Capital of Infamy!

Private half day walking tour (up to 8 guests)

Infamy – the state of being well known for some bad quality or deed.

With our nearly thousand years of conflict-ridden, argumentative, litigious, and often bloody history, Auld Reekie has infamy just oozing from its very cobblestones, and that’s the very quality that we’ll be taking a fascinating look at in this half day Old Town walking tour!

But – infamy isn’t necessarily all bad! Granted, some of our infamous events and people would be notorious in any age, like the murderous ‘Black Dinner’ which begins our tour, or the brutal torture and execution as witches of innocent women over nearly two centuries. However, many of those characters who today are heroes of Edinburgh, like poets Allan Ramsay and Robert Burns, or philosopher David Hume, were themselves infamous in some way in their day.

These are the stories we’ll be telling – from downright treachery and evil, to characters who were simply before their time. Edinburgh has them all, and by the end of your tour, you’ll know all about them!

Edinburgh’s Most Infamous!


To whet your appetite, these are some of the characters and events you’ll meet on the tour…


An infamous BETRAYAL – Edinburgh Castle’s ‘Black Dinner’ of 1440

An infamous DEBTOR – no less than King James VI/I of Scotland!

An infamous LIBERAL – poet and theatre impresario Allan Ramsay

Infamous BRUTALITY – the execution of supposed witches on Castlehill

An infamous CRITIC – Dr Samuel Johnson, terror of 18th century writers

Infamous INTOLERANCE – a pet blackbird, arrested for Sabbath-breaking!

Infamous TREACHERY – by the aristocratic ladies of Edinburgh in 1745!

An infamous DRUNKARD – thirsty 18th Century judge, Lord Newton

An infamous HAUNTED HOUSE – of the supposed warlock Major Thomas Weir

An infamous WOMANISER – the Bard himself, Rabbie Burns!

Infamous LIARS – the ‘Whey Club’, purveyors of fake news!

An infamous CRIMINAL – Deacon Brodie, respectable by day, robber by night!

An infamous ATHEIST – no room for gods in David Hume’s philosophy!

An infamous RIOT – the Town Guard’s captain lynched by the Edinburgh mob

Infamous CORRUPTION – of the courts of the 1600’s

An infamous PRISON – the dreaded ‘Heart of Midlothian’

An infamous FIRE – the ‘Great Fire’ of 1824

An infamous QUACK DOCTOR – James Graham, sexologist extraordinaire!

An infamous REBEL – Irish independence hero James Connolly

An infamous STREET – The Cowgate, Edinburgh’s historic ‘Skid Row’.

An infamous GANG LEADER – shoemaker ‘General’ Joseph Smith, king of the mob.

An infamous AMBUSH – junior surgeons hijack a body from a funeral cortege!

An infamous CLUB – the notorious ‘Hell-Fire Club’

An infamous STREET BATTLE – the ‘Cleanse the Causeway’ battle – for power!

An infamous BLACKMAILER – satirist for hire ‘Claudero’ – pay, or be lampooned!

An infamous VEGETABLE – long under suspicion as a ‘dangerous aphrodisiac’… 



tour essentials

Half day tour (approximately 4 hours)

Coffee stop or takeaway refreshments en route as wished (not inclusive)

Moderately strenuous walking – steep street and path gradients, long flight of stone steps at one point. Not recommended for guests with symptomatic cardiac, respiratory or musculoskeletal problems.

No formal lower or upper age limit.

Group maximum size 8.

Social distancing enforced, masks and alcohol hand rub available.

Cancellation available without charge until 24 hours before tour.

7 Hills Tours reserve the right to cancel in case of poor weather, with full refund if pre-paid.