Charlotte in Greyfriars Churchyard

© Walk The Old Town

Greyfriars Churchyard

Crime and Punishment Tour

A 1 hr Historical walking tour through Edinburgh's criminal past

In 1826, Edinburgh earned the epithet "The Athens of the North" for its pivotal role in nurturing exceptional talent and pioneering advancements in science, technology, and heavy industry. As the 19th century witnessed an unprecedented industrial and economic surge, Edinburgh emerged as a haven for multitudes of refugees fleeing the ravages of the Industrial Revolution. Consequently, the city became a juxtaposition of affluence and destitution, with the New Town housing the nouveau rich and the Old Town devolving into an inner-city slum plagued by poverty and crime.

This guided tour illuminates the stark contrast between the haves and have-nots during this transformative period. Participants will delve into the chilling chronicles of murder, mayhem, grave-robbing, vagrancy, and the punitive measures imposed upon those driven to lawlessness by desperation. The narrative unfolds with bloodcurdling accounts of conmen turned killers, gibbeted pirates, witch burnings, decapitated political dissidents, regicide, fires, mob hysteria, and the grim fate of those hung, drawn, and quartered. The tour also leads to the site of an open-air prison nestled in the heart of the Old Town. This experience is not tailored for the faint-hearted but promises to enthrall those seeking a spine-tingling encounter with Edinburgh's dark and tumultuous past.

From £18 per adult

Departure days

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

January — December

Contact details

Walk The Old Town

High Street
City of Edinburgh

Key facilities

  • Level Access
  • Pets Welcome

Tour information


  • Edinburgh - City Centre




  • Walking


  • Bespoke
  • Medium Group (17-30)
  • Private
  • Small Group (1-16)


  • English


  • Crime

Tour prices

From £18 Per Adult £15 Per Child £15 Concession

Book now

Prices are subject to change depending on season

Walk The Old Town

Tour company information

Walk The Old Town

1 Hour Historical walking tours of Edinburgh's Old Town. We offer a uniquely different take on the usual walking tour. Our splendidly attired guides offers a visual feast amidst the spectacular backdrop of Britain's most picturesque city. Our guides will transport you to Scotland's golden age and regale the visitor with engaging stories of Edinburgh. We have just won an award in Excellence in Service in Scotland given by Travel and Hospitality awards of which we are very proud so you can be assured you get the best value for money.

Opening times

Wednesdays to Sundays: 10am until 4pm.

We run 4 walking tours a day and these starts at the following times:
10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm

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