Edinburgh Literary Pub Tours

If you want to learn more about Edinburgh’s rich ties with literature then a tour of the city with Edinburgh Literary Pub Tours is the perfect way to learn as you explore Edinburgh’s Old Town. We learn more about the tour and how the idea came about in this blog posting.

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1. Tell us how did the idea for Literally pub tours come about?

Edinburgh is the literary capital of the world. This is a city built on the work of outstanding writers and it is possible to find a story in every small close and old pub in town. Scottish writers have given the world new literary genres and characters so the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour was created back in 1996 as a way to celebrate this unique literary heritage, the incredible lives of our poets, their extensive literary work and the stories that lie in Edinburgh’s cobbled streets. The tour is now recognised worldwide as a unique attraction in Edinburgh and has promoted Scottish culture internationally for almost 20 years, becoming a singular entertainment option in Edinburgh, combining theatre, entertainment and culture. This genre-defying blend has granted several awards to the tour, including the Thistle Tourism Award.

2. What can people expect on the tour?

As our motto goes: “Drinking… perhaps. Thinking… maybe. Entertainment… guaranteed!”. Our two characters, Clart (the bohemian) and McBrain (the intellectual) will take you on a witty dramatic romp through courtyards, closes and pubs, engaging in a dramatic duologue revolving around the history and the lives of our great authors, in and out of Old and New Town pubs. It’s 300 years of literary history in two hours and four pubs, with plenty of the typical Scottish banter!

3. Can you tell us about some of the famous authors that you discuss on the tour?

There is an extensive body of work covered on the tour, although we focus more on the life and work of some of the Scottish greats, like Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott or Robert Louis Stevenson. But, as you can imagine, in two hours we can cover much ground, and that is why our script gathers several other authors, from Robert Fergusson and Allan Ramsay to the contemporary authors like Ian Rankin or Irvine Welsh.

4. What are the costs, time and how often do you run tours?

Tickets are priced at £14/£10 (regular/students) but we do offer cheaper tickets online. Times vary throughout the year: May to September – everyday; Jan-Mar – Friday and Sunday; April and October – Thursday to Sunday; November and December – Fridays only. All tours start at 7.30pm from the Beehive Inn, in Grassmarket. Check our website for all updated information and tickets – www.edinburghliterarypubtour.co.uk.


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Written by Amanda Brown

Amanda, Director of VieAmhor, is a local Edinburgher through and through. Amanda spends her weekends dining out, drinking cocktails and hanging with her three boys (the four-legged, furry variety).

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