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Mary King's Close

by Emily Smith
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About Mary King’s Close

Mary King’s Close is an underground street in Edinburgh, Scotland that dates back to the 17th century. It is a historic site that offers visitors a glimpse into the life of Edinburgh’s past residents. The Close is named after Mary King, a merchant who owned property on the street.

Today, Mary King’s Close is a popular tourist attraction, offering guided tours for visitors to explore the underground passageways and learn about the history of the area. The Close has been preserved to give a sense of what life was like for the people who lived and worked there centuries ago.

During the tour, visitors can hear stories about the residents of Mary King’s Close, including tales of the plague and the living conditions in the cramped underground spaces. The guides provide insights into the daily life and struggles of the people who called the Close their home.

Overall, Mary King’s Close offers a unique and fascinating glimpse into Edinburgh’s past, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those interested in learning more about the city’s rich heritage.

Interesting facts about Mary King’s Close

  1. Mary King’s Close is a historic underground street located in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  2. It is named after a prominent businesswoman, Mary King, who operated a shop on the close in the 17th century.
  3. The close was covered over and built upon in the 18th century, but the underground street and houses were preserved beneath the city.
  4. Visitors can take guided tours of Mary King’s Close to learn about its history and the lives of the people who once lived there.
  5. Legend has it that Mary King’s Close is haunted, with tales of ghostly sightings and mysterious occurrences.
  6. The close was famously used during outbreaks of the plague in the 17th century, leading to rumors of bodies being walled up alive inside the buildings.
  7. Mary King’s Close is preserved as a historical attraction, allowing visitors to explore underground chambers and hear stories of its past.
  8. The close is part of the wider Edinburgh Old Town World Heritage Site, a collection of historic buildings and streets dating back centuries.
  9. Due to its unique subterranean location, Mary King’s Close offers a glimpse into Edinburgh’s hidden history and architecture.
  10. Visitors to Mary King’s Close can experience a mix of history, folklore, and storytelling, making it a fascinating destination for those interested in Edinburgh’s past.

Frequently asked questions about Mary King’s Close

1. What is Mary King’s Close?

Mary King’s Close is an underground street and alleyway system located beneath the Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland.

2. When was Mary King’s Close built?

Mary King’s Close was built in the 17th century, around the 1600s.

3. Why is Mary King’s Close a popular tourist attraction?

Mary King’s Close is a popular tourist attraction due to its historical significance and reputation for being haunted.

4. Who was Mary King and why is the close named after her?

Mary King was a prominent businesswoman who owned several properties on the close. The close is named after her due to her association with the area.

5. What can visitors expect to see and do at Mary King’s Close?

Visitors can take guided tours of the close, learn about its history, hear stories of past residents, and explore the underground passageways.

6. Are there any ghost stories associated with Mary King’s Close?

Yes, there are several ghost stories and legends associated with Mary King’s Close, making it a popular destination for ghost hunters and enthusiasts.

7. How long does a typical tour of Mary King’s Close last?

A typical tour of Mary King’s Close lasts around 1 hour, although there are different types of tours available with varying durations.

8. Is Mary King’s Close accessible to wheelchair users and those with mobility issues?

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the underground tunnels and narrow passageways, Mary King’s Close is not wheelchair accessible.

9. Is photography allowed at Mary King’s Close?

Photography is allowed during the tours at Mary King’s Close, but flash photography is not permitted to preserve the historic environment.

10. How can visitors purchase tickets to visit Mary King’s Close?

Visitors can purchase tickets to visit Mary King’s Close online through the official website or in person at the entrance. It is recommended to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

What people love about Mary King’s Close

During my recent trip to Mary King’s Close, I was captivated by the rich history and intriguing stories of the past inhabitants. The narrow, winding streets and hidden underground passages provided a unique glimpse into Edinburgh’s past. The guides were knowledgeable and passionate about sharing the secrets of this hidden gem with visitors. I highly recommend taking a tour of Mary King’s Close to experience a fascinating journey through time.

How to get to Mary King’s Close

To get to Mary King’s Close, located in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland, you have various transportation options depending on where you are coming from.

If you are already in Edinburgh city center, you can easily walk to Mary King’s Close as it is situated on the Royal Mile, a popular tourist area. Simply head to the Royal Mile and look for signs directing you to the close.

If you are arriving in Edinburgh by train, you can disembark at Waverley Station, which is a short walk from Mary King’s Close. Just follow the signs for the Royal Mile and you will soon reach your destination.

If you are arriving by bus, there are several bus stops in the city center that are within walking distance of Mary King’s Close. You can check with the local bus service for the most convenient route.

For those driving, there are several parking options in the city center, including metered street parking and car parks. Keep in mind that parking can be limited and expensive in this area, so it may be more convenient to use public transportation.

Overall, getting to Mary King’s Close is relatively easy due to its central location in Edinburgh. Just plan your route based on where you are coming from and enjoy exploring this historic attraction.

When to visit

The best time of year to visit Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, Scotland is during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. This is typically between April to June and September to October. During these times, the weather is generally mild, the crowds are smaller, and you can fully enjoy the experience without feeling overwhelmed by tourists. Additionally, the lighting in the close can create an eerie atmosphere that adds to the overall experience of exploring this historic site. It’s also worth considering visiting during the winter months for a unique perspective, as the close may be decked out in festive decorations.

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