Edinburgh Vaults Tickets

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Opening hours

From 1st of April until 31st of October there are daily tours at 11am, 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm.

From 1st of November until 31st of March daily tours begin at 2pm and 4pm.

There are no tours from the 24th until the 26th of December.

How to get there

Train- from Waverley Station it is just a few minute’s walk to the meeting point at the Mercat Cross on the Royal Mile.

Bus- Lothian Buses run services to the centre of the city from all areas of Edinburgh. There are numerous services that stop along the High Street (Royal Mile).

Bicycle- Edinburgh has a very good network of cycle routes across the city. Follow the signs directing you to the Old Town or the High Street. There is cycle parking available at various points in the city centre.


How much does it cost to visit the Edinburgh Vaults?
Tickets cost £14 for adults (16-60), children’s tickets (5-15) cost £9 and concessions tickets for those aged over 60 and students with a valid ID cost £12. There is a family ticket option for 2 adults and 2 children costing £37. Children aged younger than 5 are not permitted onto the tour.
How long is the tour and where is the meeting point?
Each tour lasts for approximately 75 minutes. Tours begin at the Mercat Cross on the Royal Mile and end at the Interpretation Centre on Blair Street.
Is there a lot of walking on the tour?
There is not too much walking during the tour although the surfaces you will be walking on may be uneven with some steep sections so you are advised to wear comfortable and practical shoes.
Will the tour continue, even if it is raining?
Whatever the weather your guide will meet you at the Mercat Cross. You are advised to dress appropriately for the weather, particularly the cold temperatures during the winter.
Are the tours suitable for people with disabilities?
The tour into the vaults includes descending down a winding staircase in addition to the flooring being made of uneven earth and rock. So the tour is not really suitable for wheelchair users. People with a hearing difficulty can be given a written copy of the tour script if requested in advance. Guides are also used to working with people that use sign language for deaf visitors. Poorly sighted or blind visitors will need to be accompanied by a carer during the tour. Essential carers go free on the tour. The skill of the guide in telling the story in creating atmosphere leads to a good experience for those that are dependent on using their listening skills.
Can children go on the tour without an adult?
The theme of the tour has an element of suspense and some scare value. For this reason it is not suitable for younger children and all children below the age of 16 must be accompanied and supervised throughout the tour by a responsible adult.

Must Know

The Vaults original use
The Vaults had a short lifespan being used by tradesmen until the problem of damp caused these trades people to abandon the dark and primitive premises. They were then used as a shelter by Edinburgh’s homeless until the squalid conditions meant they were moved on in the 1830s and the spaces filled in to avoid others moving in.
The Vaults lay largely forgotten for decades and were rediscovered in the 1990s, opening to the public in 1996. During the tour, visitors will discover the living conditions of those inhabitants and the links to the stories surrounding this mysterious area.
Time spent below ground during the tour
The first ten minutes it takes to reach the Vaults are above ground when the guide gives visitors a brief description of what to expect on the tour. Then the next hour is spent entirely inside the Vaults.
Is it dark with lots of narrow passages inside the Vaults?
The Vaults are lit by a combination of electric lights and candlelight to provide a safe environment while providing a mysterious atmosphere. At the narrowest point the corridor is 1.5 metres wide while the vaults vary from small box rooms to large high-ceilinged chambers.
If I, or one of my group feels uncomfortable about the tour can I/we leave?
Yes. If you do not wish to continue on the tour, alert the guide and he/she will take you back above ground.
Are there any people employed to jump out from hidden places to scare me?
This is not a feature of this tour. The purpose of the tour is to tell a story through the guide’s expertise in storytelling. The idea is to let your imagination run wild with moments of suspense in the art of telling a story.
You are permitted to take photos during the tour. However, videoing the tour is not permitted as this may be disruptive to other people on the tour.
Languages available
The tours are all conducted in English. There are written translations available on request in French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Places Nearby

The Edinburgh Dungeon
You can uncover the grisly history of Edinburgh if you dare at the Edinburgh Dungeon. This visitor attraction is a fantastic experience that will have you laughing and screaming as you come face to face with Scottish cannibals, the secrets of the Green Lady and the infamous duo of this city, killers Burke and Hare. There are immersive shows portrayed by actors, state of the art special effects and two underground rides. Are you brave enough to discover the hidden secrets of Edinburgh’s dark side?
The Scotch Whisky Experience
This interactive look at the process of making whisky takes you on a barrel ride from fields of barley through distilling equipment. You can experience the aromas of regional whiskies, learn if you prefer fruity, sweet or smoky as you discover your perfect dram. The visit concludes with the vault that contains the world’s largest collection of Scotland’s Whiskies.
National Museum of Scotland
Here you can discover treasure from around the world as you learn about cultures far from Scotland. The display hosts a diverse range of art and design, interactive displays and games involving the latest technology. The National Museum of Scotland appeals to all ages.
The Museum of Childhood
The Museum of Childhood is where the whole family can have a fun day out. Younger children will be able to learn about toys and games played by children in generations past while for adults it may well be a trip down memory lane.