Edinburgh is one of the world’s most renowned haunted cities, where the dead very much outnumber the living.
With 1000 years of history, and a series of eerie vaults running under the entire length and breadth of the city – the Scottish capital has a whole host of ghostly tales to tell…
Let's get started.
Built in 1591, this building is steeped in gruesome history.
Previously a prison, and used to collect tolls from travellers entering the city – this building has seen many a lost soul float through its doors. In the early 1600s, a suspected warlock was exorcised on these premises, and was so terrified by the experience that he died of fright. His spirit is said to roam the building, petrifying the ale drinkers throughout - by knocking drinks over, and tearing paintings down from the walls.
And, between 1661 and 1688, Oliver Cromwell’s guard detained several Covenanters in the Tolbooth’s cells – where some of them became ill and died; the presence of their spirits is said to be regularly felt within the Tolbooth Tavern. With a delicious menu serving Scottish fare, and a large real ale and craft beer range – the traditional Scotch pub is a must visit. It’s intimate, steeped in history, and, who knows – you might even spy yourself a ghost.
Nestled in a grand, 19th century building – this spot is super haunted.
In 1615, the site was occupied by a string of fine tenants, including the Bishop of St Andrews – until it burnt down in 1814 and was replaced by The Mitre Pub. Legend has it, that the Bishop’s throne is buried under what is now the bar area – and, some have even sensed his spirit walking the pub.
There have been unearthly sightings and feelings within The Mitre Pub, including the reported sightings of an unnamed, music-loving phantom. The phantom has been known to switch songs on the jukebox if they aren’t to his taste, and sometimes to switch it off altogether. With an outdoor seating area, an unrivalled food menu, impressive dark wood bar, and traditional opulent golden interiors, The Mitre Bar will steal your heart on any trip to Auld Reekie.
Named after a local ghost, this tavern is just about as haunted as they come.
Deacon William Brodie, a greatly respected Edinburgh citizen and Head of the Town Council, had a dark, secretive and mysterious alter ego by night. When darkness fell, Brodie was the leader of a savage gang of robbers – which funded his extravagant nightlife past times – including everything from excessive drinking and gambling, to having two mistresses and numerous illegitimate children. Working for Wrights and Masons, repairing door locks – he could craftily have a replica key cut, and burgle houses at night.
When Brodie was finally caught, and brought to the gibbet to be hanged, he tried to bribe the hangman not to use the steel collar so that he could escape – but failed. His outraged ghost is said to still roam the Royal Mile, carrying a lantern with sores and rope marks around his neck. Located right in the heart of the Royal Mile, with luring archways and dark oak interiors – you can’t miss Brodie's. And, for an epic menu of hearty pub food, an extensive drinks list including award winning ales, as well as the chance to spot Brodie himself – a trip to the Tavern is an absolute must.
Within the city’s underground vaults, lies Scotland’s most haunted nightclub.
Within its rich and diverse history, this site has been home (and place of death) to some of Edinburgh’s most impoverished, destitute and unsavoury characters – and, it is here where their unrested souls live on. Some customers reported the uneasy presence of “The Banshee” surrounding them, while others have had their drinks swiped from their table and smashed on the floor.
The building is also thought to bare a Grim Reaper like curse. Whilst being refurbished, a workman heard a terrifying, piercing scream throughout the entire building – only to then receive a phone call informing him that a member of his family had passed away. Banshee Labrynth has multiple bars, a cinema, and a huge range of music nights ranging from metal, to punk, to rave – it’s a little slice of haunted hell (minus the eternal damnation) just off the Royal Mile.
Built in the South Bridge Vaults, this underground venue has an eerie air to it.
This hip haunt is home to nightly live music and a massive range of cask ales, as well as two resident ghosts. Firstly, the mischievous “Imp” tricks staff and clientele by moving objects, stopping clocks around the bar, and even locking people in rooms.
The other spirit, namely “The Watcher” has a less playful manner – and has been sighted wearing 17th century clothing with long, black hair, silently watching over people in Whistlebinkies. He was once approached whilst being mistaken for bar staff, only to promptly vanish into thin air. And, featuring a constantly lively atmosphere, up to four live bands until 3am, free entry before midnight and a huge range of drinks offers – it’s the best place to end any party trip up the Royal Mile.
A night on the Royal Mile is essential on any celebratory weekend in Edinburgh. So, if you're celebrating in Auld Reekie for a hen party or stag do, make sure to check out what we can offer.
Feeling Inspired? Build Your Edinburgh Stag Do
Share this with the group!