Tours and Tickets

Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk provided by Mercat Tours

Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk

Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk
4.5
Book in advance
from
$26.61
per adult
Reserve now & pay later: Save your spot free of charge with flexible booking.
94% of travelers recommend this experience
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
Free cancellation
Not sure? You can cancel this reservation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Tour snapshot
Visit vaults only accessible with a guide on an Edinburgh Old Town walking tour 
Duration:
1h 15m
Taking Covid-19 safety measures
Group size:
18
Service animals allowed
Ticket type:
Mobile
Free cancellation
About
No visit to Edinburgh is complete without descending to the South Bridge Vaults, home to more than 300 years of history. Escape the city’s icy winds on a historical walking tour of Edinburgh Old Town, both above and below ground. Explore excavated tunnels only accessible with a guide, and listen to commentary that brings the former residences to life. Choose between two different departure times, and upgrade to include a special souvenir.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 1h 15m
  • Mobile tickets accepted
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Available languages
English
Highlights
  • An atmospheric experience suitable for adults and kids alike 
  • Let your guide bring 300 years of history to life
  • Choose between two different departure times for your convenience 
  • Upgrade to include a special souvenir to take home with you
What to expect
Your tour begins at a designated meeting point in Edinburgh Old Town. Greet your guide and receive an overview of Edinburgh’s rich history. After two stops above ground, descend to South Bridge Vaults and explore the tunnels by candlelight. Learn about how the vaults came into fruition and listen to spine-chilling tales of death, disease, and body snatching by the infamous Burke and Hare. Plus, see relics abandoned by the former residents of the vaults. The tour concludes in the Discovery Room. Here you can gain access to exhibits containing further information on the South Bridge Vaults.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 1h 15m
  • Mobile tickets accepted
Available languages
English
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Highlights
  • An atmospheric experience suitable for adults and kids alike 
  • Let your guide bring 300 years of history to life
  • Choose between two different departure times for your convenience 
  • Upgrade to include a special souvenir to take home with you
What to expect
Your tour begins at a designated meeting point in Edinburgh Old Town. Greet your guide and receive an overview of Edinburgh’s rich history. After two stops above ground, descend to South Bridge Vaults and explore the tunnels by candlelight. Learn about how the vaults came into fruition and listen to spine-chilling tales of death, disease, and body snatching by the infamous Burke and Hare. Plus, see relics abandoned by the former residents of the vaults. The tour concludes in the Discovery Room. Here you can gain access to exhibits containing further information on the South Bridge Vaults.
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 293404VAULTS
Important information
Inclusions
  • Small group experience
  • Award-winning local storytellers
  • TourTalk radio receiver to enjoy immersive storytelling at safe distance
  • Exclusive access to Blair Street Underground Vaults
Duration
1h 15m
Departure details
  • Mercat Cross, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RF, UK Mercat Cross, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RF. Look for the 8 sided monument with white Unicorn on top. You will find a member of our visitor services team waiting here to check you in. They will be dressed in black, holding an iPad, wearing an orange lanyard & holding a black & orange umbrella.
  • 28 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR, UK Mercat Tours, 28 Blair Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR. This tour ends after a visit to our Blair Street Underground Vaults.
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children over 5yrs only
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Tours are guaranteed all year round, so please dress for the weather, with comfortable shoes.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 18 travelers
Inclusions
  • Small group experience
  • Award-winning local storytellers
  • TourTalk radio receiver to enjoy immersive storytelling at safe distance
  • Exclusive access to Blair Street Underground Vaults
Departure details
  • Mercat Cross, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RF, UK Mercat Cross, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RF. Look for the 8 sided monument with white Unicorn on top. You will find a member of our visitor services team waiting here to check you in. They will be dressed in black, holding an iPad, wearing an orange lanyard & holding a black & orange umbrella.
  • 28 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR, UK Mercat Tours, 28 Blair Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR. This tour ends after a visit to our Blair Street Underground Vaults.
Duration
1h 15m
Return details
  • 28 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR, UK Mercat Tours, 28 Blair Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR. This tour ends after a visit to our Blair Street Underground Vaults.
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children over 5yrs only
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Tours are guaranteed all year round, so please dress for the weather, with comfortable shoes.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 18 travelers
Travel safe during COVID-19
Last updated: Aug 14, 2021
A note from Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk
You will be part of a small group (max 18) and we'll provide "Tour Talk" radio sets to make social distancing easier. Please bring your own face masks and earphones (disposable earphones can be provided).
What you can expect during your visit
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
What you can expect during your visit
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Itinerary
  • You'll start at
    Mercat Cross
    High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RF, UK
    Mercat Cross, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RF. Look for the 8 sided monument with white Unicorn on top. You will find a member of our visitor services team waiting here to check you in. They will be dressed in black, holding an iPad, wearing an orange lanyard & holding a black & orange umbrella.
    See address & details
  • 1
    Mercat Tours
    Stop: 45 minutes
    See details
  • 2
    Mercat Cross
    Stop: 15 minutes
    See details
  • 3
    Royal Mile
    Stop: 10 minutes
    See details
    Pass by
    Edinburgh Old Town
  • You'll end at
    28 Blair St
    28 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR, UK
    Mercat Tours, 28 Blair Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR. This tour ends after a visit to our Blair Street Underground Vaults.
    See address & details
+
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
488 reviews
Excellent
392
Very good
70
Average
13
Poor
8
Terrible
5

