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The Real Mary King’s Close

Last updated: 07 February, 2024

Far beneath the medieval streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town is one of its grittiest and most atmospheric, labyrinthine attractions.

As the capital’s elegant New Town was being built, many of the cramped, plague-ridden streets and tenements in the Old Town were simply bricked over. This is a real glimpse of 17th-century life rather than a Disneyesque experience.

Actors in character along the way include Mary King herself (an independent woman and successful merchant), a maid, a doctor, a poet – all weaving tales of daily life. It’s dark, it’s damp, it’s Les Miserables Scottish-style – with a touch of gallows humour.


Price from: £19
Minimum age: 5
Age suitable: 5+
When: All year around
Duration: 1 hour

Getting there & doing it

The standard entry includes a one-hour tour (all visits are on guided tours). You can also book private tours. This is a very popular attraction and only limited numbers can go down at any one time so book ahead. Wear sensible footwear. It’s dimly lit and uneven underfoot.

When to do it

It’s open all year round, seven days a week.