Edinburgh heritage site invests £200,000 following record-breaking sales

Visitors in the TRMKC gift shop

THE REAL Mary King’s Close has completed an exciting renovation project, costing £200,000, to transform its listed Burgh Courtroom, located in Edinburgh’s City Chambers, into an impressive new retail experience on the Royal Mile, further improving the visitor journey at the top Edinburgh tourist attraction.  

Following a complete redesign, the new design allows the original assets of the courtroom to stand out thanks to celebrated interior specialists, Lumsden Design. Working with the symmetry of the room to accentuate details, the layout of the newly curated gift shop takes inspiration from Edinburgh’s 17th century market stalls, the Luckenbooths.  

The Luckenbooths were the city’s first permanent shops. Situated on the Royal Mile across from St Giles Cathedral, they could be found just a stone’s throw away from Mary King’s Close before the street was hidden beneath the City Chambers in 1753.  

Excitingly, the new space also aims to improve the visitor experience. By connecting the guest journey from Mary King’s Close to the gift shop more seamlessly, the Burgh Courtroom now provides an interesting new extension of the tour itself, with the history of the room being revealed to guests on tour for the very first time. 

The popular attraction views the renovation work as an investment following its hugely successful year, with over a quarter of a million people visiting in 2023. Much of The Real Mary King’s Close’s highest footfall came during the annual Fringe festival and the school holidays. July saw a record-breaking number of visitors journey underground, with The Met Office reporting that it was the UK’s wettest July since 2009, and the sixth wettest July on record.  

With the addition of exclusive monthly special tours in 2023, including a Herstory Tour for Women’s History Month in March and the Pride History Tour in June, visitors were able to learn from a wealth of fascinating social history experiences, providing a deeper insight into Edinburgh’s dark and fascinating past.  

Paul Nixon, General Manager at The Real Mary King’s Close, said: ‘Reflecting on knock-on effect of the pandemic on the tourism industry overall in recent years, we are delighted to see a consistent increase in our footfall. We want to invest in our fantastic Burgh Courtroom to ensure our guests are getting the highest quality visitor experience as possible. We’re really looking forward to seeing the gift shop transform to a space that is reminiscent of the time and feeds into the social history of Mary King’s Close itself.’ 

For more information about The Real Mary King’s Close, visit https://www.realmarykingsclose.com 

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