A tour company that runs walking tours around Edinburgh’s Old Town has just scared its 100,000th customer.
To mark the milestone, Alexandria Matos, a student from Edinburgh, was carried by sedan chair from the Royal Mile to Greyfriars Kirkyard to drink champagne with several ghosts – and a Skye terrier called Bob.
She was also given a free tour, flowers and a magnum of champagne.
City of Edinburgh Tours runs historical and ghostly tours of Edinburgh’s turbulent past, including underground tours of the city’s long-forgotten vaults.
In 2012, the company acquired the old Police Box on the Royal Mile, outside the Tron Kirk, for £102,000 – making it, per square foot, one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the world.
The 100,000th achievement underlines the growing popularity of walking tours as part of the city’s attraction for tourists.
Visitors to Edinburgh in 2014 totalled 4,217,000 (38.5% of which were from overseas), injected around £1.32 billion into the city region's economy and accounted for 14.77 million bed nights.
The tours began over 20 years ago when David Nish, storyteller and published historian, first saw the potential of taking people on walking tours around the Royal Mile and into the vaults.
David, who still leads City of Edinburgh Tours as “Davy The Ghost,” is now one of Edinburgh’s longest-standing ghost tour guides.
City of Edinburgh Tours now employs eleven full and part-time employees, and attracts tourists from all over the world – with tours in a number of European languages.
David Nish said: “The popularity of our walking tours continues to grow and we welcome customers from around the world – and including many Edinburgh residents who want to learn a bit more about their city.
“Our tours are historically accurate and intended as walking theatre, with guides dressed as real characters from history, to add a touch of drama and fun.”
Alexandria Matos said: “I really didn’t expect this and I feel very lucky to have been chosen as the 100,000th customer.”
A media story on the purchase of the Police Box can be found here:
For further information, please contact:
William Nish, City of Edinburgh Tours: firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 07849 974470
City of Edinburgh Tours was formed in 2012 when Kit Fraser, a friend of the storyteller David Nish, arranged the purchase of the police box on the Royal Mile. Davy chooses and trains every guide, with each one becoming a real character from history. Tourists are led through the ancient wynds and closes of Edinburgh, the graveyard beneath the castle, and end up in an underground street which was closed off and bricked up centuries ago. The company has grown to employ four full-time and seven part-time staff.
Davy was born just off the Royal Mile, where his family has lived for at least two hundred years. He grew up hearing stories from his mother and grandmother that went back though centuries of Edinburgh history. He has published A Concise History of Scotland from Day One till Day Two, a factual but light-hearted take on Scottish history.
In the early 90s, Davy became one of the first people to visit Edinburgh’s underground vaults and streets, and came up with the idea of introducing them to the general public.