The Real Mary King's Close
The Real Mary King's Close
4.5
Historic SitesPoints of Interest & Landmarks
9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 9:00 PM
About
Hidden beneath the Royal Mile lies Edinburgh’s deepest secret: a warren of hidden ‘closes’ where real people lived, worked and died. For centuries they have lain forgotten and abandoned…until now. Visit Edinburgh's most famous Close, which makes Edinburgh's Hidden History unmissable.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travelers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.

Top ways to experience The Real Mary King's Close and nearby attractions

The area
Address
Neighborhood: Old Town
Few Edinburghers live in the Old Town, but its labyrinth of dank alleys and steep streets suggests this was not always the case. Today, it’s mostly visitors, tartan-flavored souvenir shops, and pipers that you’ll find on its cobbled streets. This is the place to get a feel for Auld Reekie (Old Smelly), as the town was once nicknamed, and stroll the Royal Mile, the thoroughfare that links the castle with the royal palace – two of Edinburgh’s great set-piece attractions. But there’s lots more exploring to do here down dozens of little alleys, or wynds, while at night the city’s busiest clubs erupt along the Cowgate which is closed to traffic for this purpose.
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • Samantha W
    Ipswich, United Kingdom57 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent insight into the history of the people of Edinburgh
    Tour was excellent. Highly recommend. Only disappointment is the insistence that anyone over 15 is an adult. Adults are 18. The over 15 rule makes the attraction expensive for those travelling with their teens age bw 16- 18.
    Hello, Thank you for sharing your review with us and we are delighted to hear you enjoyed your tour with us, we appreciate your feedback regarding cost. Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 6, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written March 5, 2023
  • Joe
    Norwich, United Kingdom103 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Second visit and still impressed.
    I visited MKC about 6 years ago, and so wasn’t sure whether it’d be worth going again… but since others hadn’t been, we went. Despite having seen (and reviewed) it before, I still enjoyed it, and found the content to have changed from my last visit. Lily was our tour guide who was good fun, and made it a really enjoyable experience, with a wealth of knowledge and able to answer all the questions put to her. Having seen it twice I still can’t fathom how there’s a whole town under there, and it’s sobering to think how people lived in that era. Still good, would still recommend.
    Hello, It is wonderful to hear you enjoyed visiting us for a second time to experience the stories of Mary king's Close again with Lily! I will pass on this review. Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 13, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 10, 2023
  • Kelly21830
    Long Beach, New York91 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fact-based, not a cheesy-joke filled tour.
    I took the tour today and I found it quite informative. The script is well-written, fact-based and not really hokie like some tours tend to be. Zelda was quite engaging and didn’t act as though she was bored or tired of dealing with tourists. I would definitely recommend this to friends.
    Hello, Thank you for your wonderful review Kelly, it is great to hear you enjoyed learning the history of the close and it's former residents, I will pass this onto Zelda. Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 13, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written March 10, 2023
  • Ric T
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don’t miss this in Edinburgh!
    Possibly the best tour I’ve ever done. Carl was our guide. He was a brilliant ‘in character’ guide, extremely knowledgeable, extremely funny, with beautiful timing. Highly entertaining. And it’s absolutely fascinating.
    Hello, Thank you for sharing your review with us we are delighted to hear you enjoyed your tour with Carl, I will be sure to pass this on to him. Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 13, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 12, 2023
  • Beatriz
    Ourense, Spain6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting
    Our guide Matt was nice and he made the tour easy to follow. He explained so much about the plague history of Edinburgh with a funny-tone as well, which made it a pleasant experience. It lasts about 1h and they guide you through different rooms explaining a lot of things (it's kinda interactive as well). We enjoyed it! :)
    Hello, Thank you for sharing your review with us, it is wonderful to hear you enjoyed your tour with us, we appreciate your recommendation. Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 20, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written March 20, 2023
  • Tara H
    Vancouver, Canada70 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth it!
    What an interesting view into the lives of the people who resided in the closes of Edinburgh in the past. Our guide Matt was awesome, sharing the information in a fun and engaging way. I can’t imagine living the way the people of Edinburgh did in the 1600 and 1700s.
    Hello, Thank you for sharing your review with us and for giving us five stars! We are delighted to hear you enjoyed learning the real stories of the residents from Matt! I will pass this on. Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 22, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 21, 2023
  • Sar R
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must if you're visiting Edinburgh
    Excellent place to spend sone time learning about the history of one of Edinburghs most iconic spots. Throughly enjoyed listening to our tour guide talking about the hidden depths of Edinburghs old streets, the stories, the ghosts and the tales of hardship & despair. Its hard to get your head around the fact that these rooms were homes to many and the streets were once bustling places. Our tour guide Matt- AKA Robert Burns was fantastic, if you manage to get him as your guide you are in for a treat, he knows his stuff and has a fun way of telling you the history of the place no matter what age! Will definitely be visiting again next time I'm in Edinburgh. PS - It was quite interesting watching Most Haunted on YouTube, they visited Mary Kings Close a few years back, probably best to watch that before you visit as youll be able to see which rooms they were in and what to look out for.
    Hello, Thank you for sharing your review with us, it is wonderful to hear you enjoyed your tour and learning the real stories of Mary King's Close and its former residents. I will pass this on to Matt and we hope to see you back again in the future! Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 22, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written March 22, 2023
  • Carl B
    20 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fascinating glimpse into Edinburgh's history
    A fascinating insight into the life and times of Edinburgh back in the 16th and 17th centuries. Makes you glad not to have been around then! Our guide Becca looked the part and was a mine of information, as well as playing her part faultlessly, linking seamlessly into the pre-recorded effects. Despite walking up down the Royal Mile many time over the years it was an eye-opener to see what the buildings are sitting on top of. An excellent morning.
    Hello, Thank you for sharing your review with us and for five stars! It is wonderful you enjoyed discovering Mary King's close beneath the mile for the first time and was a pleasant surprise! I will pass on your kind comments to Becca. Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 23, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 22, 2023
  • Andy -0
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly recommended tour
    Highly recommended tour. The staff are excellent from the lady who sold us the tickets to Matt, our tour guide. Very informative tour delivered very professionally with humour. Thank you so much. I will deffinately recommend to friends and family.
    Hello Andrew, Thank you for sharing your review with us and for the five stars! It is wonderful to hear you found the team welcoming and the tour from Matt enjoyable. We appreciate your recommendation and I will pass this on to the team. Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 27, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written March 23, 2023
  • Spookyb
    6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Brilliant tour you can’t miss
    This tour is definitely the one to book! It was absolutely fascinating and the tour guide was so entertaining, knowledgeable and funny. We went in a family group including pensioners teens and little ones and all of us thoroughly enjoyed it
    Hello, Thank you for sharing your review with us, it is wonderful to hear your family of all ages found the experience equally as enjoyable, we appreciate your feedback! Thank you for visiting! Jonny, Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary King’s Close part of Continuum Attractions
    Written March 27, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 25, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles20,817 reviews
Excellent
12,679
Very good
4,988
Average
1,885
Poor
747
Terrible
522

Lee T
19 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Couples
We booked to visit in October several months ago when the situation with Covid appeared to be getting better. We were meant to be travelling next weekend and this was one of several activities we had pre booked.

Unfortunately the situation has rapidly declined with our home town being placed into tier 3 and the further restrictions in Edinburgh. I contacted the company straight away however they have refused to offer a refund (as usual hiding behind terms and conditions rather than what is right and wrong).

Although they offered a voucher for the next 12 months, I have lost money on train travel as well as this experience and have little confidence in booking in the near future.

Just be very aware if you book and things change with Covid that they won’t offer a refund, even if you can’t travel within current guidelines in your area.

Really disappointed with the behaviour of this company.
Written October 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pottsicle
Widnes, UK43 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Couples
Guided tour of a now covered street just off the Royal Mile, this offers a glimpse into the more personal history of some of the "everyday" residents from Edinburgh's past. Our guide was very knowledgeable and the story was always interesting and entertaining. The tour takes about an hour but I would suggest booking, as you couldn't guarantee turning up and getting a space on the next tour. Only think I felt was missing was a better feel for how the street came to be covered. There is a model and a couple of maps, but there isn't long to look at them before the group moves on
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Scott Johnson
Plymouth, MA14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
I had Adam as the guide for my group and he was spectacular. Wildly amusing and clearly a master of Edinburgh history. This tour is well worth the experience and provides great insight into the city’s past in an unusual tour.
Written January 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for sharing your kind feedback, we are thrilled you liked Adam's tour! It's great to hear such lovely comments about our team and that you enjoyed learning our history. We will let Adam know all your kind feedback. Kind Regards, TRMKC Marketing Team
Written January 29, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Turnip
Christchurch, UK28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Couples
This tour is excellent, and well worth the money, very informative and interesting and the guide played the character well which made it far more engaging. If you're going to Edinburgh then this is a must..

