its a great place to visit, but it will be full of tourists and just as you get to the queue a busload of japanese tourists will be offloaded in fron tof you. never mind, its worth the wait. i've seen prettier castles in scotland, but it is the most famous and dominates your visit to edinburgh. when you are shopping it will be looking down at you, sighing and saying 'come, come and appreciate culture and history, not a new pair of jimmy choos'
plenty to see, good audio tours and you can get a guide too. st margs chapel is the oldest part and worth a look.
adults 9.80, children 3.50, concessions 7.50. cafes on site
We did a tour of Edinburgh Castle, which one could see from almost every vantage point in Edinburgh. The view from the hill is breathtaking, especially on nice days. Also there are a few other must see sites very close by.
The huge rock upon which the castle sits has undoubtedly dominated the surrounding area for countless centuries and has been occupied for about 3,000 years with the earliest archaeological evidence dating to about 900 BC. By the time the Romans arrived in the 1st and 2nd centuries, it was a thriving settlement called “Din Eidyn,” or the stronghold of Eidyn. One of the less spectacular sights, but of great historic significance to the Scots, is the Stone of Destiny housed in the chapel. It had evidently been used as the coronation seat for about 4 centuries, but in 1296, James I of England conquered Scotland and looted the castle, taking this stone back to London where it was housed in Westminster Abbey. The Scots got it back exactly 700 years later and it now has a place of honor in the Crown Room of the castle.
Also, don’t miss St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh, which was built in the 12th century and is a small and minimally adorned but the windows are stained glass in stunning colors. I had to research St. Margaret to learn that she was married to King Malcolm and that three of her sons became Kings of Scotland and her daughter married King Henry I of England. She was evidently very religious and engaged in a remarkable range of charitable activities.
You can spend as much time as you have at the castle and some other things I highly recommend: Scottish National War Memorial, The National War Museum of Scotland, the Crown Room, The Great Hall and of course the Mons Meg and the One O’clock Gun. I planned to photograph the One O'clock gun, was all set with camera pointed and zoome when it went off and startleld me so that my photo was a blurred vision of the stone wall to my left.
Prices seem to vary with the seasons and even though my wife and I are the same age (74), one ticket in August 2010 was 9.11£ and the other 9.53£. Go figure. I think you can count on adult prices about 12£ and less than 10£ if you purchase on line.
9:30-6:00 Apr-Sept and 9:30-5:00 Oct-Mar
Edinburgh's castle is one of the prettiest castles I've ever visited. To begin with, when one is "down" in the city, the castle is majestic on top of the hill dominating Edinburgh's skyline. Once inside the castle one cannot stop travelling to far gone days and wonder how life would be back then.
The castle is big and there is a lot to see, so allow some hours to visit, if you want to fully appreciate your visit.
To visit the castle, as well as other Scotland's national monuments, we choose the Family Explorer Pass which allowed us saving some money and also time in queuing to buy entrances. We bought our pass at Edinburgh's castle ticket office, since this was the first national monument we visited in Scotland. For further information about the Pass, see my Scotland tip.
There is a lot of information about the castle's history in its website, so I won't mention it here again. However, what I must highlight is that when preparing Scotland's visit I found the price expensive, and after visiting I say it's worth every penny! Don't let the prices stop you from visiting, you'll definitely regret your decision.
The Edinburgh Castle is like most other castle. But being situated at a height, provides some good views of the rest of the Edingburgh city.
Inside the Castle, you have an option to take the audio guide for abour 3.5 pounds , which I didn't find very interesting. Its probably simpler to take the tour on yourself.
There is 1 '0clock even every day, where they fire the gun. And in preparation to this, while the crowd is gathering, a traditionally dressed scottish man plays the bagpipe. Which found very nice. You would need to reach a little early, as the place gets crowded just before 1.
The cafe is right around this place, so a good idea to finish the tour of the castle before lunch, and stop at the cafe during lunch time.
I also found the prison section quite interesting.
Edinburgh Castle dominates the city. I went here early in the morning because I thought it might be less crowded. I didn't have to queue for long for my ticket but crowds were building up behind me fairly quickly. Just inside the gate is a clock which tells you the time of the next guided tour. I took the tour and got a lot of information I wasn't aware of. Anyway a very interesting historic site and great views of Edinburgh.
