Mary King’s Close – A Glimpse at 17th Century Edinburgh


Care to get a feel for what life was like in 17th Century Edinburgh?  Perhaps even a touch of paranormal contact with a “being” of Olde Edinburgh?   Well then, Mary King’s Close is the place to be!

Mary King’s Close is a very real address on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. But, it’s one of those that time forgot. Until recently that is. For those of you who hadn’t known, a “close” is the original term for the narrow streets with houses on either side, some of which stretched up 7 stories during their time. In the 1600s, Mary Kings Close was one of many such bustling narrow streets so typical of Edinburgh in that era.

What’s most interesting about this place is that it’s entirely underground, having been trapped
by a 1750s-vintage urban renewal program.  At that time, a new Royal Exchange (now City Chambers) building complex went up, wherein the tops of the old buildings were sheared off leaving the bottoms to serve as foundations. These old buildings were “rediscovered” and reopened in 2003 with all their centuries of dankness and mystery revealed. That’s the Mary King’s Close Experience.

A visit to Mary Kings’ is both an eerie and moving experience.  One can see and feel how folks lived back in the 16th and 17th century. Why, you might even meet a folk or two. Visitors can also learn about the affects of The Black Plague in Edinburgh. Perhaps even more than they’d ever want to know!

For those participating in the Albannach/Ross Homecoming Tour in March 2010, we’ll be offering the Experience opportunity.  Presently, this is planned as an “optional” event on the itinerary and we’d appreciate hearing from you with your interest.  And, for anyone interested, in any way in Mary King’s Close, here are a few links: (copywrite Antix Productions)

The Real Mary King’s Close is funded by the City of Edinburgh Council and operated by Heritage, part of Continuum.

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