Completing my Bucket List

The Real Mary King’s Close

Hidden beneath the Royal Mile, lies one of Edinburgh’s deepest secrets – The Real Mary King’s Close. This warren of hidden ‘closes’ or narrow streets where real people lived, worked and died, lay forgotten and covered by the City Chambers on the Royal Mile for centuries, until in 2003 it opened as a fascinating new visitor attraction for Edinburgh.
Operated by Continuum Attractions, this VisitScotland five-star attraction allows visitors to step back in time and be guided through these famous underground closes to witness some of the most dramatic episodes from Edinburgh’s incredible past.
Visitors will discover some of the most dramatic episodes from Edinburgh’s incredible past and hear the real stories of the people who lived, worked and died here between the 16th and 20th centuries.


Our Tour guide was Mary King’s Daughter – Jonet Nimmo, who guided us through the history of hidden Edinburgh. Hear about how people used to live back in the 1600’s, learn about the families and the plague that claimed the lives of a 3rd of the population.


Meet the plague doctor

Visit a house where the poor would live – a family of 12 in one room with only a bucket for a toilet and no fire for light or cooking.  It was the youngest child’s job in the home to empty the toilet bucket out of the window twice a day, shouting “Gardyloo” to warn the neighbours.  The rain would then wash the waste down the street into the local water supply (how lovely!) so it was safer for everyone, including the children, to drink alcohol.


Fun Fact: When you are visiting Mary King’s Close bring along a toy to leave for “Annie” – the resident ghost, or leave some money in her room which will be donated to the sick kids friends foundation.


I won’t tell you any more of the history, as you will learn this for yourself on your visit.  The tour is interesting, fun and informative with a little ghost story thrown in there too.   As this isn’t a ghost tour this experience would be suitable for all of the family.


At the end of your tour stop for a souvenir photo.

Make sure to add a visit to Mary King’s Close to your Edinburgh bucket list.

Pre-booking tickets are recommended and you can view opening times, and book online here.

Thank you to The Real Mary King’s Close for this experience.

**All photos are property of The Real Mary King’s Close.**

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