Edinburgh is a city of wonder and mystery, carrying secrets long buried by the echoes of the past. Thankfully, history does not have amnesia – the Scottish capital’s fascinating past can be uncovered at the city’s newest walking tour – the Historical Gems Tour. Led by a dressed-up theatrical character, such as a detective, visitors and locals alike will be able to uncover unique facts about Edinburgh’s Old Town, as well as indulge in some authentic fudge tasting.
The Historical Gems Tour is organised by Enthral Experiences, who are also behind the Witches Tour which includes a visit to the underground vaults at The Lost Close. The tours aim to bring “history and culture to life through immersive actor-led walking tours”, making walking tours not just a boring history lecture.
The Historical Gems Tour kicks off starting on February 9, inviting guests to experience Auld Reekie in a different light. Secret Edinburgh got the chance to take a sneak peek at the tour first-hand, and it’s even better than it sounds.
First, we were led by a detective (with a magnifying glass, a hat and a pipe and everything): the tour starts outside Cafe Nero near the Mercat Cross on The Royal Mile, uncovering the gruesome past of the monument as well as some unicorn spotting. As unicorns are the national animal of Scotland, unicorn spotting has become a habit for many.
The expedition then makes its way down The Royal Mile exploring the tucked-away closes, unusual architectural additions used back in the day, Edinburgh’s old water system, ‘Outlander’ filming locations and (our favourite) the pocket gardens hidden away from the worst tourist trap in the UK.
What is more, guests get the chance to sample some Scottish fudge and tablet from The Fudge House and learn more about the Caledonian desert. Overall, the tour is interactive and expertly-written, keeping visitors engaged by the professional actor.
The tour takes around one hour and 15 minutes, ending at the Holyrood Palace, and with some more unicorn spotting, we shall add. Plus, keep in mind the tour takes place no matter the weather, so be sure to check the weather forecast before embarking on the journey. It is also probably best to leave those stilettos at home!
Those interested in trying it out themselves can book a spot on the Historical Gems website.