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Free Walking Tours Edinburgh


There are 4 types of free walking tours available in Edinburgh, one of Old Town, one of the New Town, a Harry Potter-themed tour, as well as a ghost tour.

In this post, we let you know about your options, provide schedules, and explain what you will see on each tour.

Free Tours Edinburgh


Every traveler should have Edinburgh on the top of their bucket list. Its rich past, royal legacy, and elegant medieval streets will make you wish you never had to leave.

The well-known spots are also close together, which makes it a perfect city to explore on foot.

This model of "free" tours is technically tours that are free to take with no obligation to pay anything at the end.


Below is a calendar of some of the great free walking tours available in Edinburgh. Click on the entry below to expand the listing for more details.

However, they are popularly understood as pay-what-you-like tours. You can pay what you think your walk was worth or what you could afford at the tour's end, even nothing. 

According to online reviews, most participants contribute between €5 to €20 per adult to the tour guide when they felt the tour was good. 

Free Walking Tours Edinburgh

These free tours are usually well-reviewed, as good as any other walking tour in Edinburgh.

In Edinburgh, the selection of free tours includes:

Due to their affordable nature, pay-what-you-wish tours tend to attract more backpackers and families, many looking for a budget-friendly alternative.

Some companies can have groups of 30 or more participants while others have lower caps, and this is more of a concern in the busy season.

However, according to online reviews, only occasional complaints are registered about group sizes being too big.

NOTE: If you are considering purchasing a tourist attraction discount pass, then note that the Edinburgh City Pass includes several walking tours absolutely free.

The Edinburgh City Pass bundles together 23 tours and attractions into one discounted ticket or gives you discounted entry.


This section provides information about each of the pay-what-you-like Edinburgh tours which cover the older parts of the city, including historical details to show how Edinburgh became such a notable location.


You can expect to see the following sites during these tours:

  • Royal Mile
  • Grassmarket
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Canongate Church
  • Mercat Cross
  • Scottish Parliament
  • Queen’s Palace
  • And more!

If you want to learn more about these locations, please consider taking our GPS-led audio tour one of the pay-what-you-wish walking tours listed below.

GPS-Enabled Audio Tour

We also offer an audio tour of historic Edinburgh, researched, written, and recorded by one of our own tour guides.

Map of Edinburgh Attractions

Here’s a sample.

  1. Purchase an audio tour.
  2. Get a confirmation email with .mp3, .pdf, and embeddable Google Map
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).

Sandemans New Europe 

This company offers English, German, and Spanish tourists a 2.5-hour tour that covers all the top attractions in Edinburgh.

They’re quite popular and offer 5 tour times a day which leaves every hour after 10:00 am.

You can book the following times here

  • 10:00 
  • 11:00
  • 12:00
  • 13:00 (1 pm)
  • 14:00 (2 pm)

Orange Tours

Every day at 11 am, this company offers a pay-what-you-wish walking tour which provides information about the history and culture of Edinburgh.

This tour is around 2 hours in length and it covers a lot of the most notable sites in the city, including some landmarks like Mercat Cross, St. Giles’ Cathedral, and more.

This company also offers a free Harry Potter tour, as well as a ghost tour. 

City Explorers

City Explorers Free Tours offers three 2-hour tours every day starting at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, and 13:00 (1:00 pm) in English or Spanish.

This company also offers free tours of New City, Harry Potter, and a ghost tour.


As the name implies, this section will cover some of the more notable modern areas of the city, providing details about the recent history of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh New City Tour

If you’re looking for tips about the best places to eat or the most interesting newer attractions in the city, this is probably the best type of tour to take.

While on a New City tour, you can expect to see popular landmarks and sites such as these:

  • Princes Street Gardens
  • Scottish Prime Minister’s House
  • Scottish National Gallery
  • Main street for shops, pubs, restaurants
  • Best views in the city
  • Calton Hill
  • And more!

To see these sites and learn more about them, consider taking the following tours.

City Explorers

In addition to their Old City tour, this company also offers an outing that covers the newer, more modern areas of Edinburgh as well.

This New City tour is available in both English and Spanish every Sunday and Thursday at 14:00 (2 pm).


Did you know that Edinburgh was actually one of the biggest influences on the Harry Potter franchise?

Many of the locations from the book are inspired by real-life places in this city.

And to learn a bit more about these sights, or to visit on your own, take a look at our self-guided tour of Potter locations in Edinburgh.

Discover how Edinburgh became the birthplace of this young prodigy wizard who would eventually take the world by storm

There are at least two companies currently offering pay-what-you-wish walking tours which cover the many ties between Edinburgh and Harry Potter.

You can expect to see and learn about some of the following locations on this tour:

  • The Original Diagon Alley
  • The Inspiration for Hogwarts
  • The Elephant House
  • Where Lord Voldemort Was Buried
  • Cafes and Hotels Which Inspired J.K. Rowling
  • Discover the Origins of Quidditch
  • And more!

If these sites and subjects are of interest, consider taking one of the following free walking tours.

Free Harry Potter Tour Edinburgh


GPS-Enabled Audio Tour

We also offer an audio tour of Harry Potter sights in Edinburgh, researched, written, and recorded by one of our own tour guides.

Harry Potter Tour Route Map

Here’s a sample.

  1. Purchase an audio tour.
  2. Get a confirmation email with .mp3, .pdf and embeddable Google Map
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).

Orange Tours

In addition to their other free tours, Orange Tours offers a 1 ½ hour tour which is available in English and Spanish each day at 13:30 (1:30 pm).

Book this tour or learn more.

City Explorers

This tour covers both landmarks and people who inspired characters in the books over the course of 1 ½ hours, and it is available daily at 14:00 (2 pm).


The history of this city is filled with legends and myths, but there’s also a darker side to Edinburgh’s past. 

Learn about some of the creepier and more disturbing aspects of Edinburgh’s past, including tales of witchery, body-snatching, assassinations, and even the plague.

There are at least two free ghost tours you can take in Edinburgh.

You can expect to see or hear about some of the following subjects:

  • Haunted Graveyards
  • Burke and Hare Murders
  • History of Public Executions
  • The Real Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
  • History of Witch Trials
  • And more!

Consider one of the following pay-what-you-wish ghost tours if you want to discover the haunted history of this city.

Orange Tours

This 1 ½ hour free ghost tour is available in both English and Spanish, and it’s offered every night at 18:00 (6 pm).

Find out more or book this tour.

City Explorers

Available in both English and Spanish, this 1 ½ hour free walking tour begins at 19:00 (7 pm) every night.


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: October 21st, 2021

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