9 Facts and myths about Edinburgh


Urban myths spread quicker in Edinburgh than anywhere else in the UK – especially when there is a ripping yarn attached.

We take a look at 9 Edinburgh urban myths to disprove right away.

Myth: The Royal Mile is a mile in length
Fact: This may be Edinburgh’s most famous streets but contrary to what its name may suggest, the Royal Mile is approximately one Scots mile long. One mile today is 1.6 kilometres while a Scots mile is about 1.8km.

Myth: Plague victims are buried under Bruntsfield Links
Fact: Between the 15th and 17th centuries the old Burgh Muir Forest was used to isolate plague victims. Today, Bruntsfield Links with its golf course is all that remains of Burgh Muir. A rumour has spread that the bumps on the golf course is where the bodies are buried. This is not true as most victims were transferred to hospital in the area.

Myth: Nobody uses the trams in Edinburgh
Fact: Almost 5 million people used the Edinburgh trams in the first year of service, working out at over 400,000 travellers per month. 95% of tram users are reportedly happy with the service.

Myth: The Tale of Greyfriars Bobby is true
Fact: As much as we want the tale of Greyfriars Bobby to be true, it is much more likely to have involved a stray dog who lived in the graveyard. The legend goes that the dog’s owner, John Gray was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard and that his loyal dog, Bobby sat on his grave for the next 14 years. Friends and neighbours of John Gray have disputed this version of events.

Myth: It is a popular tradition to rub Bobby’s nose for luck
Fact: Visitors to Edinburgh have taken to rubbing the nose on the statue of Greyfriars Bobby on the George IV Bridge for luck. This has resulted in the once black nose turning gold, to the irritation of the locals.

Myth: The Edinburgh Festival is the city’s biggest event
Fact: The Edinburgh International Festival is considered to be among the most important cultural celebrations in the world but the Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world. Almost 2 million tickets are sold annually. Also, the Edinburgh International Science Festival is the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

Myth: Trainspotting was filmed in Edinburgh
Fact: Although this iconic film featured a handful of Edinburgh landmarks, not much of the filming actually took place in the city. Much of the film was shot in Glasgow, the Highlands and around London.

Myth: It is always raining in Edinburgh
Fact: Rainfall in Edinburgh comes in well below the Scottish average. It rains less in Edinburgh than in Frankfurt, Rome or New York!

Myth: The ghost of a bagpiper haunts the Castle
Fact: An old city, Edinburgh has many ghost stories but most people are sceptical about this one. The story goes that a few hundred years ago secret tunnels were discovered under the Castle where a lone bagpiper was asked to explore, so that they could follow him from above. The bagpipes were said to have stopped abruptly and the piper was never found. Allegedly his ghostly piping can still be heard today.

If you would like more information about things to see and do in Edinburgh and accommodation, check out Eventful Stays.