The 10 Best Sightseeing Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

October 15, 2021 Marissa Gamble

Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, renowned for its heritage, culture and festivals. Take a long walk around the centre to explore the World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and New Town, as well as all the area’s museums and galleries. Then stop for a delicious meal made from fresh Scottish produce before heading out to take in one of Edinburgh’s many events — including the famous summer festivals of culture, or the Winter Festivals of music, light and ceilidhs.
Restaurants in Edinburgh

1. Small-Group Photography Walking Tour of Edinburgh

St Giles' Cathedral, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RE, UK Iconic Tours
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5.0 based on 6 reviews

See Edinburgh like a local on a small-group walking and photography tour with a professional photographer who used to work for Lonely Planet. You will learn how to use your camera to get the best results. We explain everything in easy to understand language and make sure you get the photos you always wanted whilst we go to the popular spots in the city and get off the beaten path to take great photos. All the while you will learn about Edinburgh's history and some of it's more interesting characters as well.

Inclusions: Professional photographer guide

Exclusions: Gratuities, Food and drinks

Reviewed By FormanFive

We had such a wonderful day with Will, even with the rain! (He taught us the word "smirr" for a light rain, which I misheard as smurf rain, which I think amused him). We are a family of 5 expat Americans living in the UK, looking for a private tour during these times of Covid. He had hand sanitiser in the van and was appropriately masked up and social distanced throughout the day. Will took us to an excellent coffee shop to get us started (he has great recommendations for coffee shops in Edinburgh), then guided us through Stirling Castle. He had asked us what we hoped to see and do during the day in advance so he could plan the day out and he went out of his way to try to hunt down a Highland cow for us, despite the off season (most are tucked away in barns during the wet season). He was super flexible for when the kids got worn out at a place or the road was closed to a site. The best part was chatting about a tour we took to Stonehenge and he piped up, "Want to see some standing stones you can touch?" Not 5 minutes later he had driven us to an isolated farmers field where we got to touch these beautiful old stones, standing in the mist. He took us to a very tasty place for hot pies and chips for lunch and was great about letting us eat in the van while he took a walk in the rain, since Covid restrictions meant no eating in restaurants and the weather was not great. And he was great about pointing out when we could and could not take a bathroom break, so we didn't end up with any uncomfortable bladders. All in all, it was a great day thanks to Will's stories and enthusiasm. We wouldn't hesitate to use his services again one day.

2. Central Scotland Driving Tour - Stirlingshire (Private)

Monarch Tours
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5.0 based on 1 reviews

Discover whats beyond the city walls on your very own full day private tour of central Scotland in our Land Rover Discovery. See the castles, the lochs, the hills and even some of the filming locations that makes Scotland the stunning country it is today. All our tours can be personalised to your needs and be as action packed or relaxed as you want.

Inclusions: All guiding fees, All vehicle costs including parking (Parking at Midhope castle is not included), Hotel pickup and drop-off , Air-conditioned vehicle, Child Seats (must be pre-arranged), Land Rover Discovery for up to 6 adults, Bottled water

Exclusions: Bottled water is available in the car free of charge (all other food and drink is not included within the tour), Gratuities, Entry to the sites are not included (Castles, Distilleries etc)

Reviewed By janinaw574

we booked an online tour with Chris through Edinburgh. It was really fantastic, thank you! Chris is very knowledgeable and passionate about this beautiful city, it was almost like being there in person. Cannot recommend him enough.

3. Private 4 Hour Tour of Edinburgh in a Spacious 6-seater Mercedes

Edinburgh Cab Tours
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5.0 based on 28 reviews

Soak up the amazing sights of both the Old and New Town of Edinburgh in the comfort of a Mercedes 6-seat vehicle during this 4 hour tour. This private tour is perfect for the visitor who has limited time and who wants to see all of the major attractions. You will have time to get out, walk around and take photos and to learn about this beautiful medieval city from your guide. Or perhaps, you are a visitor who simply wants a shorter tour to orientate yourself to the layout of the city with hints and tips from your guide on the best places to visit, eat and shop in your own time. Here are just some of the places that you will be able to stop at on your tour: Edinburgh Castle Grassmarket Greyfriars Bobby Royal Mile St Giles Cathedral Mercat Cross Palace of Holyrood House Arthur's Seat Calton Hill Walter Scott Monument New Town Dean Village

Inclusions: Driver/guide, Live commentary on board, Local guide, All activities

Exclusions: Food and drinks, Gratuities

Reviewed By Anna P

We had a complicated itinerary coming to Scotland when moving our oldest over from the US to attend university here and having to do a mandatory two week quarantine upon arrival. There were many logistics and details that had to work out just right from our arrival with many bags to collecting us after quarantine and then picking up a special order of essentials at the local department store. We simply could not have done it without Andy. Starting with the original email correspondence, he was extremely professional, friendly and helpful and through it all he offered excellent communication and handled our few curveballs with grace and a great attitude. He's very knowledgeable about this great country and it's history and landscape and is such a great guy that we've invited him and his wife to come stay with us sometime in California. That's how much we trust and appreciate Andy and Edinburgh Cab Tours. Highly recommend for an airport transfer or better yet, a tour of the the city and beyond.

