Frequently Asked Questions
We are pleased to announce the first steps towards resuming our operations following the easing of lockdown. These measures have been decided based on Scottish Government regulations and guidance and consultation with VisitScotland.
From Wednesday 15th July 2020 our wee shop will be reopening Wednesday-Sunday, 12noon - 6pm, with appropriate physical distancing and sanitary safeguards in place.
From 1st August we will be offering a public outdoor walking tour at 7:00pm on Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays, with a limited headcount to permit physical distancing.
See the relevant sections on our homepage, and our Tour Booking page, for full details.
We operate two evening walks around Edinburgh, Scotland: The Witchery Ghosts and Gore Tour in the Summer, and The Witchery Murder and Mystery Tour all year round.
You're led around the Old Town of Edinburgh by a deceased tour guide who regales various ghoulish tales of Edinburgh's murky past. En route you will meet our infamous "jumper-ooters": costumed ghostly characters employed to appear at inopportune times in an attempt to surprise you. Let's hope they appear on cue…
The Witchery Tours take a light-hearted look at Edinburgh’s darker side including tales of witchcraft, grave-robbing, plague, torture and more! The tour information is gathered from city records, library documents and historical archives.
Some people say they are, others say they're not. Judge for yourself. We reckon the tours are more funny than scary, although we do state: "You come on our tours at your own risk!"
Not at the moment! We are currently limiting tours to one per evening (at 7pm), on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays (commencing 1st August 2020).
The Witchery Murder & Mystery Tour normally operates all year, however in 2020 it will operate from 19th September. Availability from Spring 2021 is to be decided.
The Witchery Ghosts & Gore Tour will recommence from 1st August 2020, and conclude for the season on 17th September 2020. We expect it to resume in Spring 2021 but a date for this is to be decided.
We created the Ghosts & Gore Tour as an alternative version of the Murder & Mystery Tour, that would be more suitable for daylight hours. (Adam Lyal does not like going out before nightfall; he has to keep his complexion nice and pale!)
This is why we do not run regular Ghosts & Gore Tours in winter: not enough daylight! However, as you'll see on our tour booking page, Murder & Mystery Tours are run at earlier times during the winter, so you can still join us if you have an early bedtime. If you really want to do a Ghosts & Gore Tour during the winter, we can arrange this specially for large enough groups; contact us for more details.
The routes of the tours are different, though they visit some of the same locations. The Ghosts & Gore Tour has a slightly shorter (and much flatter) route, so we recommend it for those with mobility difficulties. The content is quite similar: all the major stories are covered on both tours, with just a couple of differences.
The major difference is in how the "jumper-ooters" behave: on the Ghosts & Gore Tour, they will chat with the guide and tell the group about their character and historical background. You don't get much of this on the Murder & Mystery Tour: these ghosts are more interested in making you scream!
Both our tours are outdoor walking tours visiting the closes and alleyways in the Old Town of Edinburgh. We won't reveal the whole routes, but let's just say we recommend sturdy and comfortable footwear for a good reason…
No. Our guides are ghosts, after all, so it'd be insensitive to make them visit graveyards every night. They do know a lot about the graveyards in the area though, so you may hear a bit about some of them ... and their inhabitants.
No. Well, the Murder & Mystery Tour does go under a bridge at one point; does that count?
No; because none of those things exist!
You may be thinking of Mary King's Close, a close (alleyway) running off the High Street that was blocked off in the 17th Century and subsequently built over, which is now a visitor attraction; or the Vaults, a series of cellars located under the North Bridge, which have no major historic significance but are very dark and creepy (a number of other tours visit them for just this reason).
Okay, admittedly there is a witches' temple in part of the Vaults; dating from as long ago as the 1990s!
Yes, the tour is open to all ages. Even young children are very rarely upset by our ghosts' antics, though we advise parental discretion if you think your child is of a particularly nervous disposition.
The times vary depending on the bookings that we already have and the time of year. We take reservations in advance so we can control the number of people attending each trip. We have standard times that we try to stick to at any given time of year, but if those times are fully booked we will always try to offer additional times to meet demand.
On our Booking page, you can see a chart showing our standard start-times for the year. You can use the calendar on the booking form to see exactly what tours are available for your chosen date; this information is updated constantly, so should be accurate at time of booking; if it isn't, we will contact you and see if we can arrange an alternative that suits you before we take payment.
The Witchery Murder and Mystery Tour lasts 75 minutes, and the Witchery Ghost and Gore Tour lasts 80 minutes.
Note these times are approximate: if the group size is quite small the tour may finish a few minutes early, and if there are any hold-ups en route (or the guide talks too much!) then it may be a little longer. If you must be finished bang on time, please advise your guide at the start of the tour.
We usually commence our walks outside The Witchery restaurant, 352 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NF.
There are a couple of exceptions. When the Castlehill is obstructed due to performances of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Monday-Saturday for three weeks during August) or a one-off concert (usually a couple of nights during June and July), the tours meet outside our shop at 84 West Bow, Victoria Street, Edinburgh EH1 2HH. We will advise you of this when we confirm your booking; or, if we discover later that we need to relocate, we will advise you of this immediately using the contact details you supplied when booking.
No, we are a separate operation; they are old friends who kindly let us assemble groups outside their premises (so you can smell their tasty cooking before we spirit you away into the night!).
For all dining enquiries, please call the restaurant on +44 (0) 131 225 5613. The Mad Monk can cook something that looks a bit like lasagne, but it's not very good.
While COVID-19 remains an issue, we are currently limiting each tour to 15 persons to promote physical distancing.
Our booking form only supports Tesco ClubCard voucher codes: if you have such a code, you can enter it on the first page of the checkout, where its value will be deducted from your order before proceeding.
Any other promotional schemes are not currently supported by the checkout. However, just contact us and we will take your booking. You'll be asked to provide contact details and any other details specified by the promotion instructions, and to re-confirm with us the evening before the tour. Be sure to mention which promotion you are claiming under when booking, as some schemes may have additional requirements.
No. The "jumping-oot" that occurs on our tours could cause distress to animals (which in turn could endanger the safety of our staff and other guests), so unfortunately animals may not be brought on the tours.
No. As a small company, mainly performing for a multinational audience, it is unfortunately not practical for us to offer tours in other languages.
If you are thinking of bringing a large group for a private tour, we suggest bringing an interpreter: our guides are all well accustomed to performing with an interpreter, so the performance can still "flow" nicely for the audience.
The Ghosts & Gore Tour (currently available from 1st August to 17th September) is fully wheelchair-accessible. Unfortunately, the Murder & Mystery Tour visits some locations that cannot be accessed with a wheelchair.
When you book a tour, there are a whole lot of questions we need to ask you that are different from when you buy goodies. We think it's simpler for you and us if the two are kept separate.
If you really want to pay for a booking and some goodies at the same time, just contact us and we can accept your payment over the phone instead.