Public Tours

For the book lover who wants to explore Edinburgh's hidden literary sites.

About the Public Tour

The tour leaves the Royal Mile and heads across to Southside, the traditional literary quarter of Edinburgh, virtually next door to the Old Town. Here we walk through the old medical quarter, the university campus, and other sites, encountering the haunts of Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie, Sir Walter Scott, J.K. Rowling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Bell (inspiration for Sherlock Holmes), Patrick Watson (inspiration for Holmes’s Dr. Watson), W.E. Henley (inspiration for Long John Silver), and others.

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Days and Times

Sundays only at 11.30am

Additional Tours for

The Edinburgh International Fringe Festival

11.30am on Tuesdays

11.30am on Wednesdays

11.30am on Fridays

11.30am on Saturdays

11.30am on Sundays


The tour takes approximately 90 minutes, covering a circular route of around 1 mile over mostly flat terrain.


£20 per person

Where can I buy tickets?

To reserve your place on the tour we suggest you buy in advance through eventbrite.

Alternatively you can turn up on the day and simply pay the guide (Allan Foster) outside the Writers' Museum a few minutes before departure. Please note there are no card facilities on the tour so payment on the day is by cash only. 

Allan always aims to be outside around 15 minutes before departure. If he is not there when you arrive, just wait around the entrance or visit the Writers' Museum (admission free), but be back outside for a prompt departure at the start time.


Please note that the tour is not affiliated to the Writers’ Museum, which does not sell tickets for the tour.

Meeting point

The tour starts from outside The Writers’ Museum in Lady Stair’s Close, just off the Lawnmarket, near the top of the Royal Mile.


If approaching from Princes Street, walk up the Mound. After the Wash Bar on your right climb the steps up to The Writers' Museum.


If approaching from the Royal Mile, find Deacon Brodie’s Tavern (435 Lawnmarket). As you face the tavern on the Mile you will see the tunnelled entrance of Wardrop’s Close to the left of the tavern. This Close will lead you down to the tour departure point. 

End Point

The tour finishes across from the National Museum of Scotland, on Forrest Road, just a few minutes’ walk from the Royal Mile.