Rebus Tours
About
Experience the dark and hidden world of Ian Rankin's best selling novels and discover the history and mystery of the real locations with stunning views of some of Edinburgh's unexplored areas. Cover photo courtesy of, Peter J Clarke.
Edinburgh, Scotland

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Rebus Tours
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(16 reviews)
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.0
117 reviews
Excellent
52
Very good
35
Average
8
Poor
6
Terrible
16

Avogadro31
Hesse, Germany502 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
As I big Rankin fan I enjoyed the tour but it was still disappointing. Put it this way : if it had started to rain I would have no stayed. The guide seemed more interested to giving a performance rather than engage with the group which was amusing at first but a little tedious after two hours in the cold. If it is dry and you love Rankin it is still worth going on balance. Really, the guide (Colin) needs to redesign his tour to make it more interesting (and fun).
Written February 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

s_murrelluk
Birmingham, UK106 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
Interesting walking tour for fans of Rebus. The readings are the absolute highlight. You go to bits of Edinburgh you wouldn't necessarily go to usually. We enjoyed the guide Colin's passion. Pop in The Royal Oak afterwards as its such a quaint place! Of you enjoy reading about Ian Rankin's most famous protagonist then this is a tour you'll enjoy x
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Emma Connelly
Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom2 contributions
Sep 2020 • Couples
As a Rankin & Rebus fan I had always wanted to join a Rebus tour. Today I did just that & I was not disappointed in any way, shape or form.
Colin is just marvellous, passionate and an absolute hoot. I took my husband along who was a complete Rebus novice, having never read his books and even he loved it!
Colins readings and knowledge were spot on and delivered them perfectly. We had a constant smile on our faces and even had a wee laugh with him as we walked around the sites. I learned so much about Rankin & how he came about writing in the first place. It made me love this author & his books even more!
I highly recommend this tour, you will not be disappointed!
Written September 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Klinehan3
Philadelphia, PA2 contributions
Sep 2017 • Couples
I think the tour could have been better if Colin had wanted to venture outside of the University area. New Town is not that far away. Many of the stops had nothing to do with Rebus. One of our stops was in a garbage strewn area so he could go on about how crappy the new University building are. We had a stop in a little park where he asked us to imagine a graveyard while he gave a Rebus reading about a burial. We were only a block or two from real graveyards. I had an elderly woman guide walk farther on the east end Ripper tour than this guy. This might have been okay if Colin hadn't been so thoroughly obnoxious. He didn't take our money when we started the tour because he said then we wouldn't be able to add a tip. By the middle of the tour, it was tempting to give him the slip and run off without paying. He had an irritating habit of asking us to get closer to him like a football huddle at each stop. He even called us together at one stop like we were dogs. He was complete jerk.
Written September 3, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

reading_runners
Canada1 contribution
May 2017 • Solo
I would like to think that Ian Rankin would be appalled at the quality of this tour. Not only did the guide openly express sexist and racist comments, he was clearly running through old material, barely engaged, unprofessional and boring. The two hours covers a very small area, with a few obvious Rebus spots, but the rest are tangential and odd choices given the wealth of sites available. He spends more time on weird personal rants than on Rankin and Rebus facts. The tour starts at a local pub The Royal Oak, featured in one book, and the bartender on duty frankly couldn't care less about any of it. If you are looking for a Rebus experience in Edinburgh, use the self-guided app, and go to the Oxford Bar, where bar staff and patrons were friendly, professional, and welcoming.
Written June 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

rebusreader1977
Edinburgh, UK346 contributions
We attended Colin Brown's 'tour' on August 26th 2009. My dad is a huge Rebus fan and we've been planning to do the tour for months since I first picked up a leaflet in the Royal Oak pub. So we turned up at the pub promptly at 4pm, when Brown greeted us with a scowl, swore under his breath, and said 'I don't believe it...' I laughed, I thought it was part of his act. Unfortunately not, Brown was well hacked off that he only had 3 people on his tour. We had ordered some drinks, and he told us to take our time as he was not going to rush off 'with only 3 people'. We waited, and waited, and waited... Brown sat in the corner scowling... I offered him a drink, 'No' he barked at me. He continued to sit in the corner, staring into the distance, then 45minutes after the tour was supposed to start, he marched up to us, thrust two crumpled notes into my hand, and shouted 'I've had enough, I've waited for 45 minutes for you, I'm off now'.. and off he went, through the door, not even with an apology. This man is a charlatan. I don't know what his problem is, but he is clearly not an actor, or he would have been able to pretend that he enjoyed his job, which he clearly doesn't.

