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Edinburgh and the Lothians Sights

Real Mary King's Close

  • Writers' Court Map It
  • Old Town
  • Ghost Town
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 10/11/2013

Fodor's Review

Hidden beneath the City Chambers, this narrow, cobbled close, or lane, named after a former landowner, is said to be one of Edinburgh's most haunted sites. The close was sealed off in 1645 to quarantine residents who became sick when the bubonic plague swept through the city, and many victims were herded there to die. After the plague passed, the bodies were removed and buried, and the street was reopened. A few people returned, but they soon reported ghostly goings-on

and departed, leaving the close empty for decades. In 1753 city authorities built the Royal Exchange (later the City Chambers) directly over the close, sealing it off and, unwittingly, ensuring it remained intact, except for the buildings' upper stories, which were destroyed. Today you can walk among the remains of the shops and houses. People still report ghostly visions and eerie sounds, such as the crying of a young girl. Over the years visitors have left small offerings for her, such as dolls, pieces of ribbon, or candy. Although kids like the spookiness of this attraction, it's not for the youngest ones. In fact, children under age five are not admitted.

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Sight Information


Writers' Court, Edinburgh, EH1 1PG, Scotland

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Sight Details:

  • £12.95
  • Apr.–Oct., daily 10–9; Nov.–Mar., weekdays 10–5, weekends 10–9

Updated 10/11/2013


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