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Gilmerton Cove, Edinburgh

4.7
#12 of 44 in Historic Sites in Edinburgh
Historic Site Tourist Spot
No one knows exactly what prompted the creation of Gilmerton Cove, a labyrinth of hand-carved passages and chambers operating as a secret city underneath the streets of Gilmerton. Possibilities for this soapstone structure, known locally as the Cove, include a clandestine drinking den, a smugglers’ lair, and a refuge for the persecuted. Audio tours and visual exhibits explain evidence for each theory, but much of the fun is wondering how it all came together and why. Some passageways are dark; bring a flashlight if you can. Wearing stable shoes to grip the smooth surface is a must. Tours must be booked in advance. Our Edinburgh travel itinerary planner makes visiting Gilmerton Cove and other Edinburgh attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
626 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Glimerton lies about 6 km (4 miles) from the center of Edinburgh.  Underneath its main street lies a labyrinth of hand-made caves and chambers ("cove" is the old Scots word for cave). Some say they ma...  more »
  • The tour guide was excellent and very knowledgeable teasing out all the theories of the origins of these subterranean rooms and passages in a humorous yet erudite fashion. You get plenty of time to lo...  more »
  • I loved Gilmerton Cove. The air of mystery was right up my street. It's up to each individual to decide what they believe this hand-carved collection of sandstone caverns was intended for. My favourit...  more »
Google
  • Awesome local landmark! Definitely recommend a visit. Guide was fantastic.
  • Interesting place with a brilliant guide. Well worth a visit.
  • Highly recommend this hidden gem of a place. Our knowledgeable guide showed us around the mysterious underground caverns. Has to been seen to be believed!
  • Fascinating tour. Great host, clearly passionate about Gilmerton Cove and its past. Don't be put off by its out-of-town location; it's easy to get to by regular buses from Princes Street or North Bridge and well worth the visit.
  • Interesting place. Sounds like it's set to become more interesting as more is discovered.

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Edinburgh hides a maze of cobbled streets dotted with boutique hotels offering inexpensive rooms and outstanding restaurants. Many of the city's Gothic buildings house chic hotels with easy access to most of the city’s main tourist sites. For a uniquely Scottish experience, consider staying in the famous old town. Despite being in this historical district, many hotels here feature contemporary decor with lots of glass walls and muted color schemes. They’re also known for offering spacious rooms, comfortable beds, and restaurants serving classic European cuisine, with a modern Scottish twist.
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