• About Me

  • Hi! I'm Hetty


    Although I've been a city girl for almost 30 years I grew up in Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of Scotland. A community centred in 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 skill in Edinburgh! My childhood gave me a love of landscapes and it was also where my life-time interest in history began. With everything from Neolithic villages to Second World War navy bases its hard to ignore history in Orkney. For me, history is a way of explaining the present and one of the best ways to access the past is to look at its remaining built environment.


    "If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday."
    Pearl Buck


    The built environment is the thread in the fabric of our history because people and buildings go together. It's why I specifically chose a degree in Social and Architectural History. It brought together my interests in people & buildings as well as the wider aspects of changing culture, society and urban design. Important for me is the fact that the built environment is freely accessible to anyone at anytime, unlike most historical artefacts which are buried in museums, galleries and private collections. Once you know a bit about what you're looking at, you can see a place with a whole new light and understanding. This is particularly true of Edinburgh! With its diverse range of architectural styles and 900 years of history it's a living, breathing city with an ever evolving story of people.


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

    A.L. Rowse


    I started Hetty's History Walks: Edinburgh Uncovered in 2019 to offer walking tours that go beyond history as simply entertainment. My history walks are for people curious to discover the "how's and why's" of Edinburgh's past rather than just the "oohs and aahs". I focus on the city's social history, domestic architecture, urban development and industrial heritage and place the changes Edinburgh has seen at a local level into a broader context, connecting it to shifts in wider society. In doing so I hope you discover not just Edinburgh's history but ideas you can take away with you and apply to your home town and other places you visit on your travels.

    "History is who we are, and why we are the way we are."

    David McCulloch

  • Hetty's History Walks - Ethos


    My ethos is simple. I want to give you an experience that's really worth something. I do this in the following ways:


    Small is Beautiful

    I only take tours in super-small groups.

    Some tour companies consider up to 30 people to be small group. For me it's a maximum of 8 people, perhaps 10 for a private tour, and this was my belief even before the Covid pandemic came along. Being part of a super-small group gives you the opportunity to hear me and ask questions more easily. After all you didn't pay your hard earned money to listen to a distant mumble barely heard over the heads of others!
    Super-small groups also make it simpler to move around the city, so you get to see more, and are kinder to the local community. Although residents generally love welcoming visitors to the city as a local there's few things more irritating than huge tour groups trailing around and getting in the way of daily life. Let's face it no-one likes to be the 'inconsiderate tourist'!
    Additionally, super-small groups produce less wear-and-tear on Edinburgh's historic cityscape making my tours a more sustainable activity.



    Better for Everyone

    I don't use online travel agencies (OTAs) so that you get a better deal all round.

    OTAs, such as AirBnb, TripAdvisor, Viator, Expedia, Kayak and the like, typically charge commission of 15-25% on the ticket price while often insisting on a lowest price guarantee and exclusive events. For a one-person, independent business like me this just isn't feasible and, more importantly, it doesn't benefit you either. Based on my previous experience, using OTAs forces me to inflate my ticket prices, leads to incorrect tour details, unsatisfactory communication and, ultimately, a poor customer experience.
    Instead of OTAs I use Eventbrite a secure, gobal event management and ticketing website who charge a small service and transaction fee on every ticket sold. This is something we commonly think of as a 'booking fee' and I always include this in my advertised ticket price so there are no surprises when you get to the check-out. For my business this works out as less than 10% of the ticket price without placing any restrictions on my events. This allows me to keep my ticket prices affordable as well as retain control over my tour details, bookings and customer contact.
    Correct information and clear communication are key for a happy me and a happy you! By using Eventbrite for all my ticket sales everyone's a winner and who doesn't want that?



    well researched


    ethical - sustainable tourism

    support local businesses

    develop local networks

    care for the environment



    Some of my favourite things...