4. Private Edinburgh Local Beers, Pubs & Breweries Tour with a Local

72 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JR, UK Withlocals.com Private Tours in Edinburgh
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5.0 based on 1 reviews

Get ready for a unique Edinburgh experience and taste the best beers in town. Explore the city one gulp at a time and try out all of the locals’ favorites beers. Plus, get insights about the local breweries and the city’s beer culture. What can be better than that? Say "Slàinte" and kick-off your beer experience at a haunted pub located un an infamous historical area best known for its public executions. Try one of Stewart Brewing beers; your local host recommends, ‘Edinburgh Gold’ for a nice entry-level lager or ‘Radical Road’ for something a bit hoppier and more adventurous. If you are a big beer fan, Brewdog Cowgate is the place you need to go to. This innovative brewery created what it was once the world's strongest beer. Give its famous "Punk IPA" a try, or ask the staff for recommendations. The best part? Get useful tips from your local host about the best places to go out at night. From local bars to the newest party spots in town - it’s time to enjoy the vibrant nightlife!

Inclusions: Private tour, Pizza, Local guide, 5 alcoholic drinks: beer

Exclusions: Food and beverages not listed as inclusions, Hotel pick-up and drop off

Reviewed By 475alani

Evelyn is an absolutely fantastic tour guide. She really knows her city well and brings the myths and legends to life with her amazing stories. The whole family enjoyed the afternoon (despite the rain, which didn't really matter) and in fact it was the highlight of our weekend in Edinburgh. I would thoroughly recommend the myths and legends tour with Evelyn to anybody who is planning a visit to this really interesting city.

5. Private One Day Highlands Tour of Scotland

Highland Private Tours
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5.0 based on 18 reviews

Our one day Highland Tour has been created specifically for you to experience a flavour of our beautiful country.  With a wealth of hills, lochs, mountains, distilleries, castles and don’t forget the Highland Coos, we will showcase this all in any one of our unique trips.   Travelling in our Mercedes Vito Tourer, with luxury leather seat and easy access electric doors, our transport can take up to seven people per daily tour. You will have the opportunity to see and do so much more than what is listed in any tourist guide book and with our local knowledge of Scotland we can take you to all the amazing landmarks and hidden sights other tours don’t usually go.

Inclusions: Bottled water, Driver/guide, Hotel pickup, Hotel drop-off, Transport by private vehicle

Exclusions: Food and drinks, Lunch

Reviewed By Debbie G

Excellent tour by Rowan. He took our family of 5 to the Highlands from Edinburgh. His recommendations on sites to visit along the way kept the attention of adults and 2 teenagers. Very entertaining and fun adventure. He also dropped us off at a fabulous restaurant and gave us suggestions on what to order. Would highly recommend!

6. Self-guided Discovery Walk in Edinburgh: An Obscure Adventure

Statue of Frederick Duke of York and Albany on the Esplanade, Castlecliff Hotel, 25 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2NH, UK Secret City Trails in Edinburgh
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5.0 based on 1 reviews

Just one look at Edinburgh’s intriguing cityscape hints at all the secrets beneath… Are you curious to discover them? Follow in the footsteps of an enthusiastic history buff, Chris, and seek answers to location-based riddles he created. Wandering through obscure streets, you’ll find atmospheric gardens, intriguing statues and wicked delights along the way. Even long-time locals said they were surprised with hidden spots and stories they discovered on this self-guided walk! This playful walk across Edinburgh’s Old Town sharpens your senses and encourages you to appreciate the most wonderful – and often hidden – details around you. Whether you know Edinburgh or just start exploring here, this experience gives you a perspective on discovery that will inspire your curiosity wherever you go next. There are 12 fun location-based riddles to solve on this route. You can fully enjoy this experience of connecting with the city while staying in your own group.

Inclusions: A link to the web app game (received via email). The game is played in the browser of your phone.

