A Guide to Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle against a blue sky

While staying with us in Edinburgh, be sure to visit Edinburgh Castle.

This is Edinburgh's, and indeed Scotland's, most popular paid-for visitor attraction. Last year, the castle welcomed 1.7 million people through its gates.

Edinburgh Castle is impossible to miss. It towers over the city, so you'll see it from all around. Sitting high on top of Castle Rock, it was a powerful fortress and royal residence for many hundreds of years. Beautifully preserved and well-kept, it is now open to the public. It's a wonderful example of medieval architecture, with parts of the building dating from as early as the 12th century.

Containing St Margaret's Chapel, the oldest building in the city, it is a great place to start your Edinburgh adventure.

Visit Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is easy to reach. You'll find the entrance at the far west end of the cobbled Royal Mile. You can access the castle esplanade for free. Here, you can get close to the castle and experience fantastic views across the city. There are many interesting landmarks and memorials to explore. In the summer, this area may not be accessible, as it becomes the venue for the famous Royal Edinburgh Miliary Tattoo and several other concerts and events. If you're interested in attending one of these special events, book your tickets well in advance. They sell out quickly!

You'll need to pay an entry fee to go inside the castle walls. Tickets can be purchased on entry, or you can buy online to beat the queues. Once inside, you can enjoy a free guided tour or hire an audio guide, to take in the fascinating history of this ancient place.

Things to See and Do

There is so much to see on a visit to Edinburgh Castle. You could easily fill a whole day exploring this amazing place.

Highlights include the magnificent Great Hall and Royal Palace, the Scottish Crown Jewels and Stone of Destiny, the National War Museum and Regimental Museums. Not forgetting, St Margaret's Chapel, which is Edinburgh's oldest building, Mons Meg, one of the largest cannons in the world, and the Prisons of War, where prisoners were held during battles and wars.

At 1pm, join the crowds to see the spectacle of the One o'clock Gun. This time-keeping cannon is fired from the castle every day except Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday.

And if you're hungry after all that exploring, check out our guide to the best restaurants near Edinburgh Castle.

Accommodation near Edinburgh Castle

If you haven't booked your accommodation yet, browse our self-catering holiday homes near Edinburgh Castle. We have a wide range of properties to choose from and we're always here to help if you need us. 

Local guides from local experts. Stay with us and enjoy a true Edinburgh experience.

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