Ghosts and ghouls, vampires and cannibals - Edinburgh's dark history with Brian Pendreigh

Duration: 2h
Languages: English
Guru: Brian
Quality Verified Registered on October 11, 2023

A bit of history, a bit of trivia and a wee dash of stand-up. Born and bred in Edinburgh, I worked as a staff reporter, feature writer and cinema editor on The Scotsman for 17 years and subsequently wrote regularly for the Guardian and London Times. I have written and edited several books, including The Times on Cinema and On Location - The Film Fan's Guide to Britain and Ireland.

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  • Free booking and cancellation
    Free payment tour, no set price, booking and cancellation are free
  • Accepts electronic payment
    This tour allows payment by electronic means or credit card

Tour description

Do you believe in ghosts? Some do, some don't.
Do you believe in witches and witchcraft? Maybe yes, maybe no.
But it is a fact that thousands of people were executed for witchcraft in Scotland, the vast majority of them women.
We are going to walk back in history to a time when everyone believed in ghosts and witches and believed in the Devil as a physical entity. 

We will visit  former workplace and I will tell you about the resident ghost and the spirits that can be found in the basement. 
We will visit Edinburgh's creepy old prison and the neighbouring burial grounds, where you will hear about grave robbers and vampirism.

We will look out over the city at night and hear of a couple in league with the Devil.

And you will hear how a visit to an Edinburgh cemetery inspired what is perhaps the most famous ghost story of all. 
We will finish at Holyrood Palace and the new Scottish Parliament building, with a tale of dark deeds involving cannibalism, a ghost, politicians and even one of my own ancestors. 


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What will we visit on this tour?

  • Meeting point:
    High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RF, UK
    High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RF, UK
    View on map

    Meet at the Mercat Cross monument, between St Giles Cathedral and Caffe Nero. It is directly opposite the City Chambers and has a unicorn on top. I will have a large umbrella.

  • 1
    Outside visit
    Market Cross
  • 2
    Outside visit
    Old Calton Cemetery
  • 3
    Outside visit
    Calton Hill
  • 4
    Outside visit
    New Calton Burial Ground
  • 5
    Outside visit
    Holyrood Palace
  • 6
    Outside visit
    Scottish Parliament Building

How much does this tour cost?

Free tours do not have a set price, instead, each person gives the guru at the end of the tour the amount that he or she considers appropriate (these usually range from €10 to $50 depending on satisfaction with the tour).

Tour opinions

25 ratings
By category
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1 star
Meghan 06 Jun 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2024
Brian was a great, welcoming, and entertaining guide and had many interesting and spooky stories about Edinburgh to tell. The tour was interesting and took us to parts of the city we hadn't visited yet. It was a great experience!
Daniel 29 May 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2024
Spannende Tour mit vielen Interessante Informationen. Gerne wieder :)
Aastha 23 May 2024
Newcastle upon Tyne

Verified booking
Travelled in couple - May 2024
Very friendly, knowledgable man, born and brought up in Edinburgh. He shared some dark history of the city and it was very fascinating. We walked from one corner to the other of the Royal Mile, covering graveyards and other important places linked to the dark history of Edinburgh. Recommend this🤩
Ben 14 May 2024

Verified booking
Travelled in group - May 2024
Brian gave an excellent tour! He shared interesting information and is a wealth of knowledge!
Simona 09 May 2024

The tour was great! Full of memorable stories. The route also let us cover the streets we missed so it was a great addition to our stay. Recommend!
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Who is this tour for?

Non suitable for people with reduced mobility.
Does not accept large group reservations.
Suitable for carrying pets.

What should you know?

Minimum of attendees
A minimum of 5 people is required for the tour.
Additional costs:
The tour does not require the payment of entrance fees or additional expenses.
Free cancellation
If you will not be able to attend the tour, please cancel your booking, otherwise the guide will be waiting for you.
Payment methods
Electronic or credit card payment is accepted.
When do you want to go?
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