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: Old Town Walking Tour   City Orientation Walk  

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

Create Your Own Walk in Edinburgh

Create Your Own Walk in Edinburgh

Creating your own self-guided walk in Edinburgh is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Kids Entertainment Tour

Kids Entertainment Tour

Edinburgh is a city with a thousand and one things for children to enjoy. There are many sources of amusement for children of all ages, from tots to teens, such as playgrounds, toy stores, children's museums, sweet-shops, and wonderful ice cream stores to keep them happy. Take this tour and discover the best kids entertainment venues in Edinburgh!

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
New Town Walking Tour

New Town Walking Tour

The New Town is a central area of Edinburgh, considered to be a masterpiece of historic city planing, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to the National Gallery of Scotland and the Royal Scottish Academy, but also to an upmarket range of independent eateries and restaurants, as well as some of the best pubs and bars you will find in Edinburgh. Take the following tour to discover the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Cannongate Walking Tour

Cannongate Walking Tour

The Canongate district takes its name from the main street called the "Canongate" and forms the lower, eastern half of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh's historic Old Town. It contains some other notable public buildings, including Huntly House (now the Museum of Edinburgh) and the historic Canongate Tolbooth (now housing the People's Story Museum), as well as the Canongate Kirk and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
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
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
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: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km

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