FrankH
3 contributions
Mar 2022
Charles guided us along the Royal Mile pointing out and explaining various interesting features of the City. He gently shepherded us to the South Bridge, through the Mercat premises and down into the vaults or arches which formed the South Bridge.

Throughout the tour Charles demonstrated his knowledge and professionalism and spoke clearly and fluidly.

Evidently there are more than one underground tour as I was expecting the one with houses and shops however, I wasn't disappointed by this tour.

There was 8 of us and another 6 or 8 people, so all in all quite a small group.

There were 2 americans on our tour and at the end I overheard them ask if there was somewhere they could leave a gratuity to which Charles kindly replied "There is no need, so long as you enjoyed it", which I think we all did.
Written March 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Frank, Thank you for taking the time to leave such a thorough review! It sounds like Charles did a spectacular job and I'm sure he'll be very glad to hear how much you enjoyed his tour. A very kind gesture by the other visitors. Glad you enjoyed seeing the Blair Street Underground Vaults too. All the best, Kim
Written March 14, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Danielle P
1 contribution
Jun 2022 • Couples
Tour was absolutely fantastic, very informative and incredibly interesting. Fred was a fabulous tour guide, she was funny and obviously very passionate about the history of Edinburgh. I would highly recommend this tour for anyone interested in the history and would love to do more of their tours on our next visit to the city!
Written June 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Danielle, Wow! Thank you for the wonderful review and I'm so glad we could earn your recommendation. It sounds like our Storyteller Fred did an incredible job of introducing you to Edinburgh's history and she'll be very happy to hear your kind words. We hope to see you again in the future! Remember to show your past booking confirmation to redeem your £2 returner's discount. All the best, Kim
Written June 6, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tina N
3 contributions
Apr 2022
My friends and I had a very enjoyable underground vaults tour with Linda. She is really good at telling stories related to the Mercat square and the underground vaults. I personally found a bit scary the vaults however I would do this tour all over again and I totally recommend it to everyone interested in historical facts and paranormal activity.
Written April 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Tinan, Thanks for visiting the Blair Street Underground Vaults with us! I'm so glad to hear that you all enjoyed the experience. It sounds like Linda did a brilliant job and I'll pass on your kind words. Sorry to hear you found it a bit scary. All the best and thank you very much for giving us your recommendation. - Kim
Written April 22, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Antonio
Cork, Ireland1 contribution
Jun 2022
Just a few set of storage rooms. That's what they are!!

The tour could be done in way less time or be part of a walking tour in the city. Making people spend +1h and 20 pounds to listen similar things (what people would store/do in those places) and visiting similar vaults (super dark, uneven floors and lit for a single candle by the tour guide) was not an enjoyable experience.

Definitely not worth the price and you can visit similar vaults for FREE in some places through the city with good ventilation and light.
Written June 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Antonio, Thanks for joining us on tour! However, I'm surprised by some of the things you say in your review. - There are multiple candles around the vaults, on the walls, and at the entrance to each room. Not only one held by the guide as you've stated. - The vaults are not 'just storage rooms' as you state, but a key part of Edinburgh's history that's centuries old. On the history tour you took, we do of course talk about what people did there over that time. That's part of the history and one of the main reasons people choose to do the history tour. - There are no free tours of the vaults and as all vaults are a part of the South Bridge and are historic sites, all sets of vaults have slightly uneven floors. This is also stated on the accessibility page of our website. All the best and thanks again for joining us, Kim
Written June 15, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

IndepTraveller08
West Midlands106 contributions
Sep 2021
We joined this Underground Vault walking tour (04/09/21 @ 4pm) because we read the positive reviews and saw the interesting photos of the vaults posted on TA website. Also we had enjoyed our last Mercat walking tour (Edinburgh Royal Mile+Castle).

This tour duration is advertised for 1 hr 15min. We were a party of three and we had been to the Mary Kings Close tour many years ago, so we expected the highlight of the underground vaults would be visiting labyrinths and checking out vaults. It was disappointing that we stayed underground for about 30min visiting only 2 vaults with only a skeleton displayed in one of the ‘cells’.

