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Pride History Tours

Exclusive tours to celebrate Pride Month at The Real Mary King’s Close

To celebrate Pride Month, The Real Mary King’s Close is sharing its research in a series of educational and thought-provoking ‘Pride History Tours’. These have been designed to reveal the hidden histories of LGBTQIA+ community life in Edinburgh from as far back as the mid-16th century until 1912.

The LGBTQIA+ community tend to be missing in history books, and it can be difficult to imagine the struggles they had to face throughout the centuries. 

It is important to remember that terms such as “gay”, “lesbian”, and “bisexual” 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 mainly “sodomy”. Furthermore, the death penalty for Sodomy was not abolished until 1887.

The tour takes visitors deep beneath the Royal Mile to explore the preserved location of Mary King’s Close. Here, gain insight into true and compelling stories about real people. In particular, people who were essential to the development of art, literature and science in Edinburgh.
Like last year, the tours will be led by either Robert Fergusson or Marie Maitland.
Robert Fergusson is an 18th-century Scottish poet who was a main inspiration to the famed Robert Burns. Marie Maitland is considered to be the author of Poem 49 in the Maitland Quarto manuscript. She penned this in 1586. It’s likely one of the first known examples of Sapphic poetry in Early Modern Europe.
Guests will also get to meet Edinburgh medical pioneers, Dr James Barry and Sophia Jex-Blake, along the way.

Join us as we celebrate real people who pioneered Edinburgh’s history.

Age restriction

This tour is available for children over 5 years old.

However, please be advised that this guided tour contains graphic language that may not be suitable for children and could potentially offend the sensitivities of younger audiences.

Friday & Saturday in June
16.00 | 17.30
£30 per adult
£24 per child (5-15yo)
1-hour guided tour
x1 main character guide (Robert Ferguson or Marie Maitland)
x2 additional interactive characters
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