Castle Rock Hostel

15 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW, United Kingdom
#115 of 534 hotels in Edinburgh
Great (4.0 out of 5.0) 13 reviews
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Backpacking Castles and Palaces Seniors

Best place to stay in Edinburgh

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on July 21, 2008

Not only does the historical apartment have the most magical view of Edinburgh Castle, (so close you don’t want to roll out of bed too quickly or you’ll be in the grounds!), but the owners are also the friendliest most helpful people you will meet in Scotland. Thank you Moira and Eric for giving us such a warm welcome and for making our stay so wonderful.

Moira was at the kerb waiting to greet us as we drew up in a taxi, showed us into a sparklingly clean 2 bedroom/kitchen/bathroom with bath and shower apartment on the 2nd floor (steps only), pointed out the welcome basket in the kitchen (coffee, tea, cheese, oatcakes, bread, jam and yummy shortbread), pointed out the tourist info via books and DVD, and asked us if there was anything we needed further. When she found out that our daughter’s suitcase had disappeared en route from the US leaving her with nothing but a T-shirt and jeans in rainy Edinburgh Moira immediately took her own coat off and insisted she use if for the duration of our stay. She later phoned to see if there was anything else she could offer in the way of clothing. This is a classic example of how Moira looks after her guests.

Moira insisted on taking our details and spent the next 2 days tracking down our lost luggage, calling United, plus the carrier for United in Edinburgh. Eric her husband stayed in all day at their address until it was delivered at 9.30pm , giving us time to enjoy our holiday in Edinburgh regardless of United’s unprofessional behaviour. You wouldn’t receive this type of service in a 5 star hotel. We were amazed and totally blown away by Moira and Eric’s assistance and genuine regard for us as their guests.

The apartment itself is comfortably equipped with everything you could want, from an umbrella to hairdryer, full bath and shower to comfy bedding, whisky glasses to teapot. It is also easy walking distance to everything in central Edinburgh, and close to great restaurants and cafes. We found ourselves gravitating towards the windows at night mesmerized by the Castle all beautifully lit up. Take a guided tour of the castle before you explore it on your own, our guide was hilarious but very informative and brought the castle to life.

Moira and Eric’s apartment has the best reviews and ratings for Edinburgh, believe them, they are 100% true.

Unique Quality: You can't get closer to Edinburgh Castle, restaurants and shops are in walking distance, historical building which is renovated to a high standard without losing it's quaintness

Directions: Last house before the castle starts, can't get closer!

jovik's Profile Photo

Fantastic location

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on September 18, 2007

Fantastic location Minimal car traffic area MacBackpackers Jump-On Jump-Off bus stop Separate movie lounge, with nightly movies Pool table, juke box, ping-pong Internet Access Laundry Towels Security Lockers Luggage Storage Guest Kitchen 24 Hour Reception Travel Desk/Travel Info Common Room No Curfew No Lockout 24 hours check in

Unique Quality: Fantastic location Minimal car traffic

JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

Best location and price

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on February 8, 2007

Ive stayed at this hostel on 3 different occasions and I must say that it is a classy hostel for a good price. They have everything you could want including a free old city tour and it is literally across the street from the imposing castle. There are a few young travellers staying here but overall it is one of the better hostels in Scotland. Note: there is an age restriction.

Unique Quality: Fantastic location
Minimal car traffic area
MacBackpackers Jump-On Jump-Off bus stop
Separate movie lounge, with nightly movies
Pool table, juke box, ping-pong
Internet Access
Security Lockers
Luggage Storage
Guest Kitchen
24 Hour Reception
Travel Desk/Travel Info
Common Room
No Curfew
No Lockout
24 hours check in

Directions: Next to the Castle

You get what you pay for!!!!!!!

Bad (2.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on December 18, 2006

I got stolen from - my friend's bed had dirty sheets - what's more to recommend.....

Unique Quality: Staff who work here also stay here - giving you a lovely feeling of encroaching on someone's space - watch your belongings - I had my wallet stolen - I believe from a member of staff - what's more to recommend....?

