Mary King's Close is a historic close located under buildings on the Royal Mile, in the historic Old Town area of Edinburgh, Scotland. It took its name from one Mary King, a merchant burgess who resided on the Close in the 17th century. The close was partially demolished and buried due to the building of the Royal Exchange in the 18th century, and later closed to the public for many years. The area became shrouded in myths and urban legends; tales of hauntings and murders abounded.
Mary King's Close has had a reputation for hauntings since at least the 17th century, with several paranormal investigations taking place. It has been pointed out that this particular Close ran the nearest of any to the old Nor Loch, a stagnant and highly polluted marsh; biogas escaping into the close and creating eerie lights may have been the cause for these rumours of spirit hauntings. It is also said that the gas escaping into the closes was known to cause hallucinations.
|Monday||9:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
|Tuesday||9:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
|Wednesday||9:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
|Thursday||9:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
|Friday||9:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
|Saturday||9:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
|Sunday||9:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
Lyndsey Miles | Feb 13, 2018
A mixed experience. I felt the tour would have benefited from an initial overview at the start - it seemed to assume existing knowledge about the fact that it was a medieval residential street that had been built over. I had no idea how it had been preserved/restored. Our guide, Bill, was funny but was a little tricky to understand at times. The best bits were the rooms with dummies and gory anecdotes about murder, the plague and the unhygienic conditions. The steep close itself was quite impressive. Some areas are now out of bounds due to health and safety. In all, it seemed like a fairly small amount of content for the ticket price, but with some memorable elements.
Marin Reaksecker | Jan 3, 2018
Really cool history. Some parts were a bit cheesy and could use some updating. But if you have a good imagination then that shouldn't bother you. Worth every penny and would definitely do it again. However, if you don't like tight spaces this may not be the place for you. Some spaces were pretty narrow. Though for the most part the tour was open and easy to navigate.
Sharlyne Simpkin | Feb 13, 2018
Just underwelmed by the tourist guide I had for my second visit. The first visit was incredible. Had a great amount of historical information that was so worth hearing and thought I would have the same experience the second time. I was very wrong, the guide gave very little historical information and seemed quite bored with his job. They did allow my friend to take her own picture, which really is not allowed. It felt like a rushed tour and would not recommend it to anyone after that experience. Hope they amp up their game a bit. May have just been an off day for the tour.
Catherine Feerick | Feb 25, 2018
I registered for the tour on a whim, and it was one of the coolest things I've done in Edinburgh. Our tour guide (Katie) was knowledgeable and a great showman to boot, so the entire experience was highly enjoyable. Definitely recommend seeing this scrupulously researched yet entirely approachable introduction to a rare, preserved pocket of 17th century Edinburgh.
wetbehind theears | Jan 7, 2018
Fantastic guide and highly recommend. Ernest was our tour guide for the 7pm Friday night tour and he was excellent. Very well informed, happy to answer any additional questions anyone had, very entertaining and yet informative, lively, great at making people feel at ease and creating a welcoming atmosphere. The history of the closes was all very interesting but don't go expecting scares as it's mainly focused in the real history of the sight. Highly recommended.
Kashlee Kucheran | Mar 11, 2018
Very entertaining and fun way to learn the history of Edinburgh. Our guide/actor was very interactive and the entire tour was quite interesting! You are taken through what a 'close' would have looked like in the past, from the poorest of people right up to the elite status. There are many character stories to help tell tales from old town Edinburgh. Please note: You are NOT allowed to take pictures or film while you are on the tour. I wished I had looked that up as I did this tour to get content/photos for my blog. They DO take a photo of you that you can purchase afterwards, but it wasn't the kind of candid content I was looking for. Otherwise super interesting for anyone who enjoys history!! Glad we did it! Adults are 15.50 pounds, hours change depending on season so be sure to check the website. Tours last 1 hour and they do have handheld translators for anyone who doesn't speak English. There is a gift shop at the end for pictures, souvenirs and even a cafe.
Jatania Mota | Apr 1, 2018
No pictures or videos allowed. The tour was pretty good. Tom was great very funny and information. There were children on our tour so he made it fun for them too. We purchase our magnets and keyrings with our photo that was taken at the gift shop for 5 pounds each. Tour was an hour so I would suggest comfortable foot wear.
Gavin Wilson | Apr 6, 2018
Just love walking along closes. There is something special in doing so. Call it nostalgia, or atmospheric., but meandering through a close to discover a stone carving, or interesting name. Perhaps discovering some famous lived there, or someone notable but you've never heard of so you research them. I also enjoy thinkihg about the unknown people who tine has forgotten who lived or visited there. In looking at my family history, I enjoy discovering places they lived and sometimes it was a close like this. I think they are a largely overlooked place of interest. This close has plenty to discover.
wunnus | Apr 22, 2018
I have no idea what this was about. The guide spent most of his time putting us in order round the rooms. The plague bit worked but most of the rooms were not clear. The recorded ghost story was hard to hear. Much of the info was about general history. How the building above was supported would have been interesting. Making an appeal for donations to a charity before the tour finished was unique. I was not clear if all the concrete lined chambers were important to the story
Jeff Dixon | Apr 24, 2018
Very interesting tour well presented and evocative. I had to laugh when a young girls was heard to ask her father "Daddy, was this what it was like when you were a little boy?" The father was very quick to explain that he was only 31 but the damage was done, some of us were nearly on the floor in stitches. The staff act the parts well and your guide will reveal many interesting secrets during the one and a half hours or so that you will spend here. It isn't cheap but then there seem to be a lot of people involved in the tour. Perhaps it was like that when My dad was a boy?
