The city of Edinburgh is famous for its legends and myths, from spooky hauntings to hidden underground streets. Said to have been built on seven hills, just like Rome, Edinburgh is steeped in history that dates back centuries. With a castle built atop a volcanic rock and a network of underground tunnels and streets, the city is full of mystery. So, with this, of course, come the Edinburgh legends and myths that continue to puzzle locals and visitors alike. Why not book a room at our central hotel and discover the facts behind these mysteries?
Here are some of Edinburgh’s most famous myths, stories and legends, that will leave you wanting to plan a visit to our historic capital:
Spooky Edinburgh Legends
Our capital city is said to be one of the most haunted in the world, and there are many stories of ghostly sightings and experiences. Many locals and visitors say they have spotted several Edinburgh ghosts throughout various sites across the city. Perhaps, one of the most famous haunted sites is Greyfriars Kirkyard. Here, you’ll find the grave of George McKenzie, a barrister who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Covenanters. But, his soul is far from at rest. His ghost continues to haunt visitors, with some saying they have been violently pushed over when walking past his grave.
Hauntings at Edinburgh Castle
The spectacular Edinburgh Castle is built on a 700 million-year-old extinct volcanic rock, known as Castle Rock. Said to have been inhabited since the Bronze Age, it has become a hot-spot for ghostly sightings. So, in Edinburgh Castle, it’s no surprise, visitors have had their fair share of haunting experiences over the years. One of the castle’s most popular spooky tales is the one of the headless drummer boy. His identity is unknown and he only makes an appearance when the castle is under threat. First spotted in 1650 when Oliver Cromwell attacked the castle, the ghost is said to be wandering the grounds. Another of the castle’s famous ghosts is the one of the Lone Piper. In this story, it’s said he was sent to the underground tunnels beneath the castle. Then, he was ordered to play his bagpipes so people could track him from above, but sadly he never returned. Still today, his pipe music can be heard in the castle as he endlessly walks along the underground tunnels.
Arthur’s Seat and the Sleeping Dragon
Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh is one of the city’s most popular attractions for visitors. Part of a volcanic rock, this peak is a hot-spot for hikers and it overlooks Holyrood Park, the city and beautiful countryside. Here, many myths and stories have developed over the years. One of the most popular is the story of the Sleeping Dragon. Some say a ferocious dragon once circled the skies, eating anything it could from the ground. One day, the dragon stopped for a rest on this peak because it was so full and it never woke. Then, it became the hill now famously known as Arthur’s Seat.
The Real Mary King’s Close
Sitting beneath the City Chambers on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile lies a network of streets that were once bustling with people who lived and worked between the 17th and 19th centuries. These, once open, streets were buried underground when the City Chambers were built. Mary King’s Close gets its name comes from one of the wealthy residents on the streets; Mary King a merchant Burgess and widow. This area saw the arrival of the plague in 1645, with hundreds of residents y perishing of the deadly disease. Now, these winding narrow alleys and tunnels are said to be haunted by former residents and merchants.
To discover more about Edinburgh legends, spend some time exploring our historic city’s attractions and sights. So, check out our special offers, book your stay at central Parliament House and unlock the mystery!