Grassmarket

Situated below Edinburgh Castle, the Grassmarket area was not only used for trading throughout the centuries but also for public executions.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Edinburgh
St Giles’ Cathedral
St Giles’ Cathedral has been at the spiritual heart of Edinburgh for over 900 years.
George Heriot's School
An outstanding example of Scots Renaissance architecture, now known worldwide as a mecca for Harry Potter fans.
Greyfriars Kirkyard
For over five centuries, Greyfriars Kirkyard has been home to hauntings and wizards. Look out for McGonagall or something more spine-chilling, like one Tom Riddle.
Parliament Square
The historic hub of the Old Town of Edinburgh.
Elephant House
Go inside and sit at Rowling's favourite table!
George Heriot’s School / Hogwarts
Spot as many similarities as you can between George Heriot’s School and Hogwarts!

Related Tours

Secrets of the Royal Mile: Private 2.5-hour Walking Tour

Explore the cobbled alleyways of the Royal Mile, uncovering the culture and history of Edinburgh's Old Town in the heart of Scotland's historic capital. Take a walk down the mile-long street in the Old Town of Edinburgh, which connects Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. The name was given to the location in the 15th century when King James IV began a royal palace at the bottom of Castlehill and undertook large-scale rebuilding along the route.

On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy a walking tour of Edinburgh's old town with a private licensed guide;
  • Enjoy a breathtaking view from the Vennel Viewpoint, a great place to snap a picture of Edinburgh Castle;
  • Admire the Palace of Holyroodhouse and hear about political controversy outside the Scottish Parliament;
  • Pass by the historic John Knox House and hear about its history;
  • Walk along the iconic Royal Mile, and discuss the history of Edinburgh;
  • Walkthrough the City Chambers, place of the City of Edinburgh Council and its predecessors;
  • Walk by Victoria Street and see one of the most photographed locations in the city and hear about Harry Potter stories;
  • Visit St Giles Cathedral, founded in 1124 by King David I with its famed crown spire;
  • End your tour outside the entrance of Calton Hill, which you can climb up to explore at your own leisure.


This tour is the perfect introductory tour for anyone arriving in Edinburgh for the first time. On your tour, you will visit Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare running through Old Town, from Edinburgh Castle to the beautiful Palace of Holyrood House.

Be completely immersed in the rich Scottish history that is ever-present amongst the medieval labyrinth of cobblestone alleyways and tenements. Home to the fascinating St Giles Cathedral, Parliament Square and John Knox House, The Royal Mile is a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of secrets not to be missed.

Whilst exploring Old Town, one cannot help but notice Edinburgh Castle looming over the city. Your expert local guide will tell you about the fascinating history of this enigmatic fortress, including many of the bloody battles that took place here, such as the War of Independence between Scotland and England in the 14th Century, as well as its present-day use as headquarters for the Scottish Division.

Your tour finishes at Calton Hill, where we recommend you climb to explore the views at your own leisure.

Harry Potter in Edinburgh: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
On this fantastic Harry Potter-inspired walking tour of Edinburgh, you will visit some of the haunts where J. K. Rowling would sip coffee and put pen to paper writing the first Harry Potter books as her baby daughter slept in her pram. Learn about this extraordinary author, see the places she drew inspiration from, and purchase novelties from Potter-themed shops. 

On your private tour, you will:

  • Meet your tour guide outside the exclusive Balmoral Hotel, where J.K. Rowling finished writing the last book in the series, the Deathly Hallows;
  • Stop by Museum Context, aka Diagon House, a shop selling all things related to Harry Potter from wands to broomsticks to stuffed Hedwigs and Harry Potter T-shirts as well as a variety of other magical goodies;
  • Walk up to Edinburgh City Chambers to see J.K. Rowling’s handprints and signature;
  • Pause at the Heart of Midlothian mosaic where Edinburgh Old Town begins to hear how Edinburgh influenced the author - and the impact J. K. Rowling has had on the city; 
  • Pass by the Writers' Museum, where the first edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / Philosopher’s Stone that J.K. Rowling illustrated went on public display;
  • Explore the narrow curved and cobbled Victoria Street, Candlemaker Row, and West Bow in the central Grassmarket Area - believed by some to be an inspiration for Diagon Alley (a cobblestone shopping street with stores selling wizardly supplies) in the Harry Potter books;
  • Enjoy a famously delicious Scottish whisky ice cream on us! 
  • Visit the Greyfriars Kirkyard after your icecream break, where several of the most prominent names in the series seem to have originated, including Riddle, Moodie and McGonagall;
  • Admire the medieval gothic architecture and house names of Edinburgh’s George Heriot's School, does it remind you of… Hogwarts?;
  • Stop outside the McEwan Hall - the graduation venue for the University of Edinburgh, and where J.K. Rowling received her honorary degree;
  • End your magical tour outside the location where it all began, where Nicholson’s once stood - the cafe where J.K. Rowling famously wrote the first Harry Potter books! 

In December 1993, J.K. Rowling left Portugal and moved to Edinburgh with her baby daughter, and a suitcase containing the first three chapters of Harry Potter. Living on benefits as a single mother, she plotted out the whole 7 book series, creating the magical world of witches and wizards hidden from the Muggles. Finally, on 1st September 1998, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published.

The rest you might say is history…

Fast-forward a decade or two, and over 500 million copies have been sold, 8 films made, with an enormous and adoring fanbase that hasn’t diminished with time.

Your private tour of J.K Rowling’s Edinburgh began when she finished the Harry Potter series with the last book the Deathly Hallows, at the Balmoral Hotel.  

Your tour takes you through the parts of Edinburgh that may have inspired J.K. Rowling’s magical world - the cobblestone streets around the Grassmarket, evocative of a certain Diagon Alley. Stop outside Edinburgh City Chambers, where you’ll see J.K. Rowling’s handprints and the McEwan Hall, where she was awarded an honorary degree from the prestigious Edinburgh University. You’ll also wander through the eerie Greyfriars Kirkyard where Rowling may have picked up some of the more famous names in the books - you will see the real Tom Riddle’s grave! 

Your magical tour ends at the location where Nicolson's Cafe once stood (now under a new name and management). It was owned by her brother-in-law and is where she would pop in to write chapters of the first Harry Potter book while her baby daughter slept. It is where the magic all began!

Edinburgh's Haunted History: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Explore the haunted history of Edinburgh on this fascinating tour of Scotland's capital city's dark side, famous for its imposing and rather spooky Gothic architecture, local legends, and ghostly sightings. 

On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the atmospheric and dramatic storytelling of your expert guide;
  • Explore the haunted nooks and crannies, monuments, streets and cemeteries of Edinburgh;
  • Start your ghost tour at the Witchery on Castle Hill; 
  • Explore Edinburgh's historic Old Town - rife with stories of battles and bloodshed;
  • Learn of the hundreds of men and women who were burned at stake on Castle Hill for witchcraft over 200 years;
  • Stroll down the Royal Mile, deceptively innocent, it is rife with tales of tortured prisoners in the vaults beneath the streets, and ghostly sitings;
  • Walk through dark courtyards and mysterious alleyways, hearing chilling tales of executions, murder, torture, ghosts, and witchcraft in Edinburgh through the 16th and 17th centuries; 
  • Arrive at North Bridge, with a view to the majestic-looking hotel and former HQ of the Scotsman with many ghost stories;
  • Discover the picturesque Calton Hill, whose beautiful templed, romantic views and gothic cemetery disguise some chilling tales, from witch burnings to the mausoleum of David Hume; 
  • Explore the eerie Kirkyard Cemetery at Canongate, dating back to the 17th century;
  • Return to the Royal Mile and end outside Edinburgh's imposing castle, a fortress steeped in ghostly tales. 

Meet your passionate guide in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, outside the Witchery - an atmospheric restaurant named for the hundreds of people who were burned at the stake over a period of 200 years during the 1500s and 1600s.

Begin your tour walking down Castle Hill, above the haunted vaults of the city. Back in the 11th century when King Malcolm III first built the castle, conditions in these prisoners' vaults were dark and hellish... today the streets are rife with tales of ghostly hauntings, sitings, and the wailing of torture victims, long since dead... 