Directions: Good central ocation

juzz's Profile Photo

Friendly and comfortable

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on November 28, 2005

We stayed in a 4 bed room, very small actually. The bathroom was on the floor and they keep it quite clean, we could find hot water in the showers everytime and there weren't need to stay in queue to use them. The hostel has a kitchen and you can use it cooking your own food, we used it for breakfast staying with other hosts like we were in our own kitchen. It is a nice way to make friends. There is also a living room with newspapers, magazines and a billiard table and people uses it really in a familiar way. The only bad thing i found in the living room was the smoke.

Directions: near the castle

scotlandscotour's Profile Photo

Big Hostel With Character & Location - Castle Rock

Good (3.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on May 22, 2004

The Good:
Lively Backpacker community, and like minded staff, professionally run by the MacBackpackers Tours organisation (the hostels came first).
Great location, close to Castle, impressive views, good facilities, good value for money.

The Bad:
Long Stay guests and "Staff" (maybe working in the hostel to pay for their accommodation) can be too dominant, taking up too much kitchen space and form a clique.
Mattresses are minimalist.
Noise and disturbance from other guests (especially after alcohol).

Unique Quality: Its one of those buildings you look at and think "Can this really be a hostel?" - it seems a beautiful, grand building like this, in such a location should be an expensive hotel or office or something. Not a cheap backpackers. Given this factor, I find it hard to consider staying in an hotel, paying silly money, and no better view. At least at the hostel you can accept being disturbed by noise at night, paying so little, and the other guests are more talkative, interested in you and young (at heart).

Best suited for: Student and Young Travellers, with some previous knowledge of City hostels, who find HI hostels boring, starchy and institutional. If the rebel in you wants freedom, fun, and to escape parental pressures, this is up your street.

Not suited for: People who want a good night sleep, are light sleepers, shy, or like their comforts. Not for private or nervous types.

Of all the hostels in Edinburgh (over 20 at my last count!), this would rate in my top 5, but like any hostel, your experience depends greatly upon your mood, personality and that of the other guests. I'd be less inclined to use hostels in Edinburgh during busy months (also when they put the price up!), but when quieter they are a real bargain.

If you are unsure, let me just reassure you - they are safe and clean enough, professionally run and big business. This hostel is part of a group that also owns Royal Mile and High Street Hostels. All three are important as feeders or gateway hostels for the tour bus business, supporting regional hostels, to some extent, so it serves the owners well that you enjoy their Edinburgh Hostels. Also, it is worth noting, they were one of the first independent (not HI) hostel operators, so experience shows, and Castle Rock was a major investment for them.

Directions: Just off Royal Mile, south of Edinburgh Castle. To walk to from stations, head up hill towards the Castle, and upon reaching the cobbled High Street (Royal Mile) folow it right (up hill). Johnston Terrace forks off to the right.

tzuki's Profile Photo

Towards the Castle

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on May 1, 2004

The hostel is just in the road up to the Castle and in a very good emplacement, I think so.
Many travellers pass by so is a good point to meet people from everywhere.

They offer the breakfast service as well for those who want to join it in the morning.
the price depends in what you take. If you take cereals, brioche and juice is all for £1.90.

The dormitory rooms are good. You can share with only women/men or both, depending in what you fancy :-)

I was sharing with 12 women and was not bad at all. Apart from people who don't respect others while sleeping was not bad experience.

I met some nice people in there!

Unique Quality: The hostel offers different rooms to relax and good views, room to enjoy filming, spaces to talk with people, play pool, connect to internet, eat, read....

Also offers a kitchen where people who are planning to saty longer can manage to have some stuff there and cook their own food.

The bathrooms are common for both sexs but very nice showers with plenty hot water.

Other facilities:
Credit Cards
Central Heating
Ironing and Laundry Facilities on Complex
Linen Provided
Laundry Service and Washing Machine
Pay Phone Provided
Shop on site
Restricted Smoking

Also, they offer Hostel Bus Service, going from Edinburgh to Inverness, Kyleakin, Fort William, Oban and back to Edinburgh again.
[+info: or or
call 0131 558 9900)
Price: £65 for this tour but if you include Skye will be around £83.

