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Slums of Victorian Edinburgh online tour

Discover the lives and struggles of  Edinburgh's Victorian poor on this 'live' online experience

2017 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for Historic Edinburgh Tours
2018 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence winners - Historic Edinburgh Tours

As of 28/05/2023,  321 of our 326 Tripadvisor reviews awarded us five-stars! 


Explore the lives of Edinburgh’s forgotten Victorian poor with a live guide on this interactive virtual tour of Edinburgh.

Our five-star rated Slums of Victorian Edinburgh tour has now been taken online. Discover the people, places and events which have been almost erased from Edinburgh’s history as we take you on an interactive ‘virtual tour’ of the Victorian Old Town!

We’ve used our extensive archive, which included 360-degree images. These let your guide control the image and ‘look around’ just as if we were actually in Edinburgh. In addition, he’ll share archive images that give you a ‘then and now’ idea of how the Victorian Old Town once looked. Where possible, Robert can even tailor aspects of the tour to best suit the group's interests.  

Historic Edinburgh Tours has been rated five-stars through our reviews on Tripadvisor.  The reviews for our virtual tours have also averaged five-stars.  Robert will lead this tour, he is a multi-award-winning Edinburgh tour guide.

Our Edinburgh virtual tours run from October to April.  Message us to set up your private virtual tour.


£50 for a private tour for up to seven devices, or ten people.


Free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance


We work with you to give you the tour you need and want


Historic Edinburgh Tours is rated '5-star' on Tripadvisor


£50 total price for a tour for up to 7 devices
£75 for 7-10 devices

This tour is a virtual version of a tour which has been rated five-stars on Tripadvisor.  Robert will lead this tour, he is a multi-award-winning Edinburgh tour guide.

"We had an excellent time and learned so much during Robert’s Slum Life in Victorian Edinburgh tour! We also asked a range of unrelated questions along the way, all of which Robert readily answered and had interesting responses to. Great storytelling and high energy, and he knows a lot about less-discussed parts of Edinburgh’s history. Highly recommend. Thanks, Robert!"

Isabella B, Tripadvisor review, October 2022 *review of the 'real' tour which this virtual tour is based on



This tour runs via 'Zoom'.  You will need to run this via a free download or your browser


Please contact us to discuss a suitable start time


1-hour duration (approx).  You can ask questions on this tour and your guide has the ability to be flexible with your tour


Because you'll be taking a private tour, you don't have to worry about not being able to access the tour in time.  We will wait and help!


Here are five of the places we can visit on your private tour. There are more! How long we spend on each story and how much walking we do is up to you!


Greyfriars Kirkyard;

The story of wee Greyfriars Bobby is one of Edinburgh's most famous tales, but it's one of the most problematic stories on this tour.  We'll reveal why and we'll tell you a rarely told story that kicks off this Edinburgh virtual tour with real emotion.


The Grassmarket lodging houses;

Welcome to the Victorian Grassmarket – the lodging-houses located here were often portrayed as a sort of 'sin-city' for our poorest people.  We love this area, and we love the stories that highlight some of the few moments of fun and enjoyment for some of the poor.


The Bowhead and the Improvement Act;

Robert, your Edinburgh tour guide, will use archive images to let you see how this place used to look.  We'll explain why the iconic Bowhead House was demolished and why this may have been a massive mistake.  


From 'Wynd' to 'Street' - The worst of the slums;

Blackfriars Wynd and St Mary's Wynd are now very respectable and comfortable areas of the Old Town, but we will reveal what they once looked like and we'll share some of the most shocking stories about extreme poverty in Victorian Edinburgh.


'Little Ireland';

Although our Victorian Edinburgh tour is our most emotionally 'hard-hitting', we will share genuinely inspiring and positive stories too!  Little Ireland gives us two of these uplifting tales.


A tour tailored to your own interests

We've carefully designed this virtual tour of Edinburgh to be just like our 'real' tours.  We have some flexibility to focus on different aspects of the story of Edinburgh in 1745.

Visit without visiting

This is a great tour for anyone wanting to visit the city and have a pre-visit understanding of the history of the Old Town.

Walk in the footsteps of the people history forgot

Throughout this tour, your guide will use eyewitness accounts to describe the lives and living conditions of Edinburgh's poorest people.  You will hear actual quotes from people who visited the Victorian Edinburgh slums.

An authentic Scottish experience

We couldn't do a tour, even a virtual tour, without explaining the kilt!  Robert, your 'live guide' is as local as possible.  He has lived here and even went to university on the Royal Mile!

Archive images help you see Edinburgh as it once was

Don't just see the (virtual) city as it looks today; our archive images will reveal what Edinburgh looked like when Bonnie Prince Charlie was in town!


2018 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence winners - Historic Edinburgh Tours

Certificate of Excellence award winner 2017 and 2018.


Tripadvisor Traveller's Choice award winner 2020 and 2023.

five star rated tour of Edinburgh

As of December 15, 2022, 99.6% of our reviews have been five stars.


We've been leading Edinburgh tours for ten years.


"A new and exciting virtual experience"​

“Since our personal trip was, once again, postponed, this tour was a wonderful opportunity to spend a very informative 90+ minutes strolling thru Old Town. His time with us was full of information, wonderful antidotes and incredible stories.” 

Janet H - Tripadvisor - April 2021 (REVIEW OF OUR OLD EDINBURGH VIRTUAL TOUR)


Q: Can we use more than one device to access this tour?

A: Absolutely!  You can have friends and family members across the world join this tour!  We've done that before and we loved how it brought people together!  You can have up to seven devices in one house, or use seven devices across the entire planet!

Q: What happens if it we have tech problems?

A: Don't worry, we will be there! We want you to have a good tour.  If things are causing problems on your end, we can look to reschedule or fully refund your fee.

Q: What happens if we are running late?

A: Since we now only do private tours, your guide is only there for you. Sometimes things happen and you know you will be running late. Within reason, and with some warning, we can try to accommodate this.

Q: Do we need expensive software to run this?

A: No!  We use Zoom.  This is a free-to-use software.  We can also, with notice, look at running the tours on Microsoft Teams.

Q: Can we use smartphones as devices?

A: Absolutely!  You might find that our tour looks better on a larger screen, but we can run the tour and you can view it on a suitable smartphone.

Q: Isn't this just like watching a documentary video?

A: No! Robert, our award-winning Edinburgh tour guide will run this 'live' for you.  You can ask him questions and he has some flexibility with what stories we look at and places we visit (virtually).

Q: Are your private tours 'child-friendly'?

A: Our tours are usually what we would describe as more 'adult' tours, however, your guide is a qualified primary school teacher and knows how to pitch our stories appropriately. He can also provide appropriate alternatives. If you let us know well in advance, we can offer more flexibility.


We do require that children under 16 attend with an adult.

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