Exclusions: Food and Drinks, Mobile data

7. Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Private Day Tour from Edinburgh

1 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4DR, UK Ed Private Tours
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5.0 based on 8 reviews

Travel deep into the Highlands of Scotland on our monster-sized day tour. You will hear the legendary stories of the Jacobites, get a chance to spot the mythical Loch Ness Monster, as well as get lost in the beauty of Glencoe. It’s a tour packed with bewildering beauty and its perfect for those who are short on time and want to experience Scotland as much as possible. Places you explore: Callander, Loch Ba, Three Waters - waterfall, Glencoe, Laggan Locks, Fort Augustus, Loch Ness, Laggan Dam, Dalwhinney Distillery. • Full-day small group tour from Edinburgh (maximum 4 passengers) • Personalised attention, private tour (no one apart from you and your family members, friends will attend this tour) • You have more free time for sightseeing compared to similar bus tours • Enjoy privileged, personalized attention from your driver/guide on this small group tour • Mercedes V Class • Please note that tours stops and timings are flexible and for reference purposes only

Inclusions: Driver as a guide, Bottled water

Exclusions: Gratuities, Food and drinks, unless specified, Admission fees

Reviewed By meghanc746

Ed was the perfect guide for a Girl's Day Trip. We had some extenuating circumstances on a previous tour earlier in the week that precluded us from completing it. We decided to try a private tour for the end of our trip and so glad we did. We had a few ideas of what we wanted to see and he was able to help us customize a day trip to see as many of those items as we could. He was a perfect tour guide and so patient and kind when we wanted to stop and look at various things and places (hairy cows and shopping!). We never felt rushed during our trip and he was also able to guide us through several castles so we go to see everything in our allotted time. Had we toured these places by ourselves I feel like we would have missed so much. We had a great time on our day trip and I would highly recommend Ed for a private tour of Scotland and the country side.

8. Virtual Old Edinburgh Tour

Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK Edinburgh Tour Guides
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5.0 based on 2 reviews

Enjoy a live Virtual Walking Tour of Edinburgh's Old Town with your own private tour guide. You may not be able to come to Edinburgh, so let us bring Edinburgh to you. We Walk though the Old Town exploring the Closes and Wynds as if you were actually there. You can chat and ask questions just as you would on a normal Walking Tour.

Inclusions: Private Virtual Tour of Edinburgh's Old Town with a Tour Guide

Exclusions: This is a Virtual Tour from the comfort of your own home.

Reviewed By scottfK1375OT

Good tour our guide Alexander coburn the hangman (Paul) was great and involved the kids who loved it

9. The Potter Trail Private Tour

Greyfriars Bobby Statue, Edinburgh Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 2QQ, UK The Potter Trail
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5.0 based on 165 reviews

Founded in 2012, we are the original Harry Potter tour in Edinburgh. Our guides have the most experience of any tour company in Edinburgh and we are consistently rated most highly by visitors across all platforms. Booking a private tour with us will ensure the ultimate experience for Harry Potter fans as you'll be able to take the tour at your own pace and ask as many questions as you like! All of guides are trained comic performers so we can guarantee they will captivate and entertain you as well as impress with their extensive knowledge. We are also happy to customise this tour to suit you! We take on lots of bookings for hen parties and school groups and our guides are skilled at catering the tour content for any audience. Edinburgh is as magical to us as it is to JK Rowling and we hope this passion will inspire you too!

Inclusions: Guide

Exclusions: Please bring something that you can use as a wand. This can be anything roughly wand shaped - a pen or umbrella will work well!

Reviewed By rebeccajT8303LU

Our family did a virtual tour and just loved it! Our guide, Gemma, was so engaging and knowledgeable. We enjoyed our time so very much. It was like a little escape while still at home.

10. The Mountebank Comedy Walk of Edinburgh

Monkey Barrel Comedy, 9-11 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR, UK The Mountebank Comedy Tour of Edinburgh
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5.0 based on 165 reviews

Edinburgh's hysterical, historical, and completely original Mountebank comedy walking tour is back and we are in desperate need of a laugh now more than ever! Come and laugh off the pandemic on the only tour of Edinburgh that is led by a local, professional, stand-up comedian guaranteed to make you laugh yourself silly! The aim is simple, to make you laugh a lot while you learn a little about Scotland's incredible capital. *Please note I sometime have to take my mega friendly dog Brahan aka 'The Bonnie Prince' on the tour, he is the softest dog in Scotland but if you have any issues with dogs please let me know "a star on the rise at the moment with material totally on the pulse, Daniel is one to watch". (Mumble Comedy) '5* best history show 2019 Fringe' (Herald) 'the best walking tour I've ever been on,' 'my face ached from laughing so much,' 'laugh riot humor and historical intrigue,' 'masterfully executed,' 'I'll never look at a unicorn the same way again' (guest reviews)

Inclusions: Guide

Exclusions: Gratuities

Reviewed By Bigtonylarok

Dan is an extremely witty guy, with excellent knowledge of the city. A brilliant way to spend a couple of hours . Dan gave us some excellent recommendations . Highly recommended

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