Photographs by Colin Myers photography

Thistle Street Bar
Edinburgh Walking Tours

There’s so much for visitors to see and do in Edinburgh and a walking tour is the ideal way to get to know the city. But, why book your walking tour through the *Thistle Street Bar?

  • Explore Edinburgh’s true history as told by a guide born & raised in our city
  • Small groups (no more than 12 people) for a more personal experience
  • Premium audio headphones so you can hear your tour guide clearly above the hustle and bustle of the city
  • Choose from our pre-planned tours outlined below, or one designed around your specific historical interests

Read on to find out more about these tours and how to book. And, if you find yourself near Thistle Street, the oldest street in the New Town of Edinburgh, drop by and say hello.

Robert Shepherd

Landlord

Thistle Street Bar

*Please note, although one of tours is suitable for children aged 12 years and over we only allow adults who are 18 years and over to the Thistle Street Bar.  

Burke & Hare: The West Port Murders Tour

Dr Robert Knox

Edinburgh, 200 hundred years ago, was Britain’s centre of medical excellence. Students flocked from far and wide to gain their medical degrees of which anatomy was an essential part. However, to study anatomy you need bodies, and the only bodies which could be legally used for medical research were those of executed criminals. But, with such a high demand there needs to be a constant supply. Meet William Burke and William Hare, two Irish immigrant labourers and Scotland’s first serial killers who murdered people for profit and sold their bodies to the flamboyant and ambitious anatomist, Robert Knox.

Burke & Hare: The West Port Murders Tour takes place in the historic Grassmarket area of Edinburgh. Our knowledgeable guide will take you on a journey through the murky Old Town of 1828 to the exact locations where the murders took place and will explain in detail about the brutal conditions which led to these heinous crimes.

Our tour has been based on facts surrounding the case from credible sources and a wealth of research; as such, it is a must for anyone interested in true crime history and the seedy underworld of Edinburgh’s Old Town at the close of the Georgian era.

Please note, due to its dark nature, this tour is only suitable for people who are 18 years of age and over. To book online with Eventbrite click the button below. Or, if you would like a tour designed around your specific historical interests, please drop us an email to welcome@thistlestreetbar.com. 

Old Town Historic Tour

The half-moon battery at Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh is a city with two faces, the wide windswept streets of the New Town built during the Georgian period; and the cramped Old Town which grew from the extinct rocky outcrop and down Castlehill into what became the Royal Mile which stretched from the Castle at one end to the Palace of Holyrood House at the other.

Beginning on the Castle Esplanade, our 3-hour tour will take you across the centuries from the birth of the Old Town to the present day. We will not only cover the key, historic events which took place in our glorious city, but also point out film locations for programmes and movies such as Outlander and Avengers: Infinity War.

Our Tour Covers the Following

  • The role Edinburgh Castle played during our city’s turbulent history including the Jacobite siege of 1745 plus other true stories of this most spectacular medieval fortress.
  • The innocents executed on Castlehill under the Witchcraft Act of 1563 including Agnes Sampson and Geillis Duncan – the latter being the inspiration for the Outlander character.
  • Stories about the historic buildings and closes (gated alleyways) which have defined our historic city.
  • John Knox and the Reformation
  • Edinburgh on the big and small screen – film locations for Outlander, Avengers: Infinity War and more          
Please note, children 12 years of age and over are welcome on this tour but only if accompanied by an adult. To book online with Eventbrite please click the button below. Or, if you would like a tour designed around your specific historical interests, please drop us an email to welcome@thistlestreetbar.com. 

Prince Charles Edward Stuart

Bakehouse Close as featured in Outlander