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Edinburgh’s Old Town Highlights

The Origin of Scottish Design

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A self-guided walking audio tour in the atmospheric Old Town of Edinburgh.

You will explore the fascinating historical buildings that give the area its character, and admire award-winning contemporary architecture like the famous Scottish Parliament.

On this tour, you’ll meander through narrow closes, beneath stepped gables and turrets, pausing at breathtaking viewpoints. The narrator will also show you the easy-to-miss details on the buildings, and share old maps and drawings as you walk Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile.

Edinburgh’s Old Town Highlights

The Origin of Scottish Design

“Whether you are new to Edinburgh, or already know the city, you will get a huge amount from it.”

Map of Edinburgh Old Town audio tour
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Highlights

Rosalind, Dunbar
It was fascinating to learn about all the influences on Edinburgh’s architecture, from brochs and baronial castles to Le Corbusier. My friend and I are both local but without much knowledge of architecture, so the tour of the Old Town shed new light on familiar places. Entertaining and informative - would highly recommend.
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Elisabeth, Newcastle
Even though I have been to Edinburgh several times and know a bit about the architecture and urban planning there, I saw the city in a new light through the excellent commentary and images.
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Glenn, London
The tour explained the historical context of how Edinburgh was developed, showed us examples of the Scottish Baronial style as well as a sample of high quality contemporary buildings and pointed out architectural features. It was a great way to be introduced to Edinburgh.
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Ben, Lancaster
Had an amazing time discovering all the hidden secrets of Edinburgh's architecture on the Old Town walk. We could have happily carried on all day.
Worth every penny for architecture lovers, and even those with a vague interest (like myself!).
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Andrew, Melbourne
This walking tour was a good survey of all the elements of Scottish architecture and the significant buildings explaining the story and history of the city. I felt like I learned on this tour and understood the layout of the city better. Do this earlier in your trip and it will help you get around for the rest of your stay.
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William, Texas
I am a retired city planner and enjoyed the background of the old and new Edinburgh. I got to see back alleys and closes and learned the history of efforts to save the old town from destruction. Things I would never have noticed!
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Margaret, Sydney
The tour really improved my understanding of the higgledy piggledy Old Town, and made subsequent explorations of this non grid town very easy. Lots of hidden courtyards and alleyways.
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How audio tours work

When you purchase directly from us, you donate £1 from every tour to the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings.

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More about the audio tour in Edinburgh Old Town

Along the way, we will answer questions like:

  • Is the Old Town really that old?
  • Which medieval Scottish castles inspired Victorian buildings in Edinburgh?
  • Why did construction of the Scottish Parliament go ten times over budget?

The Old Town is the most popular attraction in Edinburgh. It contains the oldest buildings in the city and is steeped in fascinating and complex history. Hence, one can truly feel the medieval spirit of the burgh on the walking tour amongst the countless turrets and gables.

Royal Burgh of Edinburgh

Established as a royal burgh in 1125, Edinburgh has developed from a fortress into a market town of half-timbered houses. However, these were later superseded by less fire prone stone buildings, some of which have survived since 15th century.

The tall tenements grew in height and density as a result of enclosing the city with defensive walls. 

The hidden castles

This Edinburgh Old Town tour will start on the Mound, with a jaw-dropping sight of the dense Old town tenements perched on the slopes of the Royal Mile. We will walk through the elegant serpentine Cockburn street, under the multitude of crow stepped gables and turrets. Here, we will learn how the political alliances influenced Scottish Baronial architecture.  

Royal Mile and its closes

While on the Royal Mile, your audio guide will narrate the story of the city’s landmark and the oldest building on the street – St Giles Cathedral. Around the corner, you will discover the national museum inspired by Corbusian geometries and Iron Age Pictish structures. 

Canongate and Scottish Parliament

Next, to seek out the oldest remaining tenements and houses, you will explore a sequence of atmospheric alleys, courtyards and terraces.

