The Real Mary King's Close

In a nutshell

One of the best ways to learn about life in Edinburgh in centuries past.


2 Warriston\'s Close, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PG

Contact details

Tel: 0131 225 0672

Activity type

Historical Sites, Indoor Activities, Theatre and Entertainment

Suitable for

Ages 5 - 12, Schools and Groups, Teenagers

Price guide


(based on family of 4)

The Real Mary King's Close details...

Travel down the steps and back in time to 17th century Edinburgh in this unique attraction. In Mary King’s Close (Narrow street or alley), streets that were once the busy and thriving heart of the old town lie frozen in time beneath your feet, perfectly preserved and forgotten for nearly 200 years when the Royal Exchange was built over them. Follow your costumed guide on a tour through the preserved houses, shops and streets and find out how the people of Edinburgh lived, worked and died when these streets were still open to the skies above.

Edinburgh is said to have housed the world’s first “skyscrapers” and this is a unique opportunity to glimpse life in these tenement buildings, up to seven storeys high, where rich and poor, servant and master, lived stacked one above the other. Hear how Europe and Edinburgh in particular, was affected by the plague and why it was a very good idea to stay indoors at seven in the morning and ten at night! Over the centuries, Edinburgh’s hidden closes became the stuff of urban legend, a rich seam for stories of ghosts, murders and body snatching and you may well hear a little of this as well. Mary King’s Coffee House in the wonderful setting of the historic Burgh Courtroom serves snacks, lunches and afternoon teas.

Tours take around 1 hour and must be booked in advance  (0131 225 0672,  www.realmarykingsclose.com/booking/) but it is a good idea to arrive ahead of your time slot to view the full exhibition. Due to the nature of the attraction under 5’s are not admitted.

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Coronavirus Notice

Stay safe. Coronavirus advice is being updated regularly. Some attractions are starting to reopen with social distancing measures in place. Enjoy browsing the site for trips and please check directly with the venue before visiting.  Let’s Go with the Children is here to help and support families with ideas and information on what attractions are re-opening.