Walking Tours

Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.

— Cormac McCarthy

Jim Slaven has lived in Edinburgh all his life. He has an Honours Degree in Mental Philosophy and a Postgraduate Degree in Community Education, both from the University of Edinburgh.

Jim has written widely on Scottish culture, politics and history. He has been involved in various community organisations and campaign in Edinburgh over the last 30 years. He has also worked on a consultancy or volunteer basis with community organisations throughout Scotland, England and Ireland.

As an educator Jim tutors courses on the social implications of change in the Old Town, the life of Patrick Geddes and the history of Edinburgh’s Little Ireland. He has given talks and multimedia presentations on James Connolly in several countries across Europe and Latin America.

His unconventional tours of Edinburgh’s Old Town have attracted five star reviews and thousands of people over the last 30 years. Equally at home taking visitors on tours or local community groups, students and businesses. Jim is happy to customise his tours to meet your needs.

Edinburgh Detours is a not-for-profit educational organisation raising awareness of Edinburgh’s social history and architectural heritage through guided tours and events.

All our tours are unique. They are specially designed and crafted in the Old Town. We do not sell places on other people’s tours. Each tour is meticulously researched. Edinburgh Detours never re-sell other people’s tours. We only lead tours we are proud of.

Previous Edinburgh Detours Walking Tours

Iconic Edinburgh

Visit some of Edinburgh’s most famous attractions.

Footsteps of Patrick Geddes

A tour of sites relevant to Patrick Geddes within Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Freedom Trail

A journey through the streets and closes of Edinburgh’s radical political history. Featuring revolutionaries such as Thomas Muir and James Connolly and their relationship to the city’s Old Town.

Women of Edinburgh

Meet some of the remarkable women who have called Edinburgh their home.

In Edinburgh’s Booksteps

A tour centred around literature and the city.

Little Ireland

A unique tour around Edinburgh’s Little Ireland.

Independence Tour

Explore Scotland’s struggle for independence around the streets and closes of the Old Town and surrounding area.

The Alternative Pub Crawl

No tartan but plenty character. Visit some authentic Edinburgh bars and meet some of their customers in the company of a local guide.

James Connolly’s Edinburgh

A hero of the 1916 Rising in Ireland, a famed union organiser in the United States but James Connolly lived in Edinburgh longer than anywhere else. Visit some of the sites of significance and learn about Edinburgh’s role in the making of a revolutionary.

The Old Town Revealed

Learn about the overlooked, forgotten or hidden history of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Canal Journeys

A walk along the canal and a journey back in time. Learn about the building of the canal and the social and economic changes of the period.

Beyond the Festival

This tour only runs during the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe. It offers visitors an opportunity to escape the tourist traps and visit the real Edinburgh.

The City Walls

A guided tour around Edinburgh’s City Walls.

Arthur’s Seat

For the very best views of the city and beyond this guided walk up our dormant volcano in the heart of the city is not to be missed.

Edinburgh Riots

A tour exploring the riotous history of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

John Geddie’s Edinburgh

A walking tour based on Scottish journalists Geddie’s books on Edinburgh.

We will be happy to design a tour for your specific interests. Our private, first class tours are specially designed just for your group. We will ask details of your interests, places you would like to see or topics you would like covered in more detail. From your tour confirmation we will be able to offer local knowledge in advance of your tour recommending restaurants, bars and things to do in and beyond Edinburgh. Your private tour will start from a point inside the Old Town that suits you and your needs.

Please email detailing your particular area of inquiry and how many people will be attending.

Email Scott at edinburghdetours@gmail.com