The Vaults Under Edinburgh – A Ghost Tour

The Vaults Under Edinburgh - A Ghost Tour. Click for photos of this amazing place! Travel Scotland, Photography, Outdoor adventures, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel Tips, Ghost Tours, #Edinburgh #Scotland #Traveltips #ghosttours #EdinburghVaults

When I found out about the underground vaults in Edinburgh, Scotland, I had to go on the ghost tour. I knew from previous experience that I would learn about Scottish culture and Edinburgh’s interesting characters. But it was the vaults that intrigued me. I figured they were some kind of tunnel system or crypts. They were neither.

Ghost tour of the Vaults under Edinburgh. Click for photos of this amazing adventure! Edinburgh, Scotland, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel Scotland, Travel tips, Outdoor adventures, Ghost tours, #Edinburgh #Scotland #Travelscotland #traveltips #ghosttours

As Edinburgh grew in population, South Bridge was built in the 1780’s to connect Old Towne with the University. It was the first planned shopping district. One hundred and twenty rooms or vaults were constructed under the bridge’s nineteen arches. Above ground along the bridge, taverns, shops, and tradesman moved in. Below these fine establishments, vaults were commonly used for storage or for workshops. Up to four floors of vaults were constructed and were linked by tunnels and stairs.

destinationsukedinburghvaults1

Illustration from HistoricUK.com

All went well until the merchants discovered the hastily built bridge leaked. As the filthy runoff seeped in, (they tossed human waste from the windows above), the businesses pulled out.

By the 1820’s, the vaults were overrun with the poorest people of Edinburgh and Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine. Illegal gambling and distilleries popped up. Lightless, damp, and without proper ventilation, sanitation, or water, living conditions were horrible in these slums. Murders and robberies became commonplace.

Inside the Edinburgh Vaults with our guide. Click for photographs of this amazing place! Edinburgh vaults, travel Scotland, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel tips, Ghost tours, #traveltips #travelEuropedestinations #travelScotland #travelEdinburgh #Ghosttours

This was a perfect haven for two of Edinburgh’s most favorite characters, Burke and Hare who soon discovered a lucrative business. The University paid good money for corpses for its medical students. The two men found the vaults an overpopulated hunting ground. They got caught when their last victim didn’t die as planned. Although the details of their kills are sketchy, it is believed that they hid the bodies in the vaults.

Inside the Edinburgh Vaults on the Mercat Ghost Tour. Click for photos of this amazing place! Photography, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel Scotland, Travel UK, Bucketlist travel #Ghosttours #travel #traveltips #travelscotland #Edinburgh

At one point during the tour, our guide mentioned that a presence was known to haunt the vault in which we stood. He asked us if a name came to mind but didn’t give us much time to answer. John popped into my head. He said people guessed Jack or James. Close! A little boy ghost sometimes holds the hand of women on the tour. Not mine. *chills*

Mercat Ghost Tour Guide, Allen, holds a candle inside the Edinburgh Vaults. Click for photos of the tour! Edinburgh Ghost tour, Travel Edinburgh, Scotland, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel tips, Mercat tours, Travel Scotland #Travel #traveltips #bucketlist #ghosttours #Edinburghvaults

The vaults were closed from the 1800’s until the 1980’s when a Scottish Rugby player, Norrie Rowan discovered a tunnel. He hid a man seeking asylum from Romania in 1989. Then in the 1990’s, Rowan and his son excavated tons of rock from the vaults. It reopened to nightclubs, Fringe Fest, and ghost tours in the 2000’s.

The Vaults Under Edinburgh. Click for photos of this amazing place! Travel Scotland, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel tips, Charles II Statue, mercat tours #ghosttour #ghosts #creepystories #Scotland

The walkways between buildings or closes are creepy even during daylight hours.

In an Edinburgh Close during a ghost tour! Click for photos of the Edinburgh Vaults! Mercat tours, Edinburgh tours, travel edinburgh, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel Scotland #Mercattours #traveltips #travelEdinburgh #scotland #ghosttours

Town hangings took place right where we met on the grounds of St. Giles. A few criminals didn’t die right away. While one was set free by the town as a sign that God forgave him, the other was rehanged. Tough crowd.

Ghost tour of the Vaults under Edinburgh. Click for photos of this amazing adventure! Edinburgh, Scotland, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel Scotland, Travel tips, Outdoor adventures, Ghost tours #Edinburgh #Scotland #Travelscotland #traveltips #ghosttours

The two-hour tour ended with a shot of whiskey in a very dark, damp, and musty smelling vault. I lifted my glass of soda and toasted to the lack of public lynching and serial killers. I felt very safe even though a chill wind ran up my back on the way back to the car.

Whiskey time after the Mercat Ghost Tour of the Edinburgh Vaults, Travel tips, Travel Scotland, Travel Europe destinations, Mercat Ghost tours, #Traveltips #Scotland #Mercattours #TravelUK #Edinburgh #thingstodo

Have you been on a ghost tour? Is Edinburgh, Scotland on your bucket list?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride.

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Haunted Ghost Tours – Why You Should Go!

Inspired by Stephen King Country – Maine

Ghost Walk – A Ghost Tour in Breckenridge.

39 thoughts on “The Vaults Under Edinburgh – A Ghost Tour

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  1. Fascinating post, Susie. Looks like you could really get the feel of the place from all five senses. To top it all off, your guide was a Rasputin doppleganger! Eerie…..

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  2. I had once been to a ghost tour in Sydney. It was not as frightening as I expected it to be, but what was interesting was the guide’s narrative. He was a good story teller. Your pictures especially took me down the memory lane 🙂 Good post.

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  3. I’ve been to Edinburgh, when I was a maritime cadet. And I’m pretty sure I went on a ghost tour back then. I’m also pretty sure at the time I was more interested in having a half pint somewhere.

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  4. Nice one Susie, the tour looked brilliant. Edinburgh is an amazingly interesting city isn’t it? Think it may have creeped me out a little though as I’m a real wimp.

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  5. Edinburgh is definitely on my bucket list! 🙂 I travel quite a lot for my age… I think but I wish I could travel even more. Love this post Susie ❤

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  6. Hi well written 😊 but technically the dead know nothing they are in a deep sleep…Ecclesiastes 9:5 (KJV)
    For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

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