Record-breaking year for Edinburgh’s underground attraction

The Real Mary King's Close

THE REAL Mary King’s Close reports a record-breaking year for 2023 after welcoming over a quarter of a million guests underground to explore the hidden streets of Edinburgh. Located beneath the Capital’s iconic Royal Mile, the Close saw over 257,000 visitors, smashing their previous record year in 2019 by over 10,000 people. 

The Real Mary King’s Close has not only established itself as one of Edinburgh’s top tourist attractions, but as one of the UK’s most highly rated experiences on TripAdvisor; inviting visitors to journey underground, encounter fascinating former residents, and become immersed in the city’s secrets and untold stories. Even with the increase in number of visitors, the attraction is at an all-time high with a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, holding prestigious spots such as the 4thbest thing to do in Edinburgh and 10th best visitor attraction in the UK.

The celebrated attraction continues to provide both tourists and locals in Edinburgh with a fascinating glimpse into the city’s dark past; such as the extreme living conditions endured during the plague and the harsh effects of social hierarchy during the 17th century. 

Since reopening in May 2021 post-pandemic, the Close has welcomed over half a million guests, as people from all over the world come to learn about Edinburgh’s rich history. In 2023 alone, the attraction welcomed visitors from 162 different countries including France, China, USA, Peru, Swaziland and Kazakhstan. 

The year was topped off with the completion of an exciting renovation project. Following a £200,000 investment, the Close transformed its listed Burgh Courtroom, located in Edinburgh’s City Chambers, into an impressive new retail experience on the Royal Mile, elevating the space and the experience. 

Paul Nixon, General Manager at The Real Mary King’s Close, said: “We are thrilled to have had such a successful year in 2023 and welcome so many people from all over the world, it is a true testament to everyone here in the team. 

“We first opened our doors 20 years ago in 2003 to reveal the true stories of Mary King’s Close and its former residents. Since then, we have grown from strength to strength, positioning ourselves as a leading attraction in Scotland’s historical tourism sector. 

“Summer is always a particularly popular time for us, however 2023 saw a fantastic level of growth all year, with significant increase in numbers during the low seasons as well. No matter the time of year there’s plenty to discover here at the Close.”

“At the Close we are passionate about storytelling and creating unforgettable experiences that transport our visitors back in time. As we do this, we also look forward to the future and we can’t wait to see what 2024 will bring!”

For more information about The Real Mary King’s Close and bookings please visit:

The latest stories