The walk will take you down the Royal Mile into Canongate, previously a separate burgh built up with nobles’ mansions, where we will admire some elegant contemporary student housing. 

At last, you will savour the story of the controversial postmodern Arts & Crafts building – the Scottish Parliament.

book-4

More about the audio tour in Edinburgh Old Town

Along the way, we will answer questions like:

  • Is the Old Town really that old?
  • Which medieval Scottish castles inspired Victorian buildings in Edinburgh?
  • Why did construction of the Scottish Parliament go ten times over budget?

The Old Town is the most popular attraction in Edinburgh. It contains the oldest buildings in the city and is steeped in fascinating and complex history. Hence, one can truly feel the medieval spirit of the burgh on the walking tour amongst the countless turrets and gables.

Royal Burgh of Edinburgh

Established as a royal burgh in 1125, Edinburgh has developed from a fortress into a market town of half-timbered houses. However, these were later superseded by less fire prone stone buildings, some of which have survived since 15th century.

The tall tenements grew in height and density as a result of enclosing the city with defensive walls. 

The hidden castles

This Edinburgh Old Town tour will start on the Mound, with a jaw-dropping sight of the dense Old town tenements perched on the slopes of the Royal Mile. We will walk through the elegant serpentine Cockburn street, under the multitude of crow stepped gables and turrets. Here, we will learn how the political alliances influenced Scottish Baronial architecture.  

Royal Mile and its closes

While on the Royal Mile, your audio guide will narrate the story of the city’s landmark and the oldest building on the street – St Giles Cathedral. Around the corner, you will discover the national museum inspired by Corbusian geometries and Iron Age Pictish structures. 

Canongate and Scottish Parliament

Next, to seek out the oldest remaining tenements and houses, you will explore a sequence of atmospheric alleys, courtyards and terraces.

The walk will take you down the Royal Mile into Canongate, previously a separate burgh built up with nobles’ mansions, where we will admire some elegant contemporary student housing. 

At last, you will savour the story of the controversial postmodern Arts & Crafts building – the Scottish Parliament.

loupe-3

Frequently asked questions

Once purchased, Edinburgh audio tours are not refundable. However, your ticket will be valid indefinitely, so you can take the tour at any date, gift it to someone else, or enjoy a virtual tour.

Absolutely, if you are curious about cities and culture, an architecture tour will reveal lots of insights about Edinburgh. 

The audio tour is available in English. Guided tours for private groups are also available in French.

Yes, except Dean Village where the audio tour passes through a cemetery. 

On most audio tours of Edinburgh, we climb from 20 to a 100 steps. Our flattest walking audio tour is in the New Town.

Yes, but for the optimal experience and understanding of the content we recommend following a preset order. 

After you paid for the tour, you will receive an activation code by email, along with detailed instructions.

To go out and do the tour, all you need is a free audio tour VoiceMap app for iPhones and Android devices. Install it on your smartphone via Apple AppStore or Google Play’s store.

Yes, we offer private walking tours guided by a local architect, for groups of up to 30 people. 

loupe-3

Frequently asked questions

Once purchased, Edinburgh audio tours are not refundable. However, your ticket will be valid indefinitely, so you can take the tour at any date, gift it to someone else, or enjoy a virtual tour.

Absolutely, if you are curious about cities and culture, an architecture tour will reveal lots of insights about Edinburgh. 

The audio tour is available in English. Guided tours for private groups are also available in French.

Yes, except Dean Village where the audio tour passes through a cemetery. 

On most audio tours of Edinburgh, we climb from 20 to a 100 steps. Our flattest walking audio tour is in the New Town.

Yes, but for the optimal experience and understanding of the content we recommend following a preset order. 

After you paid for the tour, you will receive an activation code by email, along with detailed instructions.

To go out and do the tour, all you need is a free audio tour VoiceMap app for iPhones and Android devices. Install it on your smartphone via Apple AppStore or Google Play’s store.

Yes, we offer private walking tours guided by a local architect, for groups of up to 30 people.