Website photos show the vaults should be relatively well lit (ground level and along the walls). We expect the cobblestone floor would be uneven. But it was so dark underground that we couldn’t even see the next step ahead. Negotiating the uneven steps/stairs is a health and safety risk as it was so dark. On many occasions, I was tempted to use my iPhone as a torch but was worried that if I had dropped the phone by accident, it would be impossible to find it in the dark.

There were about 15 people (mostly adults) in the tour group. Our tour guide was hardly engaging. It was uncomfortable standing in the dark on uneven ground inside the vaults listening to her monologue. She did not encourage questions from the group, and any little response my husband/I had dared to utter in the vault was met with her very stern reaction. It was not enjoyable, not what we had expected and certainly very different from William - our guide on the Royal Mile walking tour. If this tour guide had carried a torch, she could have used it to point out things around the vault eg any visible markings on the walls or props that could be made more visible. She could have encouraged more audience response.

We did not pay the full rate for this tour due to discounts for returning visitors. Even with our reductions, we feel that we have been short changed in this instance. To be honest, if this lady was our guide at the Royal Mile + castle walking tour, we would not have bothered booking a second Mercat tour.

I would be very happy to do the Mary Kings Close tour again and miss this underground vault tour, which is a real pity!
Written September 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear IndepTraveller08, Many thanks for your detailed review, I'm very sorry we let you down. It's clear that you had a poor experience and thanks for your help in making sure we do better in future. Could you please contact me directly so we can chat more about your tour and what we can learn? I look forward to hearing from you, Kat kathleen@mercattours.com
Written September 12, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sunnywin
Edinburgh, UK455 contributions
Nov 2021
A well presented social history of the growth of Edinburgh Old Town, starting with a bit of geography that put the history of people into perspective. I live in Edinburgh but still found out lots of new and interesting facts. The guide was very knowledgeable and managed to get over a lot of information in a very accessible format. If you are interested in social history then this is the tour for you. I would recommend a visit to the People's Story Museum just down the road after this tour to further illustrate how pople lived in Einburgh.
Written November 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Sunnywin, Thanks for joining us and for leaving such a thorough and well thought out review. We're so glad that we could help you discover some new things about the city. That's a brilliant recommendation, one of the great things about the Royal Mile is all of the little museums quite close together in the Canongate section! An excellent way to learn even more. All the best and thanks for choosing Mercat, Kim
Written November 15, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Charlotte
1 contribution
Jun 2022 • Family
Absolutely awful experience. Turned up for the tour with my mother, sisters and 6 month old in a buggy. We did the first 30 mins of the tour no problem and no one said a word about the fact we had a baby with us. When we got to the vaults, a young employee told us the baby couldn’t come in. When we questioned why no one up until that point had told us that (we could have at least planned our day differently), he said we should have known by reading the Ts&Cs (who reads them?!) and that the tour guide can’t have noticed the huge baby buggy…! All in all, the employee was rude, obnoxious and as a young male, has absolutely no concept of how hard it can be carting a 6 month baby around. The online booking should have made it much clearer and the woman checking us in or the tour guide should have said something instead of leaving it right until the last minute. I recommend avoiding this company!
Written June 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Cob, I'm very sad to see this negative review and these harsh words used about an experienced and outstanding member of our team who has always been extremely courteous to visitors. Your description is very out of character. Having spoken with all involved we fully support how they handled the situation and note you were provided with a partial refund, despite this not being our error. In addition, our Support Team welcomed 3 of your party at the Mercat Cross and distributed the 4 TourTalk devices whilst the person with the buggy joined the back of the group directly. As you arrived late for the tour, and only 3 of your group checked in, our team weren't aware off the buggy or would have discussed our policy with you. Furthermore, the Storyteller put the greater needs of the group first and had already begun the tour so hadn’t spotted your buggy at the back for the short 15min section of tour before entering the Blair Street Underground Vaults. We recognise this could be improved and will implement a tighter checkin process. It is clearly stated under the ticket type information when booking that our tours are not suitable for under 5s for health and safety reasons. As a lawyer yourself, we're surprised that you didn't read and accept our T&Cs and the manner in which you challenged and spoke to our team was inappropriate. Perhaps you can suggest how we share health & safety information more clearly to help avoid a repeat? All the best, Kim
Written June 6, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dianne B
19 contributions
We had the good fortune to be paired with Naomi as a guide. She is doing her dissertation on the bridge so her enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject would be hard to beat. I loved her presentation and style.
In addition the whole operation was run well, from directions to the meeting point, to great quality headsets so everyone could hear even on the crowded streets and the caring attention given to our safety everything was top notch.
We are not “guided tour people” but we thoroughly enjoyed this.
Written June 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Dianne, Thanks for joining us on tour and taking the time to leave us a review. We are so glad to hear you enjoyed your experience with us and it sounds like Naomi did a fantastic job! We'll be sure to pass your kind words on - I'm sure it will make her day. Glad to hear you enjoyed the use of the Tour Talks as well and felt everything was top notch. It really means a lot! All the best, Kim
Written June 27, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kerry A
4 contributions
Oct 2021 • Family
Fabulous experience start to finish!

