Five ways to take a walking tour during the Edinburgh Festival 2013
From artist-led wanders to midnight meanders, the city has a tour to suit you
This article is from 2013.
1 Explore every close and cobble
Get to know Edinburgh through a blend of history and storytelling on Saints & Sinners’ Tale of Two Towns tour, offering a look under the skirts of both the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. Or let the local Festival Guides familiarise you with Edinburgh’s most famous street on their Free History Walking Tour of the Royal Mile, which has been covering every stone since 1947.
2 Get a breath of fresh air
Artist Stuart McAdam – prone to a nomadic life – leads you along the railway tracks in his Lines Lost tour, a slow-travel-as-art project. Meanwhile, the horticulturally inclined can escape the stuffy theatres on one of Greenyonder’s garden tours, including a peek into a private green space or two. Choose your own poison (ivy): New Town or Royal Mile.
3 Meet some spooky new pals
Brave souls can meet Edinburgh’s many spectral citizens on the Haunted Graveyard Tour, a wend through Greyfriars Graveyard and the Covenanters’ Prison that finishes in the homey-sounding Black Mausoleum – lair of the Mackenzie Poltergeist. On gloomy nights, head down into the Real Mary King’s Close, a buried 16th-century neighbourhood, to hear ‘sinister tales of plague and pestilence’ on their late night Dark Truth Tours.
4 Feed your inner bookworm
Actor and historian Colin Brown leads Rebus Tours' Hidden Edinburgh tour of the sites featured in Ian Rankin’s Rebus books. Expect readings from the novels, including an exclusive from the next instalment (out in November). It’s not just for fans, mind: there’s a bagful of local surprises too.
5 Remap the city
Think you know Edinburgh inside out? Think again: for their Tourists-in-Residence excursions as part of the Art Festival, artists Tom Nolan and Catherine Payton have devised three walks intended to transform the city through the re-imagination of its spaces. ‘We’ll be walking straight past most of the regular calling points,’ they say, and ‘if there’s one thing it’s unlikely to be, [it’s] factually reliable.’
Tours start from various locations and at various times throughout the festival; contact organisers for details.