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Edinburgh Walking Tours


Old Town + The Royal Mile Free Tour

You will learn about the history of this medieval city, with more than 3000 years, from St Giles Cathedral & Edinburgh Castle walk along the Royal Mile to see the main sites of Edinburgh.
Schedule: Daily
Start Time: 10:00, 11:00, 16:00
Tour Language: English
Duration: 2 hours
View Highlights

Old Town + The Royal Mile Free Tour Highlights

    • Historical introduction to Edinburgh

    • Royal Mile

    • Victoria Street

    • Grassmarket

    • Greyfriars Cemetery

    • Bobby dog

    • Mysteries about Harry Potter

    • Mackenzie and paranormal activity

    • National Museum of Scotland

    • Writers Museum

    • St. Giles Cathedral

    • Presbyterianism

    • David Hume

    • Public executions

    • Maggie Dickson

    • Heart of Midlothian

    • Mercat Cross

    • Fringe Festival

Edinburgh is one of the most historic cities in Scotland and the entire United Kingdom and should be on your bucket list.

The city's 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 walkable city.

There are 4 types of free walking tours available in Edinburgh, Scotland:

  • Old Town
  • New Town
  • Harry Potter-themed Tours
  • Ghost Tours

We are a group of local walking tour guides who lead daily walking tours in Edinburgh. We have also written several self-guided walks and recorded two city audio tours.

And, in the video below, Margaret, one of our local guides, takes you on a virtual walk of Edinburgh's Old Town.

We let you know about your options, provide schedules, and explain what you will see on each tour.

Hope to see you on one of our tours!



Below is a calendar of some of the great walking tours available in Edinburgh, all from local guides.

Searching Availability...

More Tour Options? More tours are available in the individual tour sections below.

This schedule above is for tours in English. Click here for tours in other languages, such as Spanish, German, or Italian.

This model of "free" tours is tours that are free to take. There's no need to pay at the end, but you can if you want. Engaging locals adds to the experience by offering understanding and insights. You can pay what you think the walk was worth at the tour's end, even nothing.

According to reviews on TripAdvisor, most people give €5 to €20 per adult to the tour guide when they like the tour.

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


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.

We offer a 2-hour guided walk daily at 10:00 a.m. and again at 11:00 a.m. In summer months, you'll find afternoon tours as well. Book this tour here.

GPS-Enabled Audio Tour

We also offer an audio tour of historic Edinburgh, researched, written, and recorded by one of our own tour guides, that you could take whenever you wish.

Map of Edinburgh Attractions

Here’s a sample.

  1. Purchase an audio tour (£2.30)
  2. Get a confirmation email with .mp3, pdf, and embeddable Google Map
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).


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
  • The 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.

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.

And, in the video below, Margaret, our local Edinburgh Muggle, takes you on a virtual tour of Potter locations in the city.

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 (£2.30)
  2. Get a confirmation email with .mp3, .pdf, and embeddable Google Map
  3. Enjoy the tour(s).


There are a few different haunted tours that are free in Edinburgh, but for some reason Google doesn't want us to mention that here, so we've created an entirely new post that focuses specifically on this subject.

If you're interested in learning more or booking one of these outings, please read our new article about free Ghost Tours in Edinburgh.

Free Tours with Tourist Passes

If you're planning to explore multiple attractions in Edinburgh, the Edinburgh City Pass may be your best value for the trip.

With this pass, visitors can access free walking tours at no additional cost, including:

  • Edinburgh Castle Tour
  • The Royal Yacht Britannia
  • The Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • Edinburgh Bus Tours
  • Auld Reekie Tours
  • Edinburgh Zoo
  • Museum of Edinburgh

By purchasing the Edinburgh City Pass, you not only gain access to these amazing spots of the old city of Edinburgh but also enjoy the best value of your visit without the need to queue.

Whether engaging with local history or uncovering sinister stories, this pass offers a more personalized experience for your Edinburgh exploration.

We have a guide to the Edinburgh City Pass to help you decide if it is a good deal for your trip.


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: May 14th, 2024

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