The Real Mary King's Close | Tour Timeslots:
Guided tours of Mary King's Close run every 15 minutes between 10am and 9pm. The departure times of our flexible tickets are confirmed upon booking. Choose any one of the three categories listed below and we will message your exact time slot to the email address provided during purchase.
- Morning Tour: You will receive a quarter hour slot between 10:00-14:00.
- Afternoon Tour: You will receive a quarter hour slot between 14:00-18:00.
- Evening Tour: You will receive a quarter hour slot between 18:00-21:00.
Ticket Usage Instructions:
Please either print or present the ticket voucher you receive from this site on a mobile device to staff at The Real Mary King's Close admission desk. You will receive prior notification of your exact timeslot via email.
About The Real Mary King's Close:
The iconic image of 17th century Edinburgh is of dank and bustling alleyways tightly sandwiched between lofty high-rise tenement buildings. These 'closes' formed the nucleus of city life, where traders touted their wares, children played in the street, and artisans worked their craft behind doors ajar. Mary King’s Close was one such warren that stemmed tendril-like off of Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Named after a prominent businesswoman from the 1630s, its name is synonymous nowadays with tales of haunting, murder, and most famously of all, plague.
But out of the countless similar passageways intersecting 17th century Edinburgh how did Mary King's garner the grisly reputation that has today made it one of the city's top tourist attractions? Maybe it's the forgotten nature of the place. Once exposed to a thin strip of open sky the close was essentially 'decapitated' in the 18th century, demolished across the top and its lower half used as foundation for the Royal Exchange. Pushed underground and eventually sealed to the public it became a place of urban legend. Stories abounded of plague victims who were walled up in their own homes and left to die, and of terrifying hauntings and dire living conditions.
However, there was life in Mary King's Close for hundreds of years, and very often truth is even more fascinating than sensation. On this tour a professional costumed guide will separate fact from fiction while preserving the most spine-tingling legends. You'll walk through the actual homes of former residents and learn about the daily lives of Edinburgh citizens from the 16th-19th centuries. You may even experience your own run-in with the paranormal! Stay close to the tour group and revel in the exciting hour long storytelling experience.
Prior to the start of your tour you'll be able to enjoy a short introductory exhibition about the history of the close, then at the end you'll be invited to relax in the new Royal Exchange Coffee House and browse keepsakes in the gift shop.