Don't waste your time or money on this tour.
Written October 12, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Retireeskiing
Canberra 11 contributions
Oct 2014 • Couples
It is surprising to see this tour still operating, as I wrote to the Scottish Tour Board detailing this guide's behaviour immediately after our experience, nearly one year ago, and I can see other reviewers mentioned similarly offensive episodes. This tour was an appalling experience which I sought to raise with the Scottour establishment, but which has not apparently been remedied. We felt shocked, abused, cheated and suspect that the guide is perhaps suffering a mental illness.
We were met at the Oxford Bar with scowls and abrupt pocketting of our cash, and proceded through admonishments to stand close so as to hear, but only in front of him, so as not 'to be a creep' (thus I can report that his breath was awful), and repetitious scoffing insults to people who hadn't read much Rebus. Unfunny after the first mention, we realised he was not attempting a misfired act of prickly 'Rebusism'. There were gratuitious diatribes about the state of modern Scottish education, the nasty council decision about demolition of the engine sheds now housing a cafe, and how people who ate meat disgust him. Worst was when we were standing in a carspace at a surgery college, when the park owner drove in. The driver waited while the reading continued, but we listeners started inching out of the car space. Being told to 'Stay still', 'Listen to the end!' and 'Not to be rude!' was bad enough, but then the guide shouted at the driver that he should have waited outside, was a liar, a disgrace to Scotland, and many other insults, including many b- and f-words. We reassembled over the road, but the guide, mid-extolling the sites, spotted the driver again across the intersection and unleashed another stream of accusations of lying, being a disgrace, shouting across the street and traffic. Perceiving a stunned silence in his audience he attempted to reassure us that he 'was not angry with us'. One of our number said that we hadn't come to hear an argument, but some Rebus tales and trails, whereupon Mr Brown protested that Ian Rankin had apparently NOT supported this tour, so 'Thanks for nothing, Ian!' (+ rude gesture). We peeled off early, and also noticed another couple leaving as soon as they recognised a street and way out. Please note: Rankin fans have a website walking tour which we covered the next day, with a wealth of places such as Fleshmarket Close and all sorts of spots not toured with 'Rebus Tours'.
Written September 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

technoman2
East Sussex, UK10,856 contributions
Apr 2011
Firstly let me say that we booked our trip to Edinburgh around the date of this tour as my wife is an avid Ian Rankin reader and has read all but one of his books which is currently out of print.

We met Colin Brown at the Royal Oak pub at 12 oclock, we actually arrived outside at 11.50 and no one was outside at that time. I looked inside the Bar and Mr Brown was at the bar so we introduced ourselves to him and told him we planned out trip around his tour. He could not have been less interested, didn’t want to make eye contact and hardly wanted to acknowledge us.

The tour started promptly at 12 and we went down to the Edinburgh medical college and was told the story of Burke and Hare then onto the boys school and given some more info including info on Conan Doyle.

We then went to Carnegie close, dummy dikes, the police station and were told about the Salisbury crag and Arthurs seat with a few readings from Ian Rankin’s books to set the seen ( which seemed to interest the rest of the group). I suggest you do not ask Mr Brown any question relating to what kind of acting he does as it will probably be met with a large rebuttal.

I found the whole package totally unprofessional and poor value. The tour lasted 90 mins and from the information gained I did not think it was worth the money and was not a patch on other tours we have been on.

I am sorry but I would not recommend this tour to anyone it was dour and disappointing for me but if you have a real interest in the Ian Rankin books then you may find some snippets of interest.
Written May 3, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

WallahEd
3 contributions
Jun 2019 • Solo
Rebus Tours
Edinburgh

Colin, our tour guide and owner of the company is clearly brilliant, at least in his own humble opinion.

To the rest of us mortals, his tour was boring, lacked focus and failed to deliver on most of the sites and insights promised.

By my count, we visited only 3 locations mentioned in the Rankin novels: the Royal Oak pub, the St Leonard police station and the rear door of a dilapidated building Colin claimed to be the site of the mortuary. (I did not count Colin's claim at one stop that a red apartment building in the distance was Rebus' domicile (3rd floor from the top, 3rd window from the right and imagine a fan in the window)).

And after asking our group if there were any questions, he was asked "where does Siobhan Clarke live?" and "where does 'Big Jer' hang out?" and then ignored them all and strode away so he could read a snippet of some Rankin text that had nothing to do with anything promised in the tour promo or was relevant to our current location.

Don't wasted your time or money on this one. The John_Rebus wiki entry is far more complete and accurate.
Written June 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Michael O
5 contributions
Nov 2018 • Friends
Guide was uncharismatic and grouchy. His pandering for tips, inability to engage with his audience, and references to his financial situation made the whole experience uncomfortable. I went with a huge fan of Rebus who was disappointed with the quality of the material and the lack of genuine sights that we saw.

In between antagonising those in his tour, and talking about himself, he read out excerpts from books, but unfortunately offered nothing particularly insightful. A guide needs to be aimiable and dynamic, able to deal with things (like questions) in a pleasant way- this guy didn’t get the memo.

As mentioned, you’d be better off going on a self guided tour if you are a Rankin fan. Otherwise there so much else to do in Edinburgh.
Written November 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Rebus Tours (Edinburgh) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go