Hotel Indigo Edinburgh, 51 - 59 York Place, EH1 3JD

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A History of Horror - Meet the Ghosts of Edinburgh

The ancient city of Edinburgh is steeped in history over many millennia. Historical baggage of these proportions are usually accompanied by thrilling tales of gruesome goings-on and spine-chilling sightings.

This Halloween, get cosy and warm, lock the doors and indulge on trick-or-treat candy in the dark while we wind our way through the most horrifying historical stories from Edinburgh.


The Black Mausoleum

Greyfriars Kirkyard has been a used cemetery since the late 16th century, and is packed with bodies, so much so the land has risen several inches higher than the accompanying road, Candlemaker row. The Black Mausoleum, however, is one of the most haunted spots in Edinburgh, known as ‘Bloody MacKenzie’s Tomb’. It’s the final resting place of George MacKenzie, a merciless persecutor of The Scottish Covenanters.

Ghost tours over the years have taken visitors inside the domed chamber, and many have emerged with bruises, burns, scratches and even broken bones. As of 2006, there had been an astonishing 450 documented attacks.


The West Bow

The West Bow is perhaps one of our most iconic streets, leading onto Victoria Street. One of the houses was owned by Major Thomas Weir, a well-respected member of the community.

On his sickbed in 1650, the Major surprisingly confessed to a series of blood-curdling, occult offences, some of which included incest, witchcraft and even necromancy. Sentenced to death for witchcraft, Weir was executed and his body burned.

The house remained dormant for a century, before a couple moved in in the late 1700s, who were soon plagued by evil apparitions which ultimately led them to flee. Even though the house remained dormant, people can still hear the noises coming from the house to this day.


The Great Lafayette

Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Nicolson Street has a long history. Built in 1892 and originally named the Empire Palace Theatre, a devastating fire broke out on stage in 1911. Though all 3000 audience members escaped, there were sadly 11 backstage deaths, along with a performing lion.

One of the people killed in the blaze was Sigmund Neuberger, known by his stage name, the Great Lafayette, and was the highest paid magician of his time. To this day, backstage crew have reported seeing the apparition of a tall, dark stranger, believed to be his ghost.


Queensberry House

This well-known house, built in the 17th century, has an extremely disturbing past. The site of a horrible tragedy, The first duke passed away there, followed by his daughter suffering a terrible death after accidentally setting herself alight. The second duke’s son, James Douglas, Third Marquess of Queensberry was said to be “an idiot of the most wretched kind, rabid and gluttonous as a wild animal”.

James Douglas was kept locked away, but one day, at 10-years-old, he was left alone and escaped from his room. Upon escaping, he seized a servant boy, and roasted him on the kitchen spit. Douglas was still eating the boy when the duke and his household returned. The young figure of James Douglas is said to still haunt the halls.



Edinburgh Castle

Of course this historical landmark is home to a few ghoulies! A young piper who disappeared without a trace hundreds of years ago can still be heard today, the faint notes of a lost soul.

More sinisterly, head down to the dungeons for tales of a headless drummer boy and a group of French prisoners captured during the Seven Years War, all of whom are regularly sighted around the castle.



The Royal Mile

King James VI was so concerned about witchcraft, he created a frenzy throughout Edinburgh during the 17th Century. Older women suffering from mental illnesses and even females with knowledge of science were labelled as witches and senselessly murdered.

Many of these women, reports claim between 300 and 500, were dragged to a market place on the Royal Mile and burned alive. Thankfully, this terrible period of British history stopped hundreds of years ago, but you can still visit the place that was regularly used to burn the poor ladies, and some of you may notice a sudden temperature drop.



Little Annie

Beneath Edinburgh is the old city, with a collection of underground passageways you’re able to visit at Real Mary King’s Close. The city underground was inhabited by Edinburgh's poorest people, as well as vagrants, thieves and other ‘undesirable’ members of society.

Fans of ghost hunts and stories may wish to take a toy to give to Abandoned Annie, the ghost of a little girl abandoned in the Black plague, who is said to reach out and grab your hand in the darkness.  To this day, there are thousands of dolls, toys and even money left at her makeshift altar. The money is collected by the council every year and donated to help sick children.

We hope you enjoyed our ghost stories of Edinburgh’s history. Even on the ghostliest of nights, we hope our 3 for 2 offer can tempt you to fight the fear on Halloween!

Why not try one of the ghost hunts here in Edinburgh for your spooky staycation?




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Hotel Indigo Edinburgh Reviews



This hotel is such a great find. Its location cannot be beat and the rooms are incredibly nice. Great amenities (including complimentary mini bar) and great service. Would definitely stay here again!


Newcastle upon Tyne

I stayed here overnight to see Justin Timberlake on his Man of The Woods Tour. We were greeted with the warmest welcome by the receptionist...genuinely helpful and friendly. We stayed in the Suite, which has everything I could possibly need. A FREE (well stocked) mini bar! Robes, Aveda toiletries, slippers, free calls, a very appreciated cafetiere with ground coffee and a lovely selection of teas. 30mins in and a welcome plate arrived with 5 good size desserts...gorgeous.

Room service was excellent and the breakfast was utterly delicious and brought to the room at no extra charge. The room was very large and spacious with a huge double bed, blissfully comfortable. When needed in the evening the staff pressed a button at reception and a taxi arrived within 2 minutes...Outstanding service!

I had such a fantastic stay here that I shall return in November and I'll be re-booking this Suite.


Kingston upon Hull

Less than 10 mins walk from Waverley. Staff were very polite, helpful and friendly throughout our stay. Room was a good size with a great bathroom. Large shower, robes and Aveda products included. Fridge with free cold drinks. Good breakfast with plenty of choice. Both couples enjoyed and would stay again.



Really nice friendly boutique hotel. We didn't arrive until late but the hotel was more than happy to let us check in late. After checking in we also asked for some area recommendations, which again the staff were more than happy to give us. Our room was really nice and very clean, bed was comfortable and gave us a good night sleep. We stayed for two night and did not hear any noise from the hotel or any of the other guest. In a good location with only a short walk to the shops and restaurant/cinema ! If staying on Edinburgh I would highly recommend this hotel!



Stayed for one night, but very impressed. Receptionist was fantastic, very professional, helpful, good looking and immaculately presented. The room was excellent, very clean, bed comfortable and the shower was fantastic, hot and powerful.

Breakfast well worth the money, with attention to detail and served hot. The location is excellent with just a 10 minutes walk from the station and to Princess Street. I will definitely stay here again.

Great boutique hotel and great value for money. Wish I was staying for longer.



Had a one night stay here. The location is great, right beside a Tram Stop, 2 minute walk to St Andrews Square bus station, 15 min from Waverley Train station and short walk to main shopping and restaurants. Hotel was very clean & comfortable. Good Breakfast. Very friendly staff.



Really nice hotel in a fantastic location for train station, shopping and nightlife. Lovely rooms, with complimentary snacks and lovely Aveda toiletries in the room. Bed was really comfortable, breakfast was also excellent and the staff very friendly. Would definitely recommend this hotel to family and friends visiting Edinburgh.



Visited the hotel and stayed 2 nights having stayed at the Indigo in London. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Lovely rooms, great service, very good location opposite the tram stop and bus routes.
Lovely bar and restaurant is on site if you prefer to stay close for dinner!



I stayed at Hotel Indigo for first time last week, the service from the reception, bar and restaurant staff was faultless. The room was very comfortable and the bed was the comfiest i have ever slept in. The Hotel is situated close to the Playhouse and only 5 minute walk from waverley station, there are several good bars and restaurants in the vicinity. A great Hotel in a good area.

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