It’s on our doorstep, many of us pass it every day at least once. But how many Edinburgh residents have actually visited the castle? It’s an extremely busy place in the peak summer months, but the winter months provide a great opportunity to explore this iconic landmark when there are fewer tourists in town.
A mighty fortress, the defender of the nation, and home of the famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – Edinburgh Castle has dominated the skyline for centuries and is part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site.
Edinburgh Castle’s powerful stone walls have withstood many sieges and its sumptuous apartments were an important residence of Scottish kings and queens.
Today countless treasures are protected by the castle walls. Marvel at the nation’s crown jewels, smell the gunpowder after the One o’Clock Gun fires, hear the castle’s great story on a guided tour and taste Scottish produce in the cafés – all in this magnificent fortress.
Edinburgh Castle offers a fabulous day out and there’s more than you realise to see and do:
Top 10 highlights:
- The Crown Room – where the nation’s treasures are kept including the Stone of Destiny.
- The Great Hall – holds a fabulous display of arms and armour as well as the ‘key’ to the castle.
- Royal Palace – birthplace of James VI.
- St Margaret’s Chapel – the oldest building in the capital, built to commemorate the mother of David I.
- The Prisons of War – an atmospheric recreation of the life of prisoners at the end of the 18th century.
- Mons Meg – could fire a 150kg stone for up to 3.2km (2 miles).
- The One o’ Clock Gun – the famous time signal, has been fired almost daily since 1861 except Sundays and Good Friday.
- The Scottish National War Memorial – a shrine to those who gave their lives in conflicts from World War I onwards.
- The National War Museum of Scotland – and individual regimental museums.
- Panoramic views – stunning views across the capital.
There are great value ways of visiting for Edinburghers.
Historic Scotland membership starts from around £7 a month for a family (two adults and up to 6 children!) and includes 77 other fascinating attractions around Scotland including Craigmillar Castle and Linlithgow Palace. Adult membership is also available. For more information visit the membership website.