Tours & activities in Edinburgh

Free Tour of Edinburgh

Book the original Edinburgh free walking tour and visit many of the city's highlights with a local guide

ABOUT THE Free Tour of Edinburgh

This 2.5-hour gratuity-based Edinburgh Free Tour will show you all the top attractions in the city. Local experts will take you to must-see spots such as the iconic Royal Mile, the famous Greyfriars Kirkyard (home of Greyfriars Bobby), and the charming Grassmarket. Explore the historic Edinburgh streets with the help of an expert local guide.


Your gratuity-based Free Tour of Edinburgh meets on 130 High Street (The Royal Mile). Join us on this introduction to Edinburgh, a great way to orientate yourself in the city and at a price to suit everybody’s budget. We never cancel; tours run rain, hail or shine.


A city of madmen...

The stories of Edinburgh are almost too amazing to be true, but as you join this entertaining walking tour with an expert local guide, you will discover tales that you simply couldn't make up. Hear the stories of the English kings and how the Edinburgh locals showed what they thought of them, discover the real-life Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde, and learn why leaving the pub at closing time in old Edinburgh was a particularly dangerous undertaking. These local tour guides bring Edinburgh's history to life as they take you to major landmarks in Edinburgh's Old Town like St Gile's Cathedral, the Scottish Writer's Museum, and the Grassmarket, where public executions didn't always go according to plan.

...and a city of geniuses

Of course though, Edinburgh's fascinating history is not just made up of madmen. Discover heroic men and women like William Wallace and the Stone of Destiny, learn about Scottish literary greats at the Scottish Writers' Museum (we promise you can name more of them than you think!), and even discover a sweet local dog who redefined the word loyalty at Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Gratuity-based Free Tour concept

The gratuity-based model of the Free Tour allows guests to support and reward only the highest quality tours, and to ensure that the tour fits within their expectations, and within their budget.

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Image for meeting point

The gratuity-based Edinburgh Free Tour starts on 130 High Street (The Royal Mile), on the corner with Stevenlaw's Close

  • Stroll up the Royal Mile, visiting St Gile’s Cathedral and other major landmarks
  • Meet Scottish greats like William Wallace
  • Visit the pub (and history!) filled Grassmarket
  • Help to contribute to the local community at your coffee break at the Grassmarket Project
  • See the National Museum of Scotland


10:00 AM11:00 AM2:00 PM
11:00 AM
Inclusions & exclusions
What’s included
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • A break partway through the tour at a local charity cafe
What’s not included
  • Gratuities for the guide (optional)
  • Food and drinks at the break location
Additional Information
  • Our business is connecting great guides and smart travelers, and we're proud that so many local guides employ us to welcome travelers like you on their journey through some of the world's best cities. No two tours are alike, and the sites, stories, and length of the tour will vary depending on what your freelance guide decides is best. That's why the tours we promote never get stale or feel scripted, and why both independent guides and savvy travelers prefer SANDEMANs
  • All minors must be accompanied by an adult in order to join the tour
  • Depending on the route, the tour may finish by the National Museum of Scotland, by Greyfriars Kirkyard or by The Writers' Museum
  • Due to the old streets and uneven terrain, accessing parts of Edinburgh by wheelchair can sometimes be challenging. The Free Tour is wheelchair accessible when accompanied by a non-disabled participant
The Free Tour on 130 High Street (The Royal Mile), on the corner with Stevenlaw's Close Open in Google Maps
Royal Mile Edinburgh
Royal Mile
St Gile's Cathedral
St Gile's Cathedral
National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland
Greyfriars Kirkyard
Greyfriars Kirkyard
The Writers' Museum
The Writers' Museum
Tour start Tour starts here
End start Tour usually ends here
Tour usually covers

Customer reviews

What is a gratuity-based Free Tour?


The gratuity-based Free Tour is the best introduction to Edinburgh! A general overview tour including many of the highlights of the city, the Free Tour usually lasts around 2.5 hours and is provided by a local freelance guide in partnership with SANDEMANs NEW Europe, so tour content can vary depending on your guide’s particular area of interest and expertise.

The gratuity-based Free Tour is a walking tour with no need for public transport and is designed for independent travellers, not groups. You can book your spot in advance online or simply show up at the start point on the day. There is no payment necessary at the start of the tour but you are welcome to tip your guide at the end!

We believe in supporting local communities and are committed to giving a voice to some of Edinburgh's best local freelance tour guides, who passionately share the city's history and culture with their own unique and always-entertaining style. They'll never pressure you to tip; we believe that, if money is given, it should be voluntary and in direct proportion to the quality of the tour and the budget of the traveller.

Why join the SANDEMANs FREE Tour?

  • The route covers many of Edinburgh Old Town major landmarks
  • The meeting point is centrally located at 130 High Street
  • The Free Tour is guaranteed to fit within your budget
  • The guides performing tips-based Free Tours are incentivized to perform every time


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  • Select Tour
  • Pub Crawl
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Participation in tours promoted by SANDEMANs NEW Europe is strictly on a voluntary basis. Neither SANDEMANs NEW Europe, nor the self-employed freelance guides who are the providers of the tours promoted by SANDEMANs NEW Europe, will be held responsible in any way for injuries to body or property incurred during tours. The tour guides reserve the right to deny participation in any tour, to any person, for any reason. Thank you for your understanding.

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