Edinburgh is the perfect place to celebrate all things spooky all year round. But in October, the air is crisp and the sky is dark by early evening, providing the ideal partner for spooky tales and tours of Edinburgh’s haunted past.
With its rich history in dark goings-on, Edinburgh has lots to offer for those wishing to be scared on the spookiest night of the year. We’ve listed a selection of things to do in Scotland’s capital that are sure to send shivers of dread down your spine!
Mary Kings Close
No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a visit to its most infamous street, Mary King’s Close. The close was named after a local woman, Mary King, in the 17th century when she built a business after the death of her husband. For more information on the history of Mary King’s Close, we suggest you read this blog by local Edinburgh blogger Wandering Crystal.
The entrance to the popular tourist attraction is located on Edinburgh’s central High Street, midway between Deacon Brodies (another famous Edinburgh landmark) and Edinburgh Castle. Tours run throughout the day, and on Halloween, there’s an option for a spectacularly spooky lantern-led tour and dinner. Do you dare to delve into the darkness with only a lantern to light the way, as you are guided into the depths of the dank close? Alternatively, True Crime buffs would be delighted with the attraction’s first True Crimes tour. These tours are bookable on various dates in October, including All Hallows Eve itself.
The Edinburgh Dungeons
While many may consider the 22-year-old Edinburgh Dungeon a relatively new attraction to the city, it has rapidly established itself as a must-see destination of any self-respecting tourist’s city itinerary. The 70-minute walk-through tour uses a combination of immersive sets, live actors, special effects and thrilling rides to bring 1000 years of spooky Scottish history to life.
Located next to Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, the Dungeons give you a glimpse into the dark past of Edinburgh courthouses, Torture chambers, caves and characters, so be prepared to be scared!
This Halloween, the Dungeons invite guests to gather in the graveyard and call upon past spirits to join them in the tradition of the Celtic Harvest feast. All Hallows Eve is said to be the time when the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest, but be careful who you invite the Dungeons warn, it is not always the friendliest ghosts who join the table!
Underground Evening Tour with Whiskey
A chance to venture into the darkness of old Edinburgh with a tour of the underground passageways. Legend has it that town planners in the 1600s decided to build new houses over the old foundations of Edinburgh’s Old Town. This meant they would be closing off entire streets, leaving behind the remains of people who had died from the plague.
What better way to experience the dark going on than with a wee dram of whiskey to settle the nerves after you’ve seen this naturally spooky area of the capital city?
Ghost Tour of Greyfriars Kirk
The loveable Greyfriars Bobby statue is situated next to Greyfriars Kirk, just as Scotland’s beloved pup, Bobby, sat beside his master’s grave. But unknown to passersby who rub the nose of the little dog for luck, there is many a scary tale to be told of the graveyard located next to him.
Greyfriars Kirk is the final resting place of many historic Edinburgh residents, those who shaped the city we live in today. There’s also a solid link to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books within the cemetery, including the inspiration for well-known characters in the names inscribed on the gravestones of the deceased.
Where better to spend your Halloween night than ghost hunting in the most famous cemeteries in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh Zoo Spooktacular
For adults and kids alike, Edinburgh Zoo is always a fascinating day out and this Halloween, the zoo invites guests to family-friendly frights. Their illuminated trail is open from the 7th of October, until the 31st. The Spooktacular trail weaves its way through the zoo, you will meet weird and wonderful characters along the way. From skeletons to pirates to dragons and ghosts, the Edinburgh Zoo Halloween light trail has it all.
VIP tickets include entry to the zoo, a delicious supper in the restaurant and admission to walk the spooky trail when the sun has gone down.