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Terrifying Trips to Experience in Edinburgh

4 August 2021

The bustling capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is a hub for arts and culture, a mesmerising city known for its beautiful antiquated architecture.

However, Auld Reekie also has a much more sinister side that is less spoken of. This place has been the setting of many grim stories throughout its long history, and this has made it a hotspot for ghost sightings and supernatural activity.

So, whether you’re looking for a scare or you want to learn more about this city’s dark past, we’ve compiled a list of things to do in Edinburgh to fill your visit with memories that will haunt you forever!

Ghost Tours

Because it is so steeped in history, Edinburgh is one of the best places to go on a ghost tour. For those brave enough to follow, these tours will guide you through the city’s winding streets and down its dark alleyways in search of stories and spirits.

A ghost tour in Edinburgh will take you to some of its most haunted spots, such as Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. This creepy graveyard has been used for over 500 years, and there have been many who claim to have experienced strong poltergeist activity there.

You’ll also be taken to places of grisly historic significance, such as the Grassmarket where many criminals and alleged witches were hanged, and the dingy Edinburgh vaults where killers and scoundrels would lurk, as well as bodysnatchers who would store corpses there.

Depending on what you’re in the mood for, there are many ghost tours to be found around the city, including free ghost walks and tours from onboard a ghost bus. If you’re feeling particularly brave, many of these tours also happen at night, when ghostly activity is at its strongest.

The Edinburgh Dungeon

In this terrifying walk through Edinburgh’s grim history, you’ll meet the most disturbing and gruesome figures who lived there throughout the past millennia.

The dungeon is a terrifying labyrinth. As you make your way through, you’ll get lost in gloomy vaults, go on a boat ride over cannibal-infested waters, and scream as you face the drop on a rollercoaster modelled after the Grassmarket gallows.

If you’re unlucky, you’ll end up in the Cannibal’s Cave where the ravenous Sawney Bean family are said to lurk, or you might even stumble upon the infamous serial killers' Burke and Hare, who sold the many bodies they “acquired” to local medical schools for dissection.

The Edinburgh Dungeon is one of the most fun, thrilling and frightening experiences in the whole city. With ghosts and witches prowling this place, your main concern shouldn’t be whether or not you’re going to go, but whether or not you’re going to get out!

The Real Mary King's Close

Travel to the dark, decrepit depths beneath Edinburgh to reveal the remains of real streets that were built over and forgotten about. Also known as Edinburgh’s underground city or the city of the dead, Mary King's Close is a chilling and unforgettable place with an unpleasant history surrounded by sickness and death.

One of the Close’s own residents will give you a tour through their unsettling home. You might be guided by Agnes Chambers the unassuming maid, who has gossip about a terrible murder that happened on her street, or Joannes Paulitus the plague doctor, who witnessed residents of the Close being walled up and left to die. These creepy characters from another time lived through unimaginably horrible events, and they’ll make sure you know just how disturbing their lives really were.

The Close is also the home of Annie and her doll. Annie is an infamous ghost, the spirit of a little girl who most likely lived in the Close. To bring her comfort, a doll was left for Annie in a specific room where her presence was most strongly felt. The doll remained there for many decades, and was gradually joined by many others. Now, this 17th-century room has become a strange sort of shrine to the girl’s spirit, with a towering mountain of creepy dolls in the corner that has been collecting for over 30 years.

A tour around these decrepit, cavernous streets is a must for those interested in Edinburgh’s horrible history or who want to see its most supernatural spots up close.

Edinburgh Castle

Standing high above the city is the legendary Edinburgh Castle, an impressive building with a long and bloody history. Whether you want to know more about Scotland’s grim past or you’re interested in the paranormal, visiting this castle is essential.

Edinburgh Castle has been tested in many wars and has been the final destination for countless prisoners - being the site of so much death has led to it becoming one of the most haunted places in all of Britain.

Its dungeons are said to be crawling with the restless spirits of prisoners who died there, and there are even tales of a headless drummer marching its grounds. Sightings of this gruesome drummer have been recorded since the 17th-century when it was said to herald the coming attack of Oliver Cromwell. Ever since, people have heard his ghostly drumming from the castle’s ramparts, and have come to believe that the terrible sound signals the arrival of danger.

After experiencing some of the terrifying trips Edinburgh has to offer, we’re sure you’ll be left chilled to the bone. You’ll never forget your time there - no matter how much you may want to!