Edinburgh audio tour: A History of Witchcraft in Scotland: From Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle

A History of Witchcraft in Scotland: From Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle

Walking Tour

75 mins

About the Tour

This walking tour brings together centuries of history and folklore by telling the sad stories of thousands of innocent women who were persecuted during the Scottish witchcraft panics. It focuses on a public hysteria about witchcraft, and the tortures and trials that came with it – especially during the reign of King James VI of Scotland – but real women are at the centre of the tale, as is what life would have been like here back in the 1500s and 1600s. But we’ll hear about women who were called witches later too, all the way through to the 1900s.

Our journey begins outside Holyrood Palace, the home of Scottish royalty, and from there we’ll work our way up the famous Royal Mile and weave through the Old Town’s alleyways and closes until we are in the shadows of Edinburgh Castle.

The subject matter of this tour may be dark, but it is important that this particular era in history is remembered. The line between fact and fiction is often blurred when you discuss witches and witchcraft, but by staying focused on real history, real women and the impact of witch panics on Scotland, I hope this tour leaves you with a much clearer understanding of this important chapter in the country’s history.

Tour Producer


Katrina Milne

Hi, my name is Kat - I am originally from the North East of Scotland. I relocated to the city of Edinburgh 7 years ago to study at University. I have a degree in Tourism Management and focussed my university thesis paper on Scottish film sites, and in particular, Harry Potter.

In 2018 I started my own tour company - Travel Kat Tours. We specialise in small group and private tours around the U.K. leaving from Edinburgh. Our Walking Tour in Edinburgh is one of the top rated experiences on Airbnb and we have taken over 2000 clients on our tours since our launch in 2018. We have 5-star rating reviews and thrive upon showcasing our beautiful country.

When I am not showing guests around Edinburgh, I also maintain a travel blog and try to explore as much as I can. I have been lucky enough to have visited over 50 countries, but I still maintain that Scotland is my favourite!

Major Landmarks

  • Royal Mile

  • St Giles Cathedral

  • John Knox's House

  • Scottish Parliament

  • Museum of Edinburgh

  • The Witchery

  • Edinburgh Castle

Directions to Starting Point

The tour will start outside the Palace of Holyrood, on Horse's Wynd which is situated on the right corner - you will see the Holyrood Park information centre. We will begin on the corner next to the black iron gates.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Holyrood Palace, Museum of Childhood (free musuem), John Knox's house, St. Giles Cathedral (free entry) and Edinburgh Castle. If you want to treat yourself to a special lunch or dinner you can also visit the Witchery Restaurant near the end of our tour.

Best time of day

Early morning is best if you want the streets to be quiet. The Holyrood Palace is open for tours at 09:30 if you want to visit there first. If you also want to visit the Scottish Parliament, you can do so for free.


The Closes and alleyways can be very dark, if you are visiting in winter bear in mind the limited daylight hours. During the months of July and August the city is very busy, be aware of your surroundings.


Very informative and easy to follow. Well done!

Posted by Siusan Winchester , 12 months ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
A History of Witchcraft in Scotland: From Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle