Edinburgh Dungeons

Edinburgh Dungeons

Edinburgh Dungeons

Edinburgh Dungeons are one of Scotland’s most popular and well-reviewed tourist attractions.

Boasting a cast of professional actors, awesome special effects and realistic theatrical sets, the Edinburgh Dungeons truly provide tourists with a thoroughly entertaining experience.

The Dungeons are located at 31 Market Street in the historic Old Town of Edinburgh, which is home to many a gruesome tale! If you are coming from Princes Street, walk over Waverley Bridge and turn left. If you are coming from the Royal Mile, walk down Cockburn Street to the bottom of the road and turn right.

You can buy Priority Entrance tickets for the Edinburgh Dungeons through our booking partner.

Edinburgh is rightly known for its many ghosts and ghouls, making it an ideal destination for anyone wanting to indulge in a spot of spook-hunting. Here are details of three other locations in this stunning city which have a reputation for being hotspots for paranormal activity.

1. Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace, or the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is one of Edinburgh’s most popular tourist attractions. The palace, an official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, is situated at the bottom of the city’s famous Royal Mile and dates back to the sixteenth century.

It was constructed close to Holyrood Abbey, the remains of which can still be seen within the palace grounds today, so both the building and the surrounding area are steeped in history.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that Holyrood Palace is said to be haunted by a number of spirits. The most famous of these is the ghost of David Rizzio, an Italian courtier who became the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, in the mid-1560s.

Mary became extremely close to Rizzio, causing speculation amongst many that they were having an affair. There was even a suggestion that Rizzio may have been the father of the child with which Mary became pregnant towards the end of 1565. This child, born in June 1566, would later become James VI of Scotland and James I of England.

Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley, became increasingly jealous of Rizzio and, in March 1566, he and a group of conspirators burst into Mary’s private chambers, where she was dining with a small group of friends, seized Rizzio, dragged him out into the stairway and stabbed him multiple times.

Not only is Rizzio’s ghost believed to haunt the area today, there is also a mysterious stain on the floor which, according to legend, is Rizzio’s blood. The stain reappears no matter what measures are taken to remove it.

The palace is also believed to be haunted by Lord Darnley, who died in 1567, and a naked apparition known as Bald Agnes is regularly sighted there too. Bald Agnes is believed to be the ghost of Agnes Sampson, or ‘The Wise Wife of Keith’, who was accused of witchcraft, and stripped and tortured at Holyroodhouse, before being executed on Castlehill in 1590.

2. The South Bridge Vaults

Reputed to be one of the most haunted locations in the United Kingdom, Edinburgh’s South Bridge Vaults should be on any ghost hunters list of places to explore when visiting the Scottish capital.

South Bridge, opened in 1788, was a viaduct designed to link the city’s High Street with the University of Edinburgh campus, but it was also a commercial area and was lined with shops and businesses.

The vaults, of which there are 120, were designed to be used as storerooms but were quickly abandoned by the bridge’s businesses, as they were prone to flooding.   

In the years that followed, the vaults began to be used as slum dwellings, with large families packed into cramped homes, and the area also became notorious as a red light district.

Burke and Hare, who were executed for murdering 16 people in 1868 and selling their bodies to an anatomist, were reputed to have stalked the Vaults looking for victims.

The Edinburgh Vaults were closed down during the nineteenth century, with rubble being placed at the entrance points to prevent anyone from accessing them, but were rediscovered in the 1980s and subsequently excavated.

They rapidly gained a reputation for being haunted by a number of entities and it is now possible for tourists to take a tour of them to see if they can experience any spooky phenomena themselves.

There are a number of sections of the Vaults, the two most famous being the Blair Street Vaults and the Niddry Street Vaults. Both of these are reputedly haunted, but the Niddry Street Vaults section is believed to be the more active of the two.

Well-known spirits believed to haunt the Edinburgh Vaults include a playful young boy, nicknamed Jack, who allegedly wears a blue velvet coat, and throws stone at people and tugs on their coats, and a much more malevolent entity, known as Mr Boots, who wears long black boots and a frock coat, and is said to enjoy frightening visitors by pushing them and whispering in their ear.

There is also a stone circle within one of the vaults, which was allegedly constructed by Wiccans who believed that they had trapped an evil spirit within it in order to prevent it from doing harm to anyone. Poltergeist activity has also been reported there.

3. Mary King’s Close

Originally a bustling lane, most of Mary King’s Close, along with the adjoining alleys, was demolished in the mid-eighteenth century and the Royal Exchange, now known as the City Chambers, was constructed on top of it. Today, however, the remains of the close and its neighbouring lanes have been reopened to the public as The Real Mary King’s Close.

This underground attraction has become known as one of the city’s main supernatural hotspots and there have allegedly been regular ghost sightings there. Some have arisen from a myth suggesting that when the area was riddled with the plague in the mid-seventeenth century, the close was simply bricked up and the plague victims left inside to die. This is not, however, not true.

The most famous of the close’s ghost tales relates to ‘Wee Annie’, whose presence was first suggested to be in the area in 1992, by a famous Japanese psychic, Aiko Gibo.

She claimed that one room was haunted by the spirit of a young girl who had been abandoned there by her parents because she had the plague and was distraught because she had lost her favourite doll. Since then, tourists visiting Mary King’s Close have left toys and money for the little girl in order to comfort her – the owners of the attraction donate all the money left there to a charity for sick children.

Other spirits reportedly seen in Mary King’s Close include a man pacing up and down in a seemingly concerned manner and the ghost of a dog.

There are also many other reputedly haunted locations in Edinburgh, including Edinburgh Castle, the Museum of Childhood and Greyfriars Kirkyard, so it’s worth staying in the city for a while to explore it properly.

There are hotels and guest houses to suit all budgets, so finding accommodation is simple, and getting around Edinburgh on foot and by public transport is easy too.

Glasgow - City of Culture

Glasgow - City of Culture

Burghead

Burghead