walking tours of Edinburgh

the old town

Your own personal, private, walking tour into the heart of the Old Town. This tour with an Royal Mile Tour EdinburghEdinburgh guide will introduce you to the old city giving an overview and orientation of the main sights including the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, Gladstone’s Land, the Writer’s Museum (Lady Stair’s House), Greyfriars' graveyard, St. Giles Cathedral, Parliament Hall, John Knox’s House, the Trinity Kirk, The Huntly House Museum of Edinburgh, the Scottish Parliament, and Holyrood Palace and Abbey, as well as opening your imagination to the medieval city of old Edinburgh with its throngs of people, its characters, over-crowded buildings and closes (narrow alleys). Why not complete the walk with a drink at one of the many old town pubs such as the Halfway House? (recommended time: 3 hours)

the new town

a stand alone or a continuation of the first tour, this tour encapsulates the grandeur and splendour New Town Private Walking Tour Edinburghof 18th century Georgian Edinburgh including Calton Hill, Princes Street, Princes Street Gardens, the National Galleries at the Mound, George Street, and Charlotte Square, and includes an overview of the city in the ‘Enlightenment’ and ‘Romantic’ periods, periods that saw such illustrious New Town residents as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and David Hume. A fitting culmination of this tour can be a drink at a new town pub such as Rebus’ Oxford Bar, the Café Royal with its marble floor, brass foot-rails and Royal Doulton tiled murals, or the Guildford Arms with its respectable selection of real ales. (recommended time: 3 hours)

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, for one to six people, are from: £37.50 per hour with the number of hours being agreed before the tour.

Dean Village and Stockbridge along the Water of Leith

Edinburgh has a superb natural waterway that wends its way through some of the lesser-known parts of the city, and on this fascinating bucolic walking tour you can see nature, cultural and Water of Leith Guided Tour industrial history all entwined. Starting at Roseburn, or, for a shorter walk starting at the Gallery of Modern Art, we walk to Dean Village, a settlement which grew from medieval times based on the industry of its water mills. Once a major route into Edinburgh, Dean Village was bypassed in Victorian times by Telford's Dean Bridge to become a hidden village in a gorge (dene) of the Water of Leith. The village gives a great example of 17th century architecture in 15 Bell's Brae, the building of the Baxters (bakers) Guild, and of late Victorian social housing at Well Court with its attractive clock tower. We saunter along paths criss-crossing the water, by the weirs and stopping at St. Bernard's Well with its Vestal structure and statue of the Greek goddess Hygieia (the goddess of health) to the self-contained neighbourhood of Stockbridge with its interesting bookshops and cafes (3 hours).

And to Leith...

This tour can be extended by continuing down the Water of Leith, taking in many aspects of northern Edinburgh and a great cross-section of the city, including pathways utilising disused Water of Leith Guided Tour railway lines and eerie graveyards, to reach the Port of Leith. Leith was formerly Scotland's premier port for trade with the Low Countries (the Netherlands and Belgium) and the Baltic. It has obvious Dutch/ Flemish influences and is now a thriving area of bars and restaurants, as well as being the ultimate berth for the Queen's last yacht, Britannia (recommended time for extended tour: 4-5 hours including the bus back to Edinburgh from Leith).


Small Group Walking Tours (new!)

Specific Walking Tours of Edinburgh now available through an offshoot of Serenity Scotland: 'A Walk in Edinburgh.' Click here.Local Walks in Edinburgh Group sizes are small (6-12 maximum generally), to suit the guide's style and in being sensitive to the local people of the areas in which the tours take place. Walks take generally from one to three hours and are up to 4 miles in length at their longest (with one exception – the Seven Hills of Edinburgh walk – which is a whole day and a 15 mile demanding hike!)


Scotland tour at its best

Edinburgh B&Bs and Guest Houses

My first recommendation for accommodation in Edinburgh is with Ross Birnie at 23 Mayfield. I have worked successfully with Ross for seven years. With easy access by foot and bus to the Old and New Towns, this restored Victorian villa is very comfortable, with imaginative and locally sourced breakfasts, and Ross Birnie as the friendly owner and most welcoming host.

Another great guest house on the edge of the New Town is Sharon and Norrie's Ramsays Guest House. This combines comfort and attention to detail in a convenient location and at an affordable price.

For an Edinburgh hotel I recommend highly the Apex Waterloo Place, in the New Town but still close to the Old Town


My wife and I recently participated in one of Iain's Historical Edinburgh tours and we found our tour experience to be fabulously informative, interesting, and beneficial. Our tour with Iain was certainly one of the highlights of our entire trip as it provided us with such a great perspective, insight, and overview to ...much of Edinburgh - especially given our limited time visiting. If our travels should bring us to Edinburgh again we will certainly be in touch with Iain and Serenity Scotland to participate in another great tour, and we highly recommend Iain and Serenity Scotland to anyone. . - Brad and Melanie Pierce, Chicago August 2010

a city muse...

As simmer rains bring simmer flow’rs, And leaves to cleed the birken bow’rs, Sae beauty gets, by caller show’rs, Sae rich a bloom

As for estate, or heavy dow’rs Aft stands in room.

What makes Auld Reikie’s dames sae fair? It canna be the halesome air, But caller burn beyond compare, The best of ony, That gars them a’ sic graces skair, And blink sae bonny.

On May-day in a fairy ring, We’ve seen them round St Anthon’s spring, Frae grass the caller dew draps wring, To weet their een, And water clear as crystal spring, To synd them clean.

O may they still pursue the way To look sae feat, sae clean, sae gay! Then shall their beauties glance like May, And, like her, be

The goddess of the vocal spray, The Muse, and me.

an extract from 'Caller Water' Robert Fergusson 1773 (''caller' is Scots for fresh)