Edinburgh’s 18th-century City Chambers were built over the sealed-off remains of Mary King’s Close, and the lower levels of this medieval Old Town alley have survived almost unchanged amid the foundations for 250 years. It can be a strange concept to understand – back in the 1600’s, The Mary King’s Close and neighbouring Closes were at the heart of Edinburgh’s busiest and most vibrant streets, open to the skies and bustling with traders selling their wares to the Old Town’s residents.

The Real Mary King’s Close is a warren of underground streets and spaces.

Real Mary King’s Close

Why would this street find itself underground 400 years later?

Now open to the public, this spooky, subterranean labyrinth gives a fascinating insight into the everyday life of 17th-century Edinburgh. Costumed characters lead tours through a 16th-century townhouse and the plague-stricken home of a 17th-century gravedigger.

Tours run every 15 minutes from 10 am throughout the year and prebooking is strongly recommended in advance for this popular attraction.

For years, the hidden closes of Old Town Edinburgh have been shrouded in myths and mysteries, with tales of ghosts and murders, and of plague victims being walled up and left to die. Research and archaeological evidence have revealed a much truer story, rooted in fact and – as is so often the case – more fascinating than any amount of fiction.

Looking to take a private tour during the day?

The scripted tour, complete with ghostly tales and gruesome tableaux, can seem a little naff, milking the scary and scatological aspects of the close’s history for all they’re worth. But there are many things of genuine things to see; there’s something about the crumbling 17th-century tenement room that makes the hairs rise on the back of your neck, with tufts of horsehair poking from the collapsing lath and plaster, the ghost of a pattern on the walls, and the ancient smell of stone and dust thick in your nostrils.

With a costumed character tour guide based on a one time resident, your group will explore this underground site, hear these fascinating stories

In one of the former bedrooms off the close, a psychic once claimed to have been approached by the ghost of a little girl called Annie. It’s hard to tell what’s more frightening – the story of the ghostly child, or the bizarre heap of tiny dolls and teddies left in a corner by sympathetic visitors.

Monday

10:00 - 17:00

Tuesday

10:00 - 17:00

Wednesday

10:00 - 17:00

Thursday

10:00 - 17:00

Friday

10:00 - 17:00

Saturday

10:00 - 17:00

Sunday

10:00 - 17:00

LANGUAGES SPOKEN

English, Spanish

ACCESSIBILITY

Hearing Loop, Accessible toilets

FEATURES

Gift Shop, Cafe & Restaurant

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