Edinburgh's Underground Donut Tour gives you look into city's history as well as filling a hole in your stomach
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Anyone walking through Edinburgh’s city centre will no doubt pass a number of guided walking tours – from Harry Potter and haunted vaults themed walks, to more traditional educational tours that delve in the Capital’s dark past. And now, for those with a sweet tooth looking burn off calories whilst learning – there is a tour for them too.
Launched by self-confessed doughnut fanatic, Jeff Woelker, the Underground Donut Tour started life in his native Chicago seven years ago and now operates in several major cities including New York, Miami, London, Dublin, and as of last month, Edinburgh.
Starting off in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, guests meet outside the Kilted Donut in the Grassmarket. The doughnuts here really are a work of art – and massive. You’ll find a range of delicious doughnuts from Biscoff, raspberry and Nutella flavours to more creative flavours including French toast and apple crumble. I opted for the Cranachan – a traditional Scottish dessert served in doughnut form. The sweet cream filling topped with raspberry glaze and sprinkled honey roasted oats really does make a great start to the day I must say.
Then the history lesson begins, which on the day I attended was hosted by Grace – a super knowledgeable and friendly guide who told the group stories about some of the city’s infamous characters including Burke and Hare and Maggie Dickson as we travelled through the Grassmarket.
The second stop is the highly popular Mor Bakehouse on Hunter Square, where we were treated to a Cronut – a croissant-doughnut blend. As much as I try to embrace change and move with the times – the Cronut texture wasn’t my thing, but I have it on good authority from others they are amazing.
Travelling down the Royal Mile, the group then makes its way to Mimi Little Bakehouse – a family-owned business that recently won Scottish Baker of the Year. No doughnuts are sold here however it actually works out quite well for the tour because after eating the previous two doughnuts I was ready for a short break. And like I said, I always try to embrace change. I opted for a particularly huge chocolate brownie to prepare for the next stint of the journey.
At this point the group has learned about the history of the Heart of Midlothian Mosaic, the Old Tolbooth and various changes to the city over the years. But tour guide Grace really was a fountain of knowledge and answered all questions asked by the group.
The final stop is Room and Rumours Coffee – an incredible bakery that changes its doughnut menu every day. Flavours on the day I visited included bramble jam and even an Earl Grey but I played it safe and chose the blueberry cheesecake.
The tour then concludes at the Scott Monument at which point you will be well and truly stuffed – no one in the group could finish everything but felt quite happy taking doggy bags home.
The cost of the tour is more expensive than the majority of other guided walks, coming in at £45 – roughly £20 more than the average tour. But factoring in the price of the doughnuts and included drinks (especially coffee these days) it probably balances out.
I would definitely recommend the experience for tourists – alongside the delicious snacks they will learn a lot about Edinburgh’s history and culture. And for residents who are looking for a fun way to learn a bit more about the city whilst supporting local businesses as they devour sweet artisan snacks – this tour will definitely not disappoint.