and was important, it often impacted upon the entire kingdom. Mary, Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert Burns, Deacon Brodie and many other famous and fascinating characters from Scotland’s history all feature on this exploration of the historic Royal Mile. Come with us as we walk through hundreds of years of Scotland’s history.


Meeting Point

In Front of Dynamic Earth

Walking Difficulty

Gradients and steps




Group size 1-4: £40

Group size 5-8: £60


Remember, your tour is a private tour – you can choose when it starts! We’ve also got some flexibility with distances and elevations on the tour. The Royal Mile is a gently sloping gradient and we start at the bottom on this tour. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss these alternatives. We want to give you a tour that’s interesting and accessible. In this Edinburgh walking tour, all your locations will take place along, or just off, Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. We’ve outlined all the story possibilities for your tour. We may not cover them all, it depends on where your interests lie. Remember, this is YOUR tour and we’ve got opportunities to accommodate the things you are interested in!
Story 1 – Dynamic Earth and an experiential tour lies ahead of us!
We start our Royal Mile exploration just off the ‘Mile itself. We wil meet in the forecourt of Dynamic Earth and this lets us take in some views of the magnificent Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags. This tour has it’s own hill to climb, but topography is important on this tour, and these hilly features are all linked together.
Story 2 – Murder at the Palace
Holyrood Abbey and the Palace of Holyroodhouse sit at the foot of the Royal Mile. We take you to the gates and tell you about one of the most infamous moments in the history of the Scotland.
Story 3 – The Watergate
Just before we cross the road we’ll have a quick opportunity to look at the area known as the ‘Watergate’. This was surprisingly important in the history of Edinburgh and played a really important role in the mid-1500s.
Story 4 – Heritage and History
The Canongate has some real ‘picture postcard’ scenes (trust us, we’ve got loads of postcards featuring places you’ll see on this tour). Bring a camera as we take you into White Horse Close for a wander back in time. This played a role in Edinburgh’s communication links and was utilised during the Jacobite Occupation of 1745.
Story 5 – It’s not all history!
We bring the story of Edinburgh up to date as we walk past the Scottish Parliament building. You’ll get a chance to see this cleverly designed structure and we’ll try to give you an unbiased account of the story of Scotland’s current politics. We’ll supply some facts and will try to avoid opinions!
Story 6 – Outlander tour anyone?
We’ve not yet seen all the Outlander series (I know, it’s shocking isn’t it?!) but we will take you to one of the most recognisable Edinburgh filming locations. We’ve also got some stories about how Bakehouse Close has developed over time and we’ll show you our favourite Old Edinburgh photo. It sends shivers up our spines!
Story 7 – A poet’s love and a murdered courtier (perhaps…)
The Canongate Kirkyard hides some famous links to Robert Burns and you’ll see a much disputed final resting place of someone we learned about earlier.
Story 8 – Moray House and an unfriendly wedding reception
Moray House was where Robert, your Edinburgh tour guide, went to university. He’ll share one of his favourite stories about the building and of a wedding party which made the most of the hanging of the Marquis of Montrose. It’s all fascinatingly distasteful!
Story 9 – Not-so-rich pickings
Deacon William Brodie is one of our favourite ‘Old Edinburgh’ characters. You’ll walk past the execution platform he died on (maybe…) but here we’ll take you to see the place of the burglary which led to his arrest and downfall.
Stories 10 – Welcome to Edinburgh!
So you thought you’d been in Edinburgh all this time? Well, yes and no! We started your tour in the Canongate, Now it’s part of Edinburgh, but for much of the city’s history it was a seperate town or ‘burgh’. We’d only really get into Edinburgh proper when we pass through the long-lost Netherbow Port. We’ll let you see how this would have looked and share with you the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s ‘attack’ on Edinburgh in 1745.
Story 11 – History and happenings on the High Street
We’re now into the heart of Old Edinburgh. We’ll find out about the John Knox House, one of the prettiest buildings in Edinburgh and we’ll move up past the Tron Kirk on our way to the Mercat Cross, the focal point for royal proclamations, business meetings and executions. We’ll pass numerous wee closes on our way up and we’ll visit the one that you think has the most interesting story. Edinburgh’s business life happened on the Royal Mile, her social life happened in the tenements and taverns in the closes.
Story 12 – Where next? Well, it’s your private Edinburgh walking tour – you pick!
This is your Edinburgh private tour and we’re now in the bustling centre of the Old Town. Robert, your local Edinburgh guide, doesn’t work from a set script. He’s got a great knowledge of the history of this area and will tailor the next couple of stops to the areas you wish to see, or the stories you wish to hear. We can continue up the Royal Mile and learn about the infamous Tolbooth Prison, possibly finishing your tour by going down the West Bow and into the Grassmarket (a great finale as there’s some great wee stories to be told here…and more than a few nice little pubs to visit after your tour!) We can take you to the site of one of the most significant murders in Scottish history or we can finish your tour in Greyfriars Kirkyard, near to the Museum of Scotland. It’s your tour and we’ll work to what suits you the best. We LOVE having the flexibility of these private Edinburgh guided tours!
We’ve gone into some detail with these notes, but the full stories are even more fascinating. This tour holds an average five-star rating and we think that the Royal Mile walk is the most scenic of our walking tours of Edinburgh.