Looking for an alternative tour of Edinburgh to the usual open top buses? Want to get an insight into the city from a local perspective? We spoke to the brothers behind Mini Mack Tours who offer unique tours of the city, all from the comfort of the very British Mini Cooper.
Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and where you got the idea to start bespoke tours around Edinburgh using Mini Coopers?
We are the Mackie brothers, Rowan & Andy from Edinburgh! We have lived here most of our lives, but were inspired to create the tour from our time living in Italy where Andy owned and operated a one day bike tours around the region of Chianti. The tours were great fun and still run to this day! You could go into the countryside, ride bikes, drink wine, eat great food and enjoy the sunshine. You can do most of that in Edinburgh, but we lack sunshine! Our roads aren't that great either so we wanted to use a form of transport which was quintessentially British, and so the Mini Cooper made for the start of Mini Mack Tours.
Can you tell us a bit more about what visitors can expect on a Mini Mack Tour and what stands out from other guided tours around Edinburgh?
Customers can expect to have a fun and private experience of Edinburgh from the perspective of 2 locals who love their city. We keep it short and sweet for the car tours, around 4 hours, and pack in all of our favourite hidden spots alongside the well-known Edinburgh landmarks.
Our style of touring is very informal so that we don't overload you with information, but still give the customer enough memorable content from great viewpoints and the places we visit. The fact that we only cater to small numbers and not a huge volume of customers, lends to the whole customer experience. Also because we travel in such a modest car, the Mini, it means we can access small streets and hidden nooks very easily, so our visitors gain access to places most other tourists don't get to see.
Our final stop is to eat at Roseleaf in Leith which is a fantastic finale to the tour. I personally love eating there as the food is always excellent and seasonal, with an ever changing menu.
You have lived in Edinburgh for most of your lives. What do you love most about the city?
The fact that we keep discovering new and interesting areas which we haven't been to before. For example, in Canongate at the foot of the Royal Mile, there's a garden connected to Canongate Kirk which we had never visited before and it was beautiful.
Up until a few months ago, I didn't know there was an outside seating area next to the Holyrood Palace Cafe which is enclosed and lovely to sit in. These discoveries give us inspiration for adding new aspects to our tours and giving it that local touch which may go unseen from tourists. August is our favourite time of year with the festival going on. There is such a different vibe to the city and if the sun is out you almost feel like a tourist yourself!
Do you recommend people booking you tours in advance and what are tour costs?
Yes, we only take tours in advance which can be booked via our website. We have just launched a new whisky tour called Whisky No.1 which comprises our favourite places in Leith with a dram tasting at the members only Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
For more information visit our website: www.minimacktours.com.