• About Me

    : My Story :

    : 3 Reasons Why I Give Tours :

    : Other things I do :

  • Hi! I'm Hetty.

    (That's me above in the hat visiting Berlin with my sister.)


    Although I've been a city dweller for almost 30 years I grew up in Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of Scotland. A community centred around farming and fishing, life in Orkney is close to nature, I can recognise wild-flowers and hand-milk a cow - not that there's much call for that particular skill in Edinburgh!


    While I've been lucky enough to travel to places in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, it was my childhood in Orkney that gave me a love of landscapes and where my life-time interest in history began. With everything from Neolithic villages to Second World War navy bases it’s hard to ignore the past in Orkney.

    Moving to Edinburgh in 1992 I spent 25 years working in a variety of sectors, from hospitality to higher education, before sitting my university entrance exams on my 40th birthday and becoming a student myself. I graduated with a first-class MA (Hons) in Social and Architectural History from the University of Edinburgh in 2018. 


    The following year I started Hetty's History Walks to offer walking tours for people curious about the "how's and why's" of Edinburgh's past rather than just the "oohs and aahs" of its history as entertainment!

  • 3 Reasons... why I give walking tours


    1. Edinburgh is a city jam-packed with history and it has so much more to offer than stories of notorious characters and dramatic historical events.


    2. Exploring Edinburgh's streets, with their diverse range of architecture, is one of the most accessible ways to engage with the city’s history.


    3. I love this city and I want you to love it too!

    Three Edinburgh buildings. Three different eras. Three architectural styles. Three different functions.

    George Heriots 17th century Jacobean school in the foreground. The spire of the Victorian Royal Infirmary behind to the left. The sleek 21st century Quartermile mixed office and residential development in the centre background. Each can tell us so much about the era it was built in and the society who built it.

    "One might regard architecture as history arrested in stone."

    historian A.L. Rowse

  • Other Things I Do...

    Abbeyhill History Walk

    In 2021 I provided free guided history walks as part of Abbeyhill's Colony of Artists 16th Annual Arts Festival weekend. The tours looked at the history of Abbeyhill over the 19th century, specifically its 'colony' housing and relationship with the industrial heritage of the area, and were a great chance for me to contribute to my local community.

    Assembly Rooms

    Before the pandemic I guided the Doors Open Day tours at the fabulous Assembly Rooms, in Edinburgh's George Street. In 2020, I provided the research and narration for a series of video shorts that look at the 230-year-old building's social history. Watch the short introduction below or view the complete collection.

    (all links open in new tab)

    Museum of Edinburgh

    I also volunteer at the Museum of Edinburgh in their courtyard of architectural fragments, something I started doing when I was a student. The courtyard is a bit of a hidden gem and most people stumble across it by accident, but its collection of stone carvings contain examples covering over 500 years.


    The Museum is free to visit and, in normal circumstances, is open 7 days a week. During 2020 I created the first visitor guides to the Courtyard Collection, a full version and one of selected highlights.

    You can also visit my LinkedIn profile.


    A random selection of things I like...

  • Find me on social media...