The hidden gem of Gilmerton
The unassuming Edinburgh suburb of Gilmerton has an attraction, a hidden marvel that should be on the bucket list for any visitor to the city. Situated several feet below the pavements is Gilmerton Cove, a series of tunnels and chambers hand carved out of the sandstone bedrock on which the village is built. But thereby lies a mystery. No-one knows when this complex was excavated or by whom or what it was used for. Was it a temple for Druid worship? Did the Covenanters use it for refuge? Was it an illicit drinking den on the Sabbath? Did the local lodge of masons use it for meetings? The attraction of the Cove in this former mining village is the mystery surrounding it, and visitors are encouraged to come up with their own explanation. Take the 40-minute tour of the Cove – by appointment only – to explore this hidden gem for yourself. Guide Margaretanne Dugan will supply historical facts surrounding the Cove, plus some theories about its formation. In 2012, Gilmerton Cove was rated number one in ”things to do in Edinburgh” on Tripadvisor. Guide Margaretanne said: “To be the top-rated attraction in the city, beating the likes of the Zoo, the Castle and the National Museum of Scotland is fantastic for a wee place like this. “We are definitely seeing more and more interest, especially from overseas.” Did you know, the building housing the attraction’s visitor centre, was due to be taken over by a nearby bookmakers? However, when the site’s historical significance was revealed, the bookies sold the property to the Gilmerton Heritage Group – for £1! • Tours cost £7.50 for adults (with concessions for over 60s, students and those under 16). For a place on the tour, book by calling 07914 829177.