Living conditions in the rest of the city could also be dirty and filthy; crime was rife and punishments were swift, harsh, and violent, with many a thief ending his life at the gallows on the Grassmarket. Sometimes you can hear the creaking rope in the wind... 

Your fascinating Edinburgh ghost tour is an immersive, eerie experience that delves into the city’s most haunted nooks and crannies.  Hear tales of terror, explore local legends, and discover the historic scenes of butchery and bloodshed. Your private guide will lead you on a slow-paced stroll through Edinburgh’s ancient streets and hidden passages in the Old Town. 

You'll visit the picturesque Calton Hill, and discover the gory tales hidden beneath its peaceful facade, like the witch burnings and the restless ghosts that seek revenge. Visit the eerie cemetery that houses the mausoleum of philosopher David Hume - rumoured to have made a pact with the devil. 

And walk through the 17th-century Canongate kirkyard, where over 30 phantoms are said to reside.
Hear how the city of Edinburgh inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write his Gothic novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 

End back on the Royal Mile and the fortress-like Castle, whose own history is steeped in the history of bloody battles and betrayals! 

Please note: as this is a private tour, your guide will be able to make each story as eerie or as kid-friendly as you request to have the best experience for everyone.
The Best of Edinburgh in a London Taxi: Private Full-Day Tour

Uncover the highlights of Edinburgh with an insightful cabbie as your professional driver and guide who knows every corner of the city. Enjoy iconic landmarks and hidden treasures on this extensive sightseeing tour of Scotland's enchanting capital. 

On this private full-day driving tour, you will:

  • Explore the Historic Royal Mile, the city's oldest street, from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse where centuries of history and modern life intertwine;
  • Admire Edinburgh Castle from the vantage point of Castle Rock, this historic fortress provides stunning views and fascinating stories of royal intrigue and historic battles;
  • Discover the Palace of Holyroodhouse, pass by the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland, rich in royal history and tradition;
  • Capture scenic views from Calton Hill offering breathtaking panoramas of Edinburgh;
  • See the magnificent stained-glass windows from the outside of the High Kirk of Edinburgh, St Giles’ Cathedral, a prime example of gothic architecture;
  • Visit Greyfriars Graveyard and learn about the touching tale of Greyfriars Bobby, one of Scotland’s most beloved dogs;
  • Experience the vibrant Grassmarket a historic area, known for its unique boutiques, cafes, and pubs, all steeped in rich history;
  • Enjoy a scenic drive towards Arthur’s Seat and step up this ancient volcano for stunning views over Edinburgh and the surrounding area;
  • Explore the coastal Town of Leith and stroll along the vibrant waterfront of this historic port town, now a lively area with many restaurants and shops;
  • On the tour date, choose between Linlithgow Castle to see the ruins of the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots or marvel at the intricate carvings and mysterious symbols of Rosslyn Chapel before heading back to Edinburgh.

Immerse yourself in the charm of Edinburgh from the comfort of a classic London Taxi. Your driving tour includes stops at Edinburgh Castle, where ancient stones tell tales of royalty and conflict.

Your driver-guide, an expert in the city's history, will share captivating stories as you travel along the Royal Mile, a vibrant street where past and present blend seamlessly.

As you travel through the city, you'll encounter the grandeur of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the British monarch's official Scottish residence with a rich history. Explore Calton Hill, where neoclassical monuments stand guard over the city, offering perfect photo opportunities with Edinburgh as a stunning backdrop.

Be amazed by the elegance of Edinburgh's New Town, with its Georgian architecture and sophisticated charm. As you travel through this UNESCO World Heritage site, you'll see the beautifully preserved buildings of Princes Street, George Street, and Charlotte Square, showcasing the 18th-century's timeless beauty.

Throughout this journey, your classic London Taxi, with its confort and iconic style, provides the ideal vantage point to experience the allure of Edinburgh, ensuring a tour that is both enjoyable and informative.

Please note that during city events and festivals, the tour itinerary and timings may be subject to change. These adjustments are often necessary to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our guests, and to comply with local regulations and road closures. 

x

Guides

Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.

Partners

Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.