Directions: Taking the Royal Mille to the Castle, the hostel is placed in a parallel street at the West of Royal Mille.


scotlandscotour's Profile Photo

Edinburgh Hostel Accommodation

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on March 15, 2004

This is one of many backpacker hostels run by Peter Macmillan in Scotland.
Basically he has done a good job and they are very popular with young student travellers, especially the english speaking nations.
The beds are basic, the whole set up is efficient to provide a good profit whilst developing a good ambiance. Wise guests choose to cook and shower at 'odd' times to avoid congestion. But they are safe and clean and fun, if you join in the spirit of things, which may well require drinking and late night partying - which as this is Edinburgh, is typical.
Sober, quiet or modest types would do better at the more 'official' Youth Hostel Association hostels, which are well run but calmer.
Certainly, Castle Rock Hostel has the perfect location, except, being on the hill alongside the castle means an uphill struggle with heavy packs.

It seems these Edinburgh Hostels act as "gateway hostels" to bring people into the tour bus network, thus keeping revenue within the one business. Which is fine ant totally ethical. Its your choice whether you join a Macbackpackers tour or travel independently. Certainly, competition amongst hostels in Edinburgh keeps prices low, except during Festival August when prices rocket.

SYHA (HI) Hostels:
Independent Hostels (with agreed minimum standards):

Directions: Edinburgh Castle, top of the Royal Mile (High Street)

Aarti_Shah's Profile Photo

A backpacker's dream come true

Best (5.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on October 13, 2003

Five spacious lounges, a large kitchen, clean rooms and the friendliest staff around pretty much sums up the Castle Rock experience. During the off-season the hostel offers an unbeatable weekly rate that is even lower for long-termers (guests who stay more than 28 days). There is a tight-knit backpacker community here that offers long-term travelers a social scene like no other I've seen while backpacking. Other perks include: weekly quiz nights, nightly movies, discounts for volunteer cleaners and the chance to become a long-termer for life for a mere 50 pence. Hostel life doesn't get much better than this.

Directions: In the shadow of the castle, just off the Royal Mile

hslowe's Profile Photo

A great hostel

by written on March 24, 2003

I stayed here for several nights and was impressed with how efficiently it was run for such a big hostel. I was also pleased with how many services were offered--TERRIFIC internet access, luggage storage, snacks and film for sale, lounges galore, a free daily tour, etc etc etc. The staff is young and fun and knows Edinburgh inside out.

One of my nights was not so good due to heavily snoring girls in my room but the staff allowed me to switch rooms (after gently reminding me that earplugs were essential equipment for hostelling).

About $17 US per night.


Situated in the shadow of the Castle at the top of the Royal Mile. You can wake up to fabulous views of the castle.

Directions: Top of Royal Mile in the shadow of the castle

hevbell's Profile Photo


Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on September 8, 2002

£11 a night although breakfast is extra.

Unique Quality: Big friendly hostel, the rooms are a decent size and there is a dining room/non-smokers lounge, smokers lounge with pool table, jukebox, etc, kitchen and games room. And you can't ask for a better location really!

Directions: Just below the castle esplanade.

Castle Rock Hostel

by written on August 26, 2002

£11/night, cheaper weekly rates if staying long-term

Unique Quality: The prices here are quite reasonable. £11 per night, and cheaper weekly rates for long-termers. There are nightly movies shown on a big screen, a large well-equiped kitchen (although watch out for the fridges, they can get a bit gross when the hostel is busy), two common rooms with big comfy couches and chairs, jukebox, dining room, excellent location. A fairly large group of long-termers; this group can be a bit cliquey. I lived there almost two months and I'm sure none remembers me.

Directions: Johnston Terrace, on the South side of Edinburgh castle.

AR76's Profile Photo

Good hostel, great location

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on August 26, 2002

Also mentioned by other VT members, this big hostel has a very central location. Castle, Royal Mile and Grassmarket are within walking distance, and even Princes Street is just a short stroll down the hill.

Unique Quality: Facilities: Single-sex dorms, hot showers for free, spacious smoking and non-smoking lounges, a games room with internet access for only GBP1 per hour, self-catering kitchen with free tea/coffee/hot chocolate, broad-screen video nites and: very friendly staff!!
Open 24hrs.
Safe for valuables available at reception.
Breakfast served 730-1030am; GBP1.60 for a bowl of cereals, juice and a choice of roll/croissant/scone.

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Nearby Castle Rock Hostel

Castle Rock Hostel

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

  • Castle Rock Hotel Edinburgh

Address: 15 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW, United Kingdom

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