No, not that kind of high. If in Edinburgh, get your butt to Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill or Arthur's Seat for some truly amazing views of the city. Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill obviously offer you a closer view of the city, but Arthur's Seat will give you a wider view of the city and region.
Each of these places really offers a different perspective on the city below, so go and pick your spot!
I have visited many castles in my travels through Europe. Edinburgh Castle is one of the most beautiful that I have seen. It sits on a high hillside overlooking the city of Edinburgh. The views of the city from within the castle wall are breath taking. The castle itself is fascinating. Allow yourself lots of time to tour the castle and its various buildings and museums. It can almost be an all days event. There is an admission charge for the castle.
While visiting Scotland and Ireland I became fascinated with the many Celtic Crosses in cemetaries and at churches. This large and excellent example is found near the entrance to the Edinburgh Castle on the Esplanade. There are several other monuments just before entering the castle. One is an equestrian statue of Sir Earl Hage. There are also several other celtic crosses. I took some time before entering the castle to take some photos of each.
Walking up the Royal Mile towards the Edinburgh Castle I came across the imposing Toll Booth Kirk. The church has the tallest spire in Edinburgh and is truely beautiful. The church was built in 1845. It is know by locals and some guide books as The Hub. Today it is also the permanent home to the annual Edinburgh Festival.
Situated almost in the middle of the city is this magnificient citadel. The rocky hill on which the castle is located is actually an ancient volcano and the location of the castle was perfect for the scots to easily defended the invasion route between England and central Scotland, a route followed by countless armies over the centuries. Sites within the castle proper include Mills Mount Battery, where a gun salute takes place on weekdays; St Margaret's Chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh; the Palace, built between the 15th and 16th centuries; and the Scottish United Services Museum, which houses displays on the history of Scottish regiments. Make sure you see Scotland's Crown Jewels - the crown, sword and sceptre are amongst the oldest regalia in Europe.
How many times have I been around Edinburgh Castle?
Hard to say - you can see my old high school from the esplanade, so it feels like my "back yard". My most recent trip was to show a friend round in December 08. Actually, it's a pretty good time of year to go, as the touroid crowds are a little smaller. Mind you, by the time we left (about 12.30pm) the queues for entry tickets were too long for me to have stomached.
Two big tips -
- go early
- buy your tickets in advance on the internet and bypass the queue completely.
You can get all the history etc elsewhere on the internet, so I'm not going to regurgitate/plagiarise all that.
I always expect one of the highlights to be the Scottish crown jewels. They are, but they are a bit demeaned by a long and rather tacky "visitor experience" type exhibit on the way into the room. they ought to be able to find a better way to get the information across.
Another highlight is the view you get in all directions - unsurpassed, except maybe from Arthur's Seat.
Entry was £9.79 (odd amount due to a change in VAT rates shortly before our visit) per adult, plus £4.95 for a guide book.
Walking up the long hill to Edinburgh Castle provides you with exercise and some breathtaking views of Edinburgh. The castle is full of historical information and makes for an entertaining afternoon. You can get an audio guide or a visual guide as well.
We were going to do inside things this day because the weather prediction was for rain, but as usual they got it wrong. So... we took the bus into town, walked to the castle, saw the 1300 gun (to allow ships to set their time - tied in nicely with our visit to Greenwich in the Autumn). My husband talked to a nice old man who apparently comes to the castle to see the gun go off 2-3 times a week. Our son asked one of the guides whether the castle is built on an extinct volcano - it is.
In the third picture (the view from the castle) the pointy tower (blackened by soot from all the coal fires Edinburgh used to have) is the Scott Monument (to Sir Walter the writer and poet who is very big in Scotland).
Open all year 7 days a week.
1 April to 31 October 9.30am - 6.00pm Last admission 5.15pm
1 November to 31 March 9.30am - 5.00pm Last admission 4.15pm
Closed Christmas Day & Boxing Day.
Admission Cost: Adults £12.00 Children £6.00 Concession £9.50
You will not miss this castle when you visit Edinburgh. It is an elegant landmark of Edinburgh with its position on the castle rock. I have not visited inside of it from my two visits in Edinburgh, I know I should do it...but it also gives me a reason to return to Edinburgh :-)