A First Level Old Edinburgh tour in action!

First Level - Old Edinburgh activity tour

“Fantastic & thoroughly engaging trip for our P3/4s on Monday. We learned so much. Really well thought out, lively and well pitched. Your enthusiasm and sense of humour were contagious! I would thoroughly recommend!”


J.Ross

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2017 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for Historic Edinburgh Tours
We were winners in Edinburgh of a Traveller's Choice award in 2020
2018 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence winners - Historic Edinburgh Tours

Take your class into the very heart of Old Edinburgh

Price
£3 per pupil
Adults go free
Restrictions
Maximum of 36 (including adults) in Greyfriars Kirkyard
Meeting place
In front of Greyfriars Kirk
Accessibility info
Gradients and steps
Duration
1 and a half hours

Quick description

This outdoor learning experience will immerse your class in the rich history of the Old Town of Edinburgh.

We designed this ‘First Level’ tour of Edinburgh to be appropriate for younger classes.  The historical evidence we will use is engaging for our first level pupils, and the stories we tell are more age-appropriate.

Your guide will come equipped with an assortment of props and an A3 book filled with supporting images and other materials.    We’ve worked hard to give your class a very ‘visual’ tour.

The pupils will be doing individual and partner work using a variety of different sources of evidence.  We will use old maps, ‘then and now’ images and much more to get your pupils acting as detectives as they explore the Old Town.  Active learning, ‘on location’ is to the fore on this tour, there are no paper and pencils needed on this investigation of Old Edinburgh!

Robert designed this Old Town tour; he’s the same person who will lead your class around the Old Town.  He’s a teacher himself and will use all of his 20+ year teaching experience to engage with your pupils.  

Your guide, Robert, is a qualified teacher with more than two decades of experience.

Contact us

Click the 'contact us' button to go to our school tour contact page.  We're usually able to reply within 12 hours.   

A copy of the 1647 birdseye view of Edinburgh.  We use this on your tour!

Meet your teacher-tour guide

Some of the learning questions we can answer on this tour

“How long could people live for in ‘Old Edinburgh’?”

We love covering this on our tour!  Towards the start of our tour, we will look at the gravestone of a  family, giving us a very clear idea about just how long it was possible to live for in the eighteenth century.  We guarantee that your class will be surprised by this!

We use Greyfriars Kirkyard as a safe and quiet base to start our tour.
“Who are the most famous ‘Old Edinburgh’ people?”

Our tour starts by looking at one of the most famous of all Edinburgh’s characters; the story of the faithful Skye Terrier, Greyfriars Bobby. 
This story is probably the most popular Edinburgh tale.  But stories are not always full of facts.  Robert will explain the different versions of the ‘legend’ of Greyfriars Bobby and let your class work out their own opinions.

Wee Greyfriars Bobby.
“How has the Old Town changed over time?”

There are lots of chances for us to become ‘time travellers’ on this tour!  We’ll stand in a couple of locations and use archive images to show us what these locations looked like hundreds of years ago.  We can even use multiple images to reveal how one area looked at different points in history! 
Your pupils will visit Greyfriars Kirkyard, the Grassmarket, the Lawnmarket, Riddle’s Court, the High Street, Parliament Square (where we get a great view of St Giles) and a typical ‘Old Town’ close on your tour.

We compare today's Edinburgh with images from the past.
“How can we use evidence to find out about a place fron the past?”

The picture shown on the left of this text box shows a view of the old West Bow street as it would have looked over two hundred years ago.  You can see parts of this street today.


Your class will get a chance to explore this area and compare this image with what they can see now.  It’s an excellent opportunity to look at the fine details in archive images and see what resemblance these archive images have with the evidence we can see today.

The West Bow in an old image.
“What was it like to live in an Old Town close?” 

We’ll use props and ‘then and now’ pictures to let pupils imagine what it was like to live in one of the famous Old Edinburgh closes.
Yes, we DO look at the whole ‘Gardyloo’ story…probably in a lot more detail than you’d expect…  Twenty-years of teaching have taught us what your pupils will want to know!

We look at life in a close on this tour.
“What were some of the big events in Edinburgh’s history?” 

We can look at the celebration which officially welcomed Mary, Queen of Scots on her return to Scotland.  We will look at the story of Deacon Brodie, and we’ll visit the site of the prison where he spent his last days.

 

We will also find out about the bodysnatchers, and we can mention the Irish murderers Burke and Hare if you wish.  We know that these characters often come up, even in first level projects.  
We can share stories which are as age-appropriate as possible.    You’ll know what you’d like your classes to learn and we can incorporate when and where possible.

Mary, Queen of Scots.

Your tour - a detailed itinerary

We understand that you might want even more information about this Edinburgh walking tour.  Some people like lots of detail, we've got that for you!

Please click the 'Learn more' button to see a detailed itinerary for this tour.

Important information for the class teacher

Accessibility on our tours.
Accessibility information

Accessibility information 

Although pupils won’t be walking for the full hour and a half duration of this tour, there are limited places where we can offer rest areas.   We’ve put together a page which will highlight some relevant accessibility issues which occur on this tour route.  

We can alter the tour if notified in advance and we can discuss some options for young people with mobility issues.   Sadly, the Old Town is hilly and not brilliantly paved.   All our tour routes cross at pedestrian crossings and any alternative solutions might include streets that don’t have proper crossing areas.

We’ve put together an accessibility information sheet with some information for your risk assessment print-out. You can access these here.
 

Image by Abhishek Yadav
Wet weather information

This tour is an ‘outside’ tour, and there are no areas where we can shelter out of the rain.  We do realise that a wet and windy day probably isn’t going make for positive memories!


We’re pretty flexible and will happily reschedule your date.  There’s no extra cost for this.  We realise this is useful if you are travelling on foot or using public transport.  If you have organised transport, then please know that, whatever the weather, we will be there for you!


If you’d like to reschedule your tour, please let us know by 8.30 am on the morning of your tour.  My mobile number is 07590 026 077.

Risk assessment on our Edinburgh activity tours.
Risk assessment

Risk assessment is something which your governing body will legally need you to carry out and, as such, we can only offer some suggestions and recommendations for your paperwork.


While we can’t offer these as your official risk assessment, please click here to download our suggested risk assessment information and our route instructions.


We’ve put together an accessibility information sheet with some information for your risk assessment print-out. You can access these here.

Toilet access is important on a school trip.
Toilets (and how to add even more value to your school tour!)

We’ve got no ‘toilet’ stops on our tour, but you are welcome to ask the Museum of Scotland if you can use theirs. Most of our schools’ tours of Edinburgh start just across the road from there. You may also want to book a teacher-led guided tour/exploration of the Museum of Scotland. This is free, but you will need to book in advance.  Their offers/accessibility might change due to COVID.   The Museum of Scotland also offers a series of paid workshops. Booking either of these options will allow you to ask for the use of their lunchroom. 

 

We also recommend checking out the educational workshops at Riddle’s Court and Edinburgh Castle. These come with a cost. A lunchroom is sometimes available.

We are happy to discuss tailoring our tour start/finish times and locations around any other activities you may be doing.  

Contact us

Click the 'contact us' button to go to our school tour contact page.  We're usually able to reply within 12 hours.   

A detailed itinerary

We understand that you might want even more information about this Edinburgh walking tour.  Some people like lots of detail, we've got that for you!

Please click the 'Learn more' button to see a detailed itinerary for this tour.