Travel Review: The Real Mary King’s Close

editorial image
Share this article

WE could not have picked a busier day to visit Edinburgh and the underground city. Up above us The Fringe was taking place and it was mobbed!

So we were quite glad to be heading underground. The Real Mary King’s Close is a five star tourist attraction and its quite spooky too!

Our guide Agnes the maid was on hand to show my five-year-old son Ruaridh, his chum Caroline (7) and her mum Sarah around the close.

Be warned as little ones need not to be frightened of the dark or spooky stories if they are to visit. For the tour takes you through a warren of underground streets and spaces. In the 1600s, these areas were some of Edinburgh’s busiest. They were open to the skies and used for traders to sell their wares to residents.

The close was named after Mary King, a prominent business woman. To name a close after a woman was quite unusual and shows how important she was.

The city is made of a backbone of lanes and alleyways and to see how people lived is quite fascinating. As with anything old and secretive, there are whispers of ghosts and unexplained happenings.

One such tale is of Annie, a young girl discovered by a Japanese psychic. The lady found the girl had lost her teddy and so she brought her a replacement.Now the area is a shrine and people leave dolls for Annie and give money, which is donated to The Sick Children’s Foundation.

Walls in the underground are made of human ash and there is odour in the air. Your guide tells tales of murder and sickness, but you can’t deny its fascinating to see how people lived all those years ago and to be happy you were not there!

For more information on The Real Mary King’s Close, log onto