Our 1st point of call was Rory in the office as we needed some help with our booking. He was fantastic and very helpful:-)

The tour itself was fab, being the scared of ghosts adult I am with a teasing 12 year old in tow I ventured on lol

We were greeted at the meeting point and given a lanyard and radio to plug our head phones into. This made the tour quite intimate as the Guide, Jarred didnt have to raise his voice. The group was small compared to other groups saw.

It was raining but Jarred escorted is to little places of shelter to keep is dry while telling his tales.

Luckily we were with a great bunch of people whom volunteered for tasks (by their kids mainly lolol) and made us laugh all the way around.

Once into the Vaults we were taken Round and told stories of ghosts and devilish dealings. The atmosphere was great and Jarred delivered the tour to fit the vast age range of the group.

We had a fantastic time and enjoyed every minute 😀 Would most definitely recommend
Written October 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Kerry, Thanks for joining us and for the lovely review. We're so glad that you enjoyed your ghost tour with Jared and that he found some spots to shelter you from the rain! It sounds like he did an excellent job. Really happy we could earn your recommendation, that means a lot. All the best and thanks again, Kim
Written October 29, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bridget B
New Hartford, IA7 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
Really interesting tour with lots of facts. A 4 and not a 5 simply because it was a fun extra and not a ‘you can’t miss this one!’ It covers a history you hear about in the other tours, but this one you get to see it and feel it. Tour guide (Fred) was very animated, fun, and full of excitement to tell the stories.
Written June 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Bridget, thanks for touring with us. We're really glad to hear you found the tour was fun and thank you for your kind words about our Storyteller Fred! It sounds like she did an excellent job and we'll be sure to pass your compliments on. All the best, Kim
Written June 27, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 444
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: Mercat Tours
hazels505
hazels505
00
Phenomenal
This tour was just amazing but the tour guide made it all the more spectacular. Linda was very funny and very know
Ines P
Ines P
00
Walking tour Royal Mile and castle
The guide was great and he was very knowledgeable about the history of the places. Very interesting tour. Gives yo
mjbrps
mjbrps
00
Great introduction to Edinburgh
Wonderful tour. It offered a lively, entertaining and thorough introduction to the history of Edinburgh. The guide
B8433IFmarym
B8433IFmarym
00
Excellent look at the underground vaults
I really enjoyed my Doomed, Dead, and Buried tour. It was a nice mix of history and mystery, with some potentially
325jamalj
325jamalj
00
Disgusting.
Wasn’t scary it’s horrible worst tour ever they lie to us they said whisky or soft drink tastings lies.
Isabel S
Isabel S
00
Amazing!
Naomi is a gifted storyteller, who adds to the spooky experience. An exceptionally interesting tour- highly recomme
Edith R
Edith R
00
excellent tour
Very good enthusiastic guide who showed me parts of Edinburgh I did not know existed highly recommended
monicahA6004DN
monicahA6004DN
00
Venture Through the Vaults!
A great way to experience the history and culture of Edinburgh! Linda was so great - an amazing storyteller and int
elliehS4325OR
elliehS4325OR
00
Great tour! Recommended
Veni was a great host, loved the stories and the tour. Highly recommended for anyone who loves or believes in ghost
mrsdonnaf
mrsdonnaf
00
Amazing!!!!!
We did the Hidden and Haunted tour with Neave and it was fantastic. Neave went in to all the gore and history of h
Sam H
Sam H
00
Amazing experience
One of my fondest memories of my Edinburgh trip, my 30th birthday and Steve made it memorable, from his quirky pers
LucaB1518
LucaB1518
00
A must do!
Madge has lead us through the ghost stories of St. Giles Cathedral and the Undergrounds. I think she has been amazi
Alix S
Alix S
00
Great Experience 👍
Great tour with our tour guide Steve! He gets very into character and makes the tour so interesting. He keeps you e
mirandas747
mirandas747
00
Balance between history and entertainment
Lovely tour. Good balance between some historical facts and entertainment. Neave did great! She was very enthusiast
jweller007
jweller007
00
Gory Stories For Kids was a Winner!
We booked a private Gory Stories for Kids Tour with Stephanie. Our kids (ages 7&11) had a blast on this tour. We
Frequently Asked Questions about Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk


Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk price starts from $26.61. Discover and book Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk on Tripadvisor

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Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk is hosted by Mercat Tours. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Mercat Tours on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk on Tripadvisor