Edinburgh Castle dominates the Edinburgh skyline as we approach the castle down the Royal Mile. The castle is steeped in centuries of history and is a must see for those who are visiting the city. Here we take a look at what you can expect to find today when paying the castle a visit.
About the Castle
Edinburgh Castle forms part of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site and is the most popular of the UK’s World heritage Sites as voted by its visitors. The castle is a huge draw for tourists who come to the city and is iconic in terms of its history and status. St Margaret’s Chapel, built in the twelfth century is the oldest part of the building, while other prominent areas of the castle include
- The Great Hall built in 1510 by James IV
- The Half Moon Battery added in the 16th century
As we walk into the castle we can feel the atmosphere of thousands of years of history in every area of the building. Battles were fought and lives lost over the centuries, while notable Scottish royalty graced the rooms including Mary Queen of Scots and King James VI.
So Many Areas to See!
Most visitors have their favourite area of the castle and we are no exception as our favourite is St Margaret’s Chapel built by David I and dedicated to his mother who eventually was canonised a saint. The stained glass windows although added sometime later are none the less amazing, while christenings and weddings can be held in the chapel by prior arrangement.
In the Crown Room visitors can view the Stone of Destiny. The stone was returned to Edinburgh Castle in 1996. Edward I had taken the stone in 1296 to make it part of the coronation throne in England and it had taken centuries to pass before the stone returned home to its rightful place. The Scottish Crown Jewels can also be viewed at the castle and are not to be missed as these are the oldest crown jewels in Britain. Those who wish to do so may visit the exhibition focussing on the story of the jewels before viewing the gems later.
Pictured Above: The Scottish Crown Jewels
The National War Museum is also located in the castle and holds some magnificent military artefacts and first-hand accounts of war, while there are two regimental museums too. Further interesting parts of the castle that are a must see include
- The Great Hall
- The Royal Palace that is the birth place of kings
- Mons Meg the gun given to King James II in 1457
- The Half Moon Battery
- The Prison Vaults
The One O Clock Gun
In 1861 a tradition that has been kept ever since began that is the firing of the one o clock gun. The firing of the gun was a signal to ships in the Firth of Forth who used the signal to set their clocks that were essential for navigation. Every day of the week except Sunday the gun is fired at 1pm as is the tradition and visitors can watch the event but be warned you may need your ear plugs as the boom is very loud.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held at the forefront of Edinburgh Castle annually and is a very special event on the castles calendar. The tattoos or performances of military music are performed by members of the armed forces of Great Britain and the Commonwealth that take place over a number of days in August. Many overseas visitors come especially to see the Tattoos, while over a number of years the addition of many foreign participants has widened the global audience somewhat. Tickets for the tattoo may be ordered online from the Edinburgh Tattoo Website. The Edinburgh Tattoo is an amazing sensory spectacle both visually and audibly and offers visitors to the castle and city memories that will last forever!
What’s On at the Castle at Christmas?
Christmas time is a special time of year for many of us, while Christmas at the castle has its own special attractions for visitors to see. Have you ever wondered how Mary Queen of Scots celebrated Christmas? Why not find out by visiting the castle this year! Visitors can also dine at the castle by booking one of its unique dining packages, while the booking also includes all day access to the castle itself. Packages include
Jacobite Christmas Lunch
This Christmas lunch is available throughout December from the 4th to the 24th and takes place in the Jacobite room overlooking Princes Street. Adults will pay £38.00, while children pay £15.00.
Christmas Wine and Dine
The Christmas Wine and Dine includes a glass of Prosecco on arrival, a four course lunch, talks on wines by the suppliers and an introductory welcome talk by the Executive Manager of the castle. The package is priced at £65.00 per person and is held on the 13th and 20th December.
Dining and Shopping at the Castle
There are plenty of ways to eat at Edinburgh Castle including a great package that is entrance to the castle plus afternoon tea that consists of amazing sandwiches, cakes and drinks in ambient surroundings. Lunch may also be enjoyed in the same area offering a superb menu cooked from locally produced fayre. The Red Coat Café that is licensed for alcoholic drinks is another venue inside the castle offering spectacular views over the Firth of Forth, while also offering amazing, snacks, drinks, cakes, salads, soups and lots of healthy choices.
Shopping at the castle is great fun too with three choices of shop including the Portcullis Gift Shop which is the largest of the three shops, the Crown Gift Shop selling unique China and Jewellery and the Whiskey and Finest Food Shop which is self-explanatory really as it offers a huge selection of whiskies along with a choice of great sweets and traditional confectionary.
Tickets may be purchased online at the Edinburgh Castle website. Adults pay £16.50, Concessions pay £13.20 and children pay £9.90. Children under the age of five enter free of charge. Tickets bought online are automatically categorised as fast track tickets, while the tickets also include a guided tour of the castle too. If you intend to visit more than one tourist location an explorer pass may be the better option for you. More details regarding the explorer pass can be found at the website.
On arriving in the centre of Edinburgh we cannot fail to see the castle as it stands on the huge rock overlooking the city’s main street. Visitors who are travelling by train will see the castle as they exit Waverley Train Station. From the station walk up Princes Street to Waverley Bridge, then along Mound Place then Ramsay Lane onto Castle Esplanade.
When travelling by car use sat nav postcode EH1 2NG. Drivers need to know that there is no parking available at the castle, while the closest parking areas are located at Castle Terrace and Johnson Terrace. A small number of disabled visitors parking places is offered at the castle but must be booked in advance.
- Tele 0131 310 5114
Access to the castle is via a number of entrances, while there are also a number of wheelchairs available for those who require one.
- Edinburgh Castle
- Castle Hill
- EH1 2NG
- Tele 0130 225 9846
Find out about Edinburgh castle’s history.