South Bridge and Vaults, Edinburgh

South Bridge and Vaults, Edinburgh

South Bridge is a road bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland, starting at the High Street and finishing at Chambers Street/Infirmary Street.

The bridge was completed in 1788. It is constructed of nineteen arches, but is almost entirely enclosed by buildings on both sides, exposing only the largest arch where the street crosses the Cowgate. Below deck level are many buildings and vaults, the latter are now something of a tourist attraction.

For many years the locals refused to cross the bridge, believing it to be cursed, as the first person who crossed the bridge when it opened was the wife of a well-known judge, but she died soon after that. For many years the locals believed her ghost haunted the bridge.

Houses, offices and shops were built along each side of the bridge and tenement houses, taverns and workshops were built into the vaults underneath it. These were damp, miserable places which quickly degraded until they were only inhabited by the poor seeking refuge. They were eventually closed for health and safety reasons.

In 1985 the vaults were partially reopened as part of the city’s “Ghost Tours”. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday night is August you can join the “Vault Vigils” and spend the night in one of the vaults. Ghost-hunting equipment is set up so that “vigils” can record any supernatural movement.

This is only recommended for the brave – not because of any lingering spirits, but because the vaults are dank and cold even in the hottest summers. The vaults have been classed as one of the most haunted areas in the United Kingdom.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Edinburgh. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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South Bridge and Vaults on Map

Sight Name: South Bridge and Vaults
Sight Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (See walking tours in Edinburgh)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Edinburgh Pub Crawl

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Royal Mile Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles

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