Discover Scotland's LGBTQIA+ past this Pride month at The Real Mary King's Close

Top Edinburgh attraction, The Real Mary King’s Close announces return of its popular Pride History Tours.

To celebrate Pride Month, The Real Mary King’s Close is once again hosting a series of educational and thought-provoking ‘Pride History Tours’, designed to reveal the hidden histories of LGBTQIA+ community life in Edinburgh from as far back as 1546 until 1912.

The LGBTQIA+ community tend to be missing from the history books, and it can often be difficult to imagine the struggles they had to face throughout the centuries. This 1-hour guided tour, led by the renowned Scottish poet, Robert Fergusson, or Marie Maitland, allows guests the chance to journey beneath the iconic Royal Mile to learn about key moments in history, influential figures who paved the way for change, and those who tried to stand in their way.

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Whilst wandering through the now-hidden streets, guests will discover real stories from real people. During the tour, Sophia Jex-Blake and Dr James Barry will also shed light on their successes as well as the struggles they faced as LGBTQIA+ identifying members of the community.

Pride History Tours at The Real Mary King's ClosePride History Tours at The Real Mary King's Close
Pride History Tours at The Real Mary King's Close

During Pride month, it’s important to look back as well as forward, to realise how much the discourse around sexuality has evolved over the years. The vocabulary and terms used today to describe sexuality didn’t exist until around the mid-20th century. When talking of homosexuality from the 16th to 19th century, it was described in various terms such as “buggery” and “sodomy”. If someone was seen to be disobeying the heteronormative codes of society, they would be brutally condemned, ostracised and even sentenced to death.

Participation in The Real Mary King’s Close Pride Tours will provide guests with a deeper understanding and nuanced insight of the history of the LGBTQIA+ community in Edinburgh and in Scotland.

Paul Nixon, General Manager at The Real Mary King’s Close, said: “We’re so excited that our Pride Tours are back for Pride Month. Each year they grow with popularity with guests wanting to celebrate and learn about the diversity, resilience, and the importance of inclusivity throughout the centuries. The aim of the tours is to encourage acceptance and community through storytelling, and we hope we have encapsulated this in our specially curated tour. We can’t wait to welcome everyone, share our knowledge of the past, and help shape the future.”

Tours will be running throughout June, every Friday and Saturday at 16.00 and 17.30. Prices are £30 per adult / £24 per child.

For more information and bookings please visit:

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