How to Take a Tour of Mary King's Close, Edinburgh's "Underground" City"

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How to Take a Tour of Mary King's Close, Edinburgh's "Underground" City"
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For hundreds of years, Edinburgh, Scotland, was a small city with a large population, cramming thousands of citizens into multistoried tenements accessible only by narrow streets called "closes." As the city expanded, some of these closes were buried under new construction, creating a ghostly "underground" city preserved from the 1600s. Mary King's Close was one of these fascinating streets and is easily accessible by underground tour.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Travel to the tour office. The Real Mary King's Close tours office is off of High Street in Old Town Edinburgh, on the Royal Mile between North Bridge and the George IV Bridge. If you are at North Bridge, walk up the hill on High Street toward Edinburgh Castle. If you are at George IV Bridge, walk down the hill on High Street, away from Edinburgh Castle.

  2. 2

    Continue walking past Old Assembly Close on your right, from North Bridge. Continue walking past Advocate's Close on your left , from George IV Bridge.

  3. 3

    Locate St. Giles Cathedral in four to five more blocks, on your right from George IV Bridge, and on your left from North Bridge. St. Giles is identifiable as a large stone church with an ornamental crown-shaped roof.

  4. 4

    Go directly across High Street from St. Giles and locate Warriston's Close, one of the many smaller closes that shoot off from High Street.

  5. 5

    Walk directly down the close past a snack shack on your left and enter the building ahead that reads "The Real Mary King's Close."

  6. 6

    Take a right into the Real Mary King's Close gift shop and ticket counter. Here you can purchase tickets or make a reservation for £10 (about £9, adult), £6 (about £5 for children 5 to 15) and £9 (about £9 for seniors and students). Tours leave every 20 minutes, seven days a week, starting at 10 a.m.

  7. 7

    Wait in the gift shop at least five minutes before your tour begins so you can easily meet your guide at the entrance to Mary King's Close, which is directly across from the ticket desk/cashier.

Tips and warnings

  • Children younger than 5 are not allowed on the tour.

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