One of the Capital’s favourite tourist attractions is set to expand as part of a £500,000 development.
The Real Mary King’s Close, which keeps the city’s haunted history alive, will get a vast new entrance on the Royal Mile, along with a new cafe and exhibition area.
Continuum Attractions, which runs the warren of hidden streets on behalf of the city, is funding the project to enhance the visitor experience at the close, which dates back to the 1600s.
The five-star attraction can currently be reached via Warriston’s Close, but under the plans the new gateway on the Royal Mile will see the reinstatement of two original doorways.
Marketing manager Claire Riddoch said part of the adjoining City Chambers building had been acquired from the council as part of the lease.
The six-figure enhancements follow a £25,000 sum invested in the site in 2013 to mark its ten-year anniversary.
Juliana Delaney, chief executive of Continuum Attractions, said: “Our much-loved underground tour will delve deeper into the history of the closes, a Scottish cafe will be opened in the beautiful courtroom and, most importantly, we will be reinstalling the two doors directly on to the Royal Mile.
“This will give the thousands of visitors on the Royal Mile a high-quality welcome into a new arrival area.”
The attraction has welcomed more than two million visitors since opening in 2003.
Councillor Frank Ross, the city’s economy leader, said: “Reinvesting in our attractions is key to ensure the Old Town continues to be a world-class tourist destination.
“A share of the profits from The Real Mary King’s Close is reinvested into the council and its services, and hopefully locals will also feel encouraged to rediscover the close and the history of their town’s ancient streets.”
The attraction will remain open throughout the works, with the first phase of the refurbishment set to be finished by May 1.