Underground hit: Tunnels undermine Edinburgh’s big tourist attractions

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HAUNTED tunnels under the streets of a Scottish city have emerged as one of the country’s best-rated tourist attractions.

Despite the fact hardly anyone will have heard of it, Gilmerton Cove in Edinburgh beat the city’s castle, zoo and the National Museum of Scotland on website Tripadvisor.

The spooky network of tunnels and chambers only opened ten years ago and just 12 visitors are allowed in at a time and they have to book.

The little-known Cove has bested the likes of Edinburgh castle on Tripadviser. Pic: Angus McDiarmid.

But the cove has more consistently been rated as “excellent” on Tripadvisor than world-famous rival attractions.

The origins of the tunnels remain shrouded in mystery, with rumours of it being used as a drinking den for 18th Century gentry, a lair inhabited by Knights Templar or a refuge for Covenanters fleeing persecution.

Margaretanne (corr) Bugan runs the site, where ghostly apparitions have regularly been reported.

Visitors are advised to bring their own torches for the trip, which costs £5 for an adult and £4 for children.

She said: “We only open if we have a booking but we’re definitely seeing more and more interest, especially from overseas visitors. To be the top-rated attraction in Edinburgh is fantastic for such a wee place.

“We’ve been asking visitors to leave some feedback on Tripadvisor for the past eight months and they’ve obviously been doing just that.”

Gilmerton Cove consists of a 40ft corridor with rooms off either side.

But Margaretanne added there might be more to the tunnels than has yet been uncovered.

She added: “All of the tunnels haven’t even been explored as it is unsafe to do so.”

Edinburgh City Council began to develop the site in 1998 after buying it for £1 and opened it up as a heritage centre after spending £100,000 restoring it.

It opened in 2003, with a cottage housing scenes imagined  from the tunnel’s past being built above the location.

One review on Tripadviser describes a class visit to the site: “I visited Gilmerton Cove today with my class of FE students and had a really positive experience.

“Margaretanne is the perfect guide, she speaks clearly and is full of enthusiasm. We had a great visit.”

Former Edinburgh council leader Donald Anderson pushed for funding for the site to be opened.

He said: “I knew it would never be a massive attraction because you can’t get lots of people through the tunnels.

“I did think it had a role as a high-quality niche attraction and so it has proved.”

A VisitScotland Spokesperson said: “We are delighted that visitors continue to rate this as one of Edinburgh and Lothians best attractions.”

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