Underground chamber in Edinburgh
Credit: Gilmerton Cove

Gilmerton Cove

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Gilmerton Cove, 16 Drum Street, Edinburgh, EH17 8QH

Located to the south east of the city, Gilmerton Cove is a series of underground passageways and chambers. They were carved by hand many centuries ago. But by whom and for what reason remains a mystery to this day. Gilmerton Heritage Trust and City of Edinburgh Council restored and opened the cove in 2003, as an educational and fun visitor experience. But tours are by appointment only, so you must pre-book before visiting.

The Mystery

The entrance to Gilmerton Cove is through an old mining cottage, which is now the Visitor Centre. Audio and visual displays show the various theories behind the origins of the cove.

A local blacksmith named George Patterson, who lived there with his family during the 18th century, claimed to have carved out the rooms and passages himself over a period of five years. However, experts have widely disputed this as they believe it would have been an impossible task for one man. The revelation of secret passageways and other intriguing discoveries within the cove has led to theories of witches, Druids, miners, smugglers, Covenanters and even the Knights Templar. Some theories date the cove at over 2000 years old.

Visit Gilmerton Cove

The one hour tour is one of Edinburgh’s best and lesser-known attractions. A chance to explore these fascinating chambers for yourself and come up with your own ideas on it’s origins. Tours are by appointment only and are not suitable for wheelchair users or children under 5.

See the Gilmerton Cove website for tour prices and more information.