The Silent traveller - Chiang Yee in Edinburgh

Half day private vehicle tour (audio narration in Chinese available)

Chiang Yee was without doubt one of Edinburgh’s most cultured visitors of the whole 20th Century, though at the time, in an Edinburgh taken up with World War II, his visit aroused only mild curiosity except in academic and art circles, which welcomed him as a distinguished scholar.

In exile from his home and family in central China, Chiang Yee was already a trained painter and talented poet before creating some of the most beautiful and sensitive travelogues ever to have appeared in Britain. One such was ‘The Silent Traveller in Edinburgh’, in which the author muses, composes and paints his way through wartime Edinburgh, in writing of poetic simplicity but also great profundity. 

Thanks to colleagues Chang Zhao and Tony Wang, a sensitive audio narration of the entire tour in Chinese is available!

(Picture credit Welcome Library) 

Your Itinerary

We’ll be visiting many of Chiang Yee’s favourite places in the city, where he was inspired to painting or poetry, and reading from his wonderful account of his Edinburgh months.

Picking your party up at your accommodation or cruise vessel, we’ll first retrace Chiang Yee’s initial journey on his Edinburgh visit,  to his lodgings in the Marchmont area. We’ll take a short walk there, then continue to the idyllic Blackford Pond, also walking part-way up Blackford Hill, hearing from Chiang Yee’s book as we go.

Our next stop is perhaps Edinburgh’s greatest woodland walk, the tranquil Hermitage of Braid, which was also a favourite of Yee; here we’ll walk right along the beautiful valley, some two miles in all, comparing our own experience to the author’s, some 75 years ago.

After all that exercise a rest will be in order, so we’ll stop at the prestigious Braid Hills hotel for refreshments, before continuing along the scenic Braid Hills Road, with our destination the historic Palace of Holyrood. Chiang Yee was much taken with the tragic story of Mary Queen of Scots, and here you can read his own writings about her as you take a relaxed wander round the Palace and grounds. Holyrood is the last stop on our tour (before optional return to your accommodation), and we hope you will have had a most informative and enjoyable time in the company of ‘The Silent Traveller’.

The tour price includes a complimentary copy of ‘The Silent Traveller in Edinburgh’ as a souvenir for your party, either in English or Chinese.

tour essentials


  • Family members under 18 years free
  • Credit/debit cards, cash, Apple/Samsung pay, cash accepted.
  • Half day tour (approx four and half hours)
  • Visiting key locations in Edinburgh from Chiang Yee’s book, ‘The Silent Traveller in Edinburgh’
  • Pickup at accommodation included; tour finishes at Palace of Holyroodhouse or at choice of other location.
  • Refreshment stop (tea/coffee and scones inclusive), at Braid Hills Hotel
  • Approximately 3 miles of walking included, including some stairs and easy hillwalking – appropriate standard of health and fitness is recommended, not suitable for guests with mobility issues.
  • Warm clothing required
  • Weather dependent tour – 7 Hills Tours may cancel and refund in case of severe weather
  • Free cancellation up to 24hrs before tour time
  • Commentary from local guide (written information at Palace of Holyroodhouse)
  • Complimentary copy of Chiang Yee’s book inclusive
  • Children welcome but any child safety seat(s) must be provided by guests