Are there any guided ghost tours in Edinburgh suitable for children?

Edinburgh, the ancient capital of Scotland, is a city steeped in history and mystery. Its ancient streets and centuries-old buildings have thousands of stories to tell. Some of these tales are less than pleasant, as Edinburgh was a place of gruesome executions, plague outbreaks, and brutal wars. Today, these tales of terror have been transformed into spine-tingling ghost tours, which have become a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. But are there any ghost tours that are suitable for children? In this article, we will explore some of the best child-friendly ghost tours in Edinburgh.

Mercat Tours: The Ghostly Underground

First on our list is Mercat Tours, which offers a ghostly underground tour that takes you beneath the city into the Blair Street Underground Vaults. This tour promises an experience that is more historical than horrifying, making it ideal for families.

The vaults are a series of chambers formed in the 19th Century arches beneath South Bridge. In the past, these vaults housed taverns, cobblers, and even families. But as conditions in the vaults worsened, they became a haven for the city's most unsavory characters, eventually earning a reputation for being one of the most haunted places in Edinburgh.

On this tour, your guide will share the vaults' history and ghost stories in an engaging and appropriate manner for children. The guides are skilled at adjusting the tour's scare level to suit the age and comfort of the group. The tour typically lasts about 1.5 hours and parents are encouraged to book tickets in advance.

City of the Dead Tours: The Double Dead Walking Tour

If your children are slightly older and looking for a thrill, then the City of the Dead's Double Dead Walking Tour could be the perfect choice. This tour takes you through both the haunted South Bridge Vaults and the infamous Greyfriar's Cemetery, known for its violent poltergeist activity.

The tour is designed to be scary, but the guides are adept at making sure younger participants have a good time without getting too frightened. They weave tales of Edinburgh’s gruesome past, sharing stories of the plague victims, murderers, and tormented spirits said to haunt the vaults and cemetery.

While this tour may not be suitable for very young children, it could provide a thrilling experience for teens. Remember to book your tickets in advance and prepare for a chilling walk through the city's haunted history.

The Ghost Bus Tours: The Necrobus

For a more light-hearted and theatrical ghostly experience, consider The Ghost Bus Tours. This tour takes place on a classic 1960s Routemaster bus, which has been redesigned to be a "Necrobus", a unique combination of a bus and a theater. This allows children and adults to enjoy the city's ghost stories from the comfort of a bus seat.

The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, and during that time, you'll be entertained by the conductor's ghostly tales as you travel past some of the city's most haunted locations. From the historic Royal Mile to the ancient Holyrood Palace, the Ghost Bus Tour offers an engaging and entertaining way to learn about Edinburgh's spooky past.

The Ghost Bus Tours have received excellent reviews for their fun and family-friendly approach to ghost stories. As always, remember to book your tickets in advance to secure your seats on the Necrobus.

Edinburgh Walking Tours: The Children’s Ghost Tour

Finally, for a ghost tour specifically designed for children, look no further than Edinburgh Walking Tours' Children’s Ghost Tour. This tour is a fun and interactive experience designed for children aged 6 to 12.

The tour guide is a professional actor who will engage the kids with interactive games and storytelling, while teaching them about Edinburgh’s history. The children will hear about Edinburgh's famous ghosts, from the Headless Drummer of Edinburgh Castle to the Grey Lady of the Canongate.

This tour takes a lighter approach to the city's ghost stories, making it an excellent choice for families with younger children. The Children’s Ghost Tour lasts approximately 1 hour, and as always, it's recommended to book your tickets in advance.

Edinburgh's rich history provides the perfect backdrop for its ghost tours. Whether your children are seeking a mild ghostly encounter or a thrilling scare, this Scottish city promises an unforgettable experience.

Auld Reekie Tours: The Terror Tour

Another ghost tour that takes into account the age of its participants is the Terror Tour offered by Auld Reekie Tours. With a distinct focus on the darker side of Edinburgh's history, this tour is suitable for children aged 12 and above, offering a perfect blend of history, horror, and haunting.

The Auld Reekie's Terror Tour takes you on a journey through the city's ancient Royal Mile and leads you down to the Niddry Street Underground Vaults. These vaults are infamous for their bone-chilling history. It is believed that they were once the secret hideout of the notorious serial killers Burke and Hare, who sold the bodies of their victims to medical schools.

On this tour, your tour guide will regale you with tales of the ghostly residents of the vaults, detailing their sad fates and the harrowing circumstances that led to their demise. As the guides are skilled storytellers, they manage to maintain an atmosphere of suspense while ensuring that the stories are not too terrifying for the younger audience.

Auld Reekie's Terror Tour lasts approximately an hour and a quarter. Tours tickets should be purchased in advance to avoid disappointment, keeping in mind that the tour does include some elements that might be too unsettling for very young children or those of a particularly sensitive disposition.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Ghost Tour for Your Family

Choosing the right ghost tour in Edinburgh for your children can greatly enrich your family's experience of this historic city. Each tour offers a unique perspective on the city's past, blending facts with ghostly tales in a way that is both educational and entertaining.

For the youngest family members, the Edinburgh Walking Tours' Children’s Ghost Tour offers an engaging and interactive experience. For those seeking more of a thrill, the Double Dead Walking Tour by City of the Dead Tours or the Terror Tour by Auld Reekie might be a fitting choice. Families that would like a mixture of history, mystery, and entertainment may find the Mercat Tours or the Ghost Bus Tours more to their liking.

It's always recommended to book tour tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Also, don't forget to dress appropriately for the weather, as most of these tours involve a significant amount of walking, often during the cooler evening hours.

No matter which ghost tour you choose, a trip into Edinburgh's haunted history is certain to be a memorable part of your visit. As long as the children are prepared for some scare, these ghost tours in Edinburgh provide a fun and unique way to learn about the city's past. So, why not add a touch of the supernatural to your next family trip to Edinburgh?