Mowley Chris | Apr 21, 2018
We were met by a very inspirational ghost guide called "Rosa". We learned a lot about the ghost of the man who had a orange for a head! I didn't know how famous this man was in the Edinburgh area. This truly is the best ghost tour ever in the existence of ghost tours. In fact it is so inspiring that I am now off to "vital home essentials" to buy a kit that they supply so that I too can become a ghost.....
Chris MacLean | Apr 18, 2018
A fun informative tour from our guide, John. Wee bit on the expensive side if you’re bringing a group, but still worth it. Great way to spend an hour and get some local history with a bit of theatrics from guides in period costume. Be sure to reserve in advance as spots fill up quickly.
Paul S | Jun 6, 2018
Loved this place, no photography but the best underground tours in Edinburgh we saw, and we did the vaults too. If you had to choose this is the one to go with. We had Katy as the guide and she was brilliant. You get to walk down the remains of the original close and see inside preserved buildings and hear of how people lived 300 years ago. The comprehensive narrative was excellent and was the best tour we did in Edinburgh.
Leroy Brown | May 7, 2018
Loved checking out the old areas under the city. Our guide was full of amazing facts and obviously very passionate about the history of the place. Definitely worth paying the bit extra to get the real deal. All historically correct and still super interesting. Anyone who has spent time building or renovating will especially enjoy the story of plaster work in the townhouse. 😊
Nicola Stretch | Jun 4, 2018
Amazing place - we had a great guide (very charismatic and entertaining). Fascinating tour of how life would have been and the conditions people would have endured. Me, my hubby and 2 children (8 & 9 yrs) thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Thank you!
Paul Dinsdale | Jul 13, 2018
Very well organised and run attraction. The guides were enthusiastic, well informed and lively. Mary Kings Close is only a small part of The whole experience and gave interesting facts and stories. A little but shorter than I'd thought and I'd really have liked to gave seen more as it was fascinating. Would be great if they could open up some more of the 'lesser' courts. Really enjoyed it.
Jolandi Hanekom | Jul 13, 2018
Loved it! Definitely for all ages! Time schedule outside was not that accurate so we had to go back at 10:00 in the morning. Worth the money and learned a lot. Amazing to walk in real history with everything still there. At the end of the tour they take a photo of you and friend(s) in Mary King's Close where you can purchase it at the end if you'd like. There is a small gift shop and coffee shop at the end.
Jason Harlow | Jun 30, 2018
A good history of Edinburgh city development and living conditions. Tour guide was knowledgeable and fun. Tour moved a bit slowly (1hr) and was mostly in rooms adjacent to the close. Props were old and dusty. Photos were not allowed and a one time photo-op cost additional £. Would recommend only for historical info. Would not go again.
Richard Varn | Jul 5, 2018
The attraction is situated below ground, underneath a current government building! As such, no photos allowed. The tours were fun, but didn't emphasis a cheesy role-play from the 1600's, which was refreshing. The history sealed up in the basement was simply amazing - seeing how the building we're constructed, and seeing actual people's situations was a great experience, and not something you can read out of a book.
John Angus | Aug 14, 2018
If you want to find out how the other half of Edinburgh lived back in the day you must visit this attraction Its dark, it's gloomy but I had a cracking time and the staff played their parts to perfection. It seems strange to say in view the suffering those people went through, but I was really well entertained. This is a must see attraction for all of the family, except under 5's who are not allowed in. This is Not an attraction which is in anyway suitable for wheelchair users due to the numerous stairs and very dim lighting. Open daily with the first tour starting at 9am and lasting for an hour. Good cafe with reasonable prices and the usual facilities 😊.
Etienne Jenelten | Jul 25, 2018
Pretty Touristic and a bit cheesy at the end of the Tour with the Photo. But hey the success and bookings give you the answer. Nonetheless it was pretty interesting and we had a nice young maid who showed us around. There is some little girl named Anny haunting down there which is happy if you bring her a toy. I'm around 6'4" but except of the doorways i could move and Stand quite well.
Shayna Devlin | Jul 29, 2018
This is an excellent tour of what life in late Medieval/Early Modern Edinburgh would have been like. The tour is full of excellent information and the guides are well informed and knowledgeable. It can be a little creepy since the whole tour is underground in the dark, but it is not a ghost tour. Their tours fill up fast especially at the height of tourists season in the summer so they recommend you book ahead. It is well worth your time to take the tour.
travis bluemling | Jul 30, 2018
I'm so glad we decided to book this tour. It really put Edinburgh into perspective and made me appreciate the city that much more! The tour underneath the city was fascinating and very informative. We had Rosa as a guide and she was fantastic! She wasn't over the top nor was she bland...she was a great storyteller and always happy to answer questions. I would definitely recommend this tour (and Rosa) for future friends of mine visiting the city.
Arlene Clemena | Jul 28, 2018
Interesting to take a peek into the lives of Scots of the past. Was a bit confused with the underground housing vs being at street level etc. Was recommended this tour by my uber driver. I was able to get a ticket for about 2 hours later without a reservation prior. Tour lasts one hour. A bit dark to see but fine for kids. There where three elementary aged boys in my group who did great.
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