Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh (must see)

Edinburgh Castle has overlooked the city since the 12th century and is the second most visited building, after the Tower of London, in the United Kingdom. The very history of Scotland is deeply etched into its ancient stones.

The castle stands on top of Castle Rock, the basalt ventilation pipe of an extinct volcano eroded by glaciers. People have inhabited the site since the 9th century BC. The first castle was constructed by King David I of Scotland and it remained a royal residence until 1603.

As a fortress it was virtually impregnable, but it had one drawback: the basalt rock on which it stands doesn’t capture or hold water, so a 28-meter well was sunk, but in droughts or during long sieges, it dried out, and its denizens were then faced with either surrender or dying of thirst.

It was largely destroyed during the Lang Siege in 1573 and the only building from the 12th century still standing is St Margaret’s Chapel. In the 17th century, it became a military base and the garrison remained there until the 1920s. The few remaining members hold administrative or ceremonial posts.

Today the castle houses the Scottish National War Memorial, the National War Museum of Scotland and several smaller regimental museums. It is also the home of the One O’Clock Gun which is fired six days a week at precisely 1 PM and the city’s clocks are regulated by it.

In the Crown Room, you will see the Royal Scottish Crown, Scepter and Sword of State and actors in period costume re-enact important events of the castle’s history. In August the Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place on the castle’s esplanade. In the north-east corner of the esplanade is a small iron fountain called the Witches’ Well. It marks the spot where many women were burned at the stake for witchcraft.

Why You Should Visit:
The views alone at the castle are some of the best in Scotland, and the walk up visiting all the little places makes it a really good experience.

Tip:
The entry is cheaper if you book online, and more importantly, you avoid the oftentimes long line.
Take free guided tour – they go every hour at least. Otherwise, the audio guide is £3 and is quite useful.
It could get windy, being at the top of the mountain, so definitely bring layers if visiting in cold weather.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-5pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Edinburgh, Scotland within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Edinburgh Castle on Map

Sight Name: Edinburgh Castle
Sight Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

Create Your Own Walk in Edinburgh

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Royal Mile Walking Tour

Royal Mile Walking Tour

The Royal Mile is not in fact a street, but the name given to a succession of streets forming a thoroughfare at the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. The thoroughfare is about a mile long and runs between the famed Edinburgh Castle and the Holyrood Palace. The Mile is home to the Courts, St. Giles Cathedral, the City Chambers, John Knox's house, and also numerous shops and restaurants. Take...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Religious Sites Walking Tour

Religious Sites Walking Tour

Edinburgh is an enchanting city and home to numerous places of worship. The city is open to all religions and features magnificent Presbyterian and Catholic churches, the main two religions in Scotland; as well as Jewish synagogues and Islamic mosques, and even Buddhist centers. Check out this tour and visit some of Edinburgh’s beautiful religious sites.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 Miles
Museums & Galleries, Old Town

Museums & Galleries, Old Town

Popular for its rich cultural heritage, Edinburgh attracts a large number of tourists towards its numerous history and science museums that tell the compelling story of Scotland. Edinburgh is also a city where many locals spend their free time visiting galleries and attending art events. You can find amazing collections of original artwork in the many exhibitions around town. Take this tour and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

Famous Squares and Streets Walking Tour

While in Edinburgh, discover the popular avenues, boulevards and streets that lead to its most famous squares. While exploring these streets, you can find a copious amount of historic and religious edifices, fashion boutiques, classy restaurants, famous market areas, and other sites. Check out the most popular Edinburgh squares and streets in the following self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

With a lot of famous museums, art galleries, theaters, old churches, countless historic landmarks, shopping avenues and amazing architectural and recreational attractions all over the city, Edinburgh can seem quite daunting when it comes to sightseeing. The Old Town of Edinburgh, the oldest part of Scotland's capital, has preserved much of its medieval street plan and many Reformation-era...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Edinburgh without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Edinburgh, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles

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