Much better than the castle
Written October 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for sharing your lovely 5* review with us. We're so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time with us, and stepping down into Edinburgh's hidden history. Our guides are a huge part of bringing our history to life, we pride ourselves on telling the real stories of the people who lived on The Close and bringing history to life. We do hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Edinburgh, and hope to welcome you back in the future. Best wishes, The Real Mary King's Close team
Written October 18, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Richard G
Ipswich, UK51 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
fascinating trip to see the conditions people lived in in the old town before the New Town was built. The fact that the last building was vacated only 120 years ago shows you how far we have come in living conditions since then. Spooky in a nice way and very atmospheric. Think the tour guide could have toned down his act a bit to make sure that everyone understood him, especially as there are multiple nationalities visiting.
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for sharing your kind review, we are delighted you found our history fascinating and enjoyed your tour. We appreciate your feedback on our tour guide and will feed this back to our management team. We hope you enjoyed your time in Edinburgh. Kind Regards, TRMKC Marketing Team
Written January 23, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

sunshine6854
York, UK33 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Friends
I had been really looking forward to this attraction while planning our trip to Edinburgh. Overall I enjoyed it and found it informative, however, it was very drawn out. Had it been half of the price for a 30 minute tour, or a self guided walk around with reading plaques, my rating may have been higher. The staged photo at the end seemed like a nice addition… until you realise that it comes at a price of £10 at the end of the tour! At £38 a couple to then expect a further £10 for a photo print made the whole experience feel commercial and greedy.

We heard stories of rooms finishing with “but this would have been 4 levels up/ down” which made it difficult to understand the placement of where we were. At the end of the tour upon seeing Mary Kings Close it started to make a bit more sense, this context would have been more helpful at the start of the tour.
Written October 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
We really appreciate that you have shared your feedback with us. We're glad to hear that you did enjoy the tour, it is just unfortunate that it did not meet your expectations. As you mention, we are unable to permit guest photography due to the nature of our site. The photo opportunity is taken with a static camera and was introduced due to guest demand. It is, of course, always optional. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Edinburgh. Best Regards, Abbie Reservations & Relations Executive The Real Mary Kings Close
Written October 12, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sarah L
8 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Family
Glad I did tour, was very interesting and to think you were standing where people had lived hundreds of years before. Only criticism was that it was very hard to understand guide as Spanish accent and talked very fast so missed some info. Kids got bored as they also struggled to understand what was being said, and a bit pricey !
Written August 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. We are sorry to hear that you were disappointed by your visit. All of our guides are trained to five star standards and deliver the tour in an engaging manner that is accessible for our guests who come from all over the world. On our one hour fully guided tour, guests are shown the remains of original streets and houses, some of which date back over five hundred years, where the people of Edinburgh would have lived when these streets were open to the skies. We're glad to hear that you did enjoy the tour, it is just unfortunate that it did not meet your expectations. As a five-star visitor attraction, we set our prices in line with other quality Edinburgh attractions. However, we appreciate your feedback and your comments and have been passed on to the management.
Written August 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Gone Wild 2020
Northamptonshire, UK125 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Family
Having seen Mary Kings Close in a recent tv programme we knew we had to visit on our trip to Edinburgh, the visit didn’t disappoint.
Booking in was easy via the tickets on our phone, clean toilets available for use & a short wait for our time slot with Caroline.
Caroline for our guide for the tour who was really informative, the history of the place is amazing.
So much to see, I fully understand why but unfortunately you can’t take photos on the way around.
To think that people actually lived in those conditions 200 years ago - crikey!!
There was the chance to purchase our staged photo from the shop afterwards which was £25.
There is also a small gift shop on site.
I’d definitely recommend this tour if you’re visiting Edinburgh and best to book to avoid disappointment.
Ps: lots of the tour is conducted in dim lighting with steps & slopes so sensible shoes & sure footing.
Written May 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for sharing your review. We're so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time with us, and stepping down into Edinburgh's hidden history. We pride ourselves on telling the real stories of the people who lived on The Close and our guides are a huge part of bringing that history to life. We will pass your lovely comments on to Caroline. We do hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Edinburgh! Best wishes from all of us on The Close
Written June 8, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Adionahina
Schaffhausen, Switzerland267 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Family
We enjoyed our visit to Mary Kings‘ Close, especially the final part in the Close itself which gave a good idea of what life was like in that time. The early parts of the tour are more general and at times a little silly with the use of costumes and puppets. However, for a short visit to Edinburgh or for families with smaller children this is very entertaining.
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We are so glad you enjoyed your visit and found it entertaining. We are disappointed to hear you did not enjoy our theatrical representation but glad it did not spoil the tour for you. Kind Regards, TRMKC Marketing Team
Written January 23, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lydia6306
Stratham, NH116 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Went the week before Christmas, last tour of the night. A very small group, and it was chilly. That being said I found the tour very interesting. Great insight as to life in the underbelly of Edinburgh. Our guide did say that the tours become quite crowded during the summer months, and I would not recommend that. Very tight rooms.
Written February 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to share your review with us. We are delighted you enjoyed the tour, despite it being a bit cold. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Edinburgh. Kind Regards, TRMKC Marketing Team
Written February 4, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 17,131
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

The Real Mary King's Close - Everything to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about The Real Mary King's Close




The Real Mary King's Close Information

Excellent Reviews

11,234

Very Good Reviews

4,714

The Real Mary King's Close Photos

821