Theories abound of a secret underground meeting place, a Knights Templar or even a witches’ coven, but 300 years after its discovery, the eerie underground chambers and dimly lit passageways of Gilmerton Cove remain shrouded in mystery. Carved by hand into the sandstone beneath the streets of Gilmerton in South Edinburgh, the underground caverns have long baffled archeologists, who agree that while it was likely the 18th century home of a blacksmith called George Paterson, the main structure dates back to at least a century before.
Today, Gilmerton Cove is one of Edinburgh’s most unusual tourist attractions, where visitors can explore the labyrinth of caves and piece together their own theories from the evidence presented in the adjoining museum. Seven different rooms are open to the public, featuring a fireplace and rock-hewn furniture, as well as some more peculiar additions like a well that doesn’t reach water and a blacksmith’s forge that appear never-used. The enigmatic site also leads into two further blocked tunnels, which many believe run north to Craigmillar Castle.