Tours and Tickets

Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk

By Mercat Tours
Recommended by 94% of travellers
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
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.
from
HK$207.53
per adult
from
HK$207.53
per adult

Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 5-99, max of 18 per group
Duration:1h 15m
Start time: Check availability
Ticket type:Mobile
English

Highlights
  • Visit vaults only accessible with a guide on an Edinburgh Old Town walking tour 
  • 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

  • Small group experience
  • Award-winning local storytellers
  • TourTalk radio receiver to enjoy immersive storytelling at safe distance
  • Exclusive access to Blair Street Underground Vaults

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.

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.
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.

  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 293404VAULTS

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children over 5yrs only
  • Tours are guaranteed all year round, so please dress for the weather, with comfortable shoes.
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 18 travellers

  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

Which attractions will I visit with Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk?
How much is Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk?
Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk price starts from HK$207.89. Discover and book Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk on Tripadvisor
What is the Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk cancellation policy?
Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk on Tripadvisor
Which company provides Small Group Edinburgh Underground Vaults Historical Walk?
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

If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 293404VAULTS

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
+
About the operator

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

Miriam V
Miriam V
00
Fun Time with Parents
Took my parents on a bunch of tours with Mercat and we had a blast during their visit. This was one of their favour
corinneannh
corinneannh
00
Best tour we’ve ever had
Our guide, Linda, was the absolute best! Have you been on tours where the guides have a sing-song melody? Linda was
X4672CQangelical
X4672CQangelical
00
Excellent
Steve was awesome! His energy was great. I really liked the tour and Edinburgh is super beautiful. It was a great
beth61673
beth61673
00
Great as always
This is still the best tour I have ever taken in Edinburgh! The tour guide Scott was so engaging! I’ll always cho
Lisage2367
Lisage2367
00
Great spooky tour of the vaults
We had a great time at the hidden & haunted tour with Margaret Ann. Her stories and performance truly added so much
Jj2007nichola
Jj2007nichola
00
Underground vault tour
Took the tour today with Stewart , Brilliant tour , Stewart was knowledgeable and funny despite the topic and time
490nikig
490nikig
00
Fun!
Entertaining and interesting. It was a fun way to spend an hour in the evening on a dark night in November. Madge i
cherylfmartin11
cherylfmartin11
00
Spooky and good fun
Highly recommend! Great customer service & Michael is an exceptionally good story teller. Loved it!!
JanW2046
JanW2046
00
Great night with spooky stories
Although I expected to be more beneath the city, we still loved it. Great stories told lively by Michael. Had a gre
Peter D
Peter D
00
Underground vaults tour
Great tour and exactly what we were looking for. Faye was a fantastic storyteller. Underground vaults were spooky ,
Allison J
Allison J
00
Down and up the Royal Mile!
Vennie lead our group on a really informative and enthusiastic tour down and up the Royal Mile and to the castle. T
bobbyv568
bobbyv568
00
Great spooky ghost tour!
Me & my wife did the Doomed, Dead And Buried tour - our guide Mark was brilliant! We were provided with headphones
oenonep2022
oenonep2022
00
Mercat Ghostly Underground Tour.
Linda - our tour guide, was wonderful. Her enthusiasm was palpable. Her telling of some of the darker and seedier h
Jolou88
Jolou88
00
Doomed, Dead And Buried is must!!
We went on the Doomed, Dead And Buried tour and it was excellent, it was the highlight of our trip to Edinburgh and
R7122OYjohng
R7122OYjohng
00
Great Royal mile tour
Best tour I've every been on. We were provide with headphones to hear our tour guide clearly as we were walking aro
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
538 reviews
Excellent
436
Very good
73
Average
14
Poor
10
Terrible
5

Springsgal
Colorado Springs, CO17 contributions
Nov 2022
This was such a great tour and one of the highlights of our trip! Our guide Linda was fabulous - engaging, interesting, and very knowledgeable. There was a youngster in our group and she did a great job of including the child.

When we met at the beginning of our tour it was easy to find the Mercat people. You check in and then you are given a small listening device to wear around your neck. It is NOT pre-recorded information, but rather allows you to hear your tour guide over the din of busy Old Town. I saw tour groups from other companies that were larger and did not have these listening devices.

One of the things I really liked and appreciated about this tour is that it was fun and informative but not "hokey." It sounds like some of the other companies may set up little stunts to startle you when in the tunnels, but not at Mercat.

The little museum at the end of the tour is fascinating - be sure to get a picture in the old "taxi"

Thanks Mercat for a great experience and tour. See you again Linda!
Written 12 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Springsgal, Thanks for touring with us. We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed the tour and the use of our unique Tour Talk devices! Indeed, we like our visitors to have a truly authentic experience and so you won't find any gimmicks or jumper ooters on our tours. Thanks once again and I'll be sure to pass your kind words onto Linda who will be delighted. All the best, Kim
Written 15 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

EdinburghCharlotte
Edinburgh, UK52 contributions
Aug 2022
I went on this tour in August with a couple of friends. I’ve lived in Edinburgh for 18 years so know the city quite well and had been on a ghost tour in the past with a different company. I would highly recommend this tour if you are curious about historical facts, ghosts and underground vaults. I really enjoyed the tour as Michael, our guide, was an excellent storyteller: he told us many stories based on historical facts and created different atmospheres depending on the situations.
Written 12 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Charlotte, Thanks for joining us on tour. We're so glad we could earn your recommendation and it sounds like Michael did a brilliant job at bringing Edinburgh's stories to life. We'd love to see you join us again! If you do, remember to redeem your returners discount for £2 off each of your tickets. All the best, Kim
Written 19 September 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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 9 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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 14 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ed Gamester
2 contributions
Aug 2022
The tour was interesting and the guide was absolutely lovely, but £84 for four of us to walk through a cellar seemed extortionate. Each room is more or less the same as the last one, and the information about the vaults is half trivia about the city and half speculation about what might have happened in each room.

"We don't know for sure, but perhaps this happened down here..." lost its excitement pretty quickly.

I'm not sure what more they could do with the tour, other than dressing the vaults with props to make it a bit more immersive, which I expect is impossible given the damp conditions. I'm therefore not criticising the content of the tour, which was enjoyable, but I can't say I feel it was good value for money.

If it had been £5 - 10 it would have been a worthwhile hour, but £21 a head seemed silly - given what else you can do in the city for the same money.
Written 4 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Edgamester, Thanks for joining us on tour. We're sorry to hear that you did not enjoyed your experience. While most visitors enjoy our tours and typically rate them five-stars we understand that tastes may vary. Of course, all of the history on our tours is based on extensive research and facts. As the vaults are a historic location, we aim to give our guests an authentic experience and so for this reason would not dress them in props as suggested. Our tours are priced the way they are due to the five-star experience we provide which includes; the excellent knowledge of our accredited guides, being a Living Wage employer, Tour Talk devices, exclusive access to the largest and deepest set of vaults in the city, and supporting our local community and the environment. All the best, Kim
Written 5 September 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 14 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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 15 June 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

IndepTraveller08
Cheltenham, UK106 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 11 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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 12 September 2021
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 4 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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 6 June 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 21 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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 22 April 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sunnywin
Edinburgh, UK474 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 12 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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 15 November 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 4 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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 6 June 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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