As the cold winter nights draw in and the skies glitter with snow, a festive feeling fills Edinburgh. Christmas can be found on every street as the city sparkles with excitement, however, it wasn’t always like that….

This December guests can step beneath the historic Royal Mile and uncover a darker side to the holiday season, with the return of Scotland’s Yuletide Past at The Real Mary King’s Close. Join a Victorian tour guide and travel back in time, take a walk through the narrow closes and explore the traditions of years gone by. From the myths of festive faeries and spirits, to how Christmas celebrations evolved into the cherished traditions of today, this tour offers a unique insight into how Scots celebrated (or perhaps didn’t celebrate) the festive time of year.

Mary King’s Close

Scotland’s Yuletide Past is a one hour tour experience, and is returning for a limited period following a sell-out run in 2016. The perfect pre-Christmas activity to escape the hustle and bustle, this unique tour also includes a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate. Taking place nightly at 5:15 pm from the 18th to the 22nd of December, tickets are priced at £15.95 for adults and £13.95 for concessions. As this seasonal tour has a history of selling out quickly, make sure you pick up tickets in advance at

Tour creator Keith Baxter comments:

At The Real Mary King’s Close we pride ourselves on telling Edinburgh’s history in an authentic and exciting way. When it came to exploring the origins of Christmas in Scotland, we discovered that the festivities of yesteryear were not like they are today. Scotland’s Yuletide Past focuses on the darker side of the season, documenting how traditions have changed through the ages.

The Real Mary King’s Close will be open throughout the Christmas period, closing only on Christmas Day. If you’re looking for a special gift for your nearest and dearest, or a unique experience for a work colleague, why not treat them to a gift voucher from The Real Mary King’s Close?


Mary King’s Close

The Real Mary King’s Close is operated by Continuum Attractions. Continuum Attractions offers a host of cultural visitor attraction experiences across the UK, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to the story of chocolate at York’s Chocolate Story.

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