With Halloween approaching I was delighted to be asked to join Edinburgh’s Haunted Pubs Yelp Event. Edinburgh is filled with history, which has had a huge influence on the streets and closes of ‘Auld Reekie’. However, it’s not just the streets that hold dark secrets, there are many pubs in the city that are famous for their notorious presences. Being a big fan of both Edinburgh and food and drink, I was thoroughly looking forward to the night ahead. We met at 6.45pm in Tron Square for our evening of Edinburgh’s ghost tales, underground vaults and haunted pubs.
Our Underground City of the Dead guide Dave, walked us down to Fishmarket Close, sharing stories of Edinburgh’s eerie history before we entered the underground vaults. Dave made sure to inform us that he is a storyteller and not a historian, despite this I found his stories to be filled with interesting facts, as well as being very entertaining.
There were 9 of us in the group, which was a good size because it made the tour feel very personal; the Underground City of the Dead tours can fit up to around 45 people, but you also have the option to arrange a private tour. Fishmarket Close is a good starting point because it provides a feel for what Edinburgh would have been like in the 18th century, and it’s situated beside a number of restaurants and bars, which makes it easy to get to.
Once inside the vaults we explored the history of the place and its people, as well as the spirits that still linger in the Underground City. During our experience we visited what is suspected to have been an illegal tavern and found out more about pubs in the 18th century.
Once we were all officially spooked, it was time to leave the vaults and head to Whistle Binkie’s on South Bridge and find out more about its haunted history. This popular pub is “housed in the belly of the ancient vaults under South Bridge, some declare this to be the most haunted area anywhere in the world!” Our group settled into the cave to find out more about the 2 ghosts that are said to haunt Whistle Binkie’s. Dave told us about the Imp who is notorious for moving belongings – especially during the Fringe Festival when performers have lots of shiny objects, and the Watcher who lurks in the cellar! It was great to have Dave join us at Whistle Binkie’s because he is extremely knowledgeable about Edinburgh’s hauntings.
Yelp have created an easy to use map, which shows Edinburgh’s Haunted Pubs and explains their history. This map is a fantastic way to find out about haunted Edinburgh through the eyes of locals; touring haunted pubs is fascinating because it’s places that residents visit all the time. I had a fantastic time with Yelp and Underground City of the Dead and I can’t wait to visit more of Edinburgh’s Haunted Pubs!
Find Yelp’s Edinburgh’s Haunted Pubs Map here: www.yelpedinburgh.co.uk/haunted-pubs-edinburgh/