Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour

 The award winning Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour was the first literary tour launched in Edinburgh in 1996! Since then it has carried in excess of 150,000 satisfied customers on a dramatic literary trail across Edinburgh. It is regarded by many as a pioneer in its field, and a “Must-see” cultural attraction in guide books throughout the world. Why does it stand out from all the rest?

Performed by professional actors, not academics or guides reciting from books, it represents great value for money and a very high entertainment factor!

Join the intrepid duo, Clart (as in muck!) and our clean-hankied intellectual McBrain, who will lead you on a brilliant and witty dramatic romp through the wynds, courtyards and pubs of Edinburgh’s Old and New Town. A hilarious duel of wits across three hundred years of great writing and colourful characters!

Experience the ultimate pub tour!

Have you met Clart & McBrain? Performed in and out of Edinburgh’s famous – and infamous – taverns and ‘howfs’, the tour takes the form of an impassioned debate between two fictional characters, Clart – the literary bohemian – and McBrain – the clean-hankied intellectual. In a lively duel of wits, they question the importance which the unique pub atmosphere offered creative and intellectual thought, while battling between perspectives and stories from “Auld Reekie”.

Bohemian or Academic? According to the two main protagonists of The Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour, the pubs of the Old Town, reeking of good beer and lively banter, were once the favourites of Scotland’s most famous writers. So if you thought that the great Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and the like spent their evenings in the posh drawing rooms of Edinburgh high society, think again! These towering literary figures seem to be happier mixing with the common people (and the prostitutes) who filled the dark closes and pubs of the Old town. It is no exaggeration to presume that tippling a dram or pint of ale helped to inject a touch of verve, invention and verbal magic to Scottish writing over the centuries! But there seems to be more to this lively dialogue… Are you a bohemian or an academic? Clart and McBrain will help you decide.

WHEN: daily May – October

WHAT TIME: 19:30 sharp. Please arrive in good time for a prompt 7.30pm start, especially if you are part of a group. Just like the theatre, if you’re not there after 7.30pm, the show must go on…

Subject to availability – early booking is strongly recommended!

WHERE: Meeting point is outside at The Beehive Inn, in Grassmarket, near the large A frame sign for the tour

Special Group Tours is an agent for MERCAT and you can check availability for the tour of your choice!



– Under 18’s are not allowed to enter pubs. Scottish Licensing laws are very strict and actually quite non-European (sorry about that). Under 25 may be asked for ID so it’s a good idea to brings yours with you

– Your ticket is only valid for the tour you have booked. If you aren’t able to attend your tour please advise us and we will attempt to place you on a later one, subject to availability

During the tour:

– Walking distances are easy. You can ask our ticketing person for more information or check the route on our website

– Bad weather is just about the right clothing. We run in hail, rain, wind or snow, please wear warm clothing and comfortable foot wear

– Please respect our actors when performing by not interrupting (unless they ask you to!). We also respectfully ask you to seek permission for all flash light photography, it can be distracting, but our actors are all professionally trained and quite amenable

Thanks for your support. Enjoy the tour!

This tour is operated by Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour sold by Special Group Tours with permission