You do not visit Edinburgh without seeing Edinburgh Castle! Not because you necessarily have to buy a ticket and take a look around the castle, but because it is located on the top of a cliff, end therefore can be pretty hard to miss. If you have just the slightest interest in history, I will recommend for you to use a couple of hours on a visit here. Even though it is not the cheapest thing you can do in Edinburgh, it is a great experience.
Wars, royalty and crown jewels
Even though it is called Edinburgh Castle, do not expect to see something similar to Cinderellas castle. I would describe it more like a fortress, but that doesn’t make the experience any less interesting.
The castle consists of different attractions and exhibitions. In The Great Hall you will see armour and old weapons, and in The Royal Palace you will have a glimpse of the royal chambers, where wood panelling, beautifully decorated fireplaces and impressive artwork will make you feel like you are stepping into another era. It is also here that you can slobber over the Scottish crown jewels – that is if you can see them for all the other tourists, trying to get a glimpse of the precious goods.
Another interesting historical attractions is the dungeon below the castle. Here you will find a great exhibit telling how it was like to be imprisoned here. And it is not difficult to imagine how uncomfortable it must have been to call this home… If you are interested in wartime history, take a look at the National War Museum. Here, different objects are on display, telling the story of Scottish wars through 400 years.
It is recommended to allow at least 2 hours on a visit at Edinburgh Castle, which was more or less the duration of our stay. If you wish to dig deeper into the interesting history that you have every possibility to do here, set aside some more time. There are lots of informative signs, and when purchasing a ticket, you can also rent an audio-guide or buy a more detailed guide-book.
The view of Edinburgh
It is not just interesting history that Edinburgh Castle can brag about. Since you are able to see the castle from many places around the city, it also means that you have a stunning view of the city from the castle. It is not hard to understand why it was decided to locate it here hundreds of years ago. During our visit, the weather was a bit cloudy (welcome to Scotland!), but I can only imagine that the views must be even more beautiful when the sun is shining.
Traditions and cannons
When you are in Edinburgh, it is very likely that you will hear a loud bang during the afternoon. Every Monday-Saturday at 1pm, the One o’clock Gun is fired – a tradition that dates back to 1861. This way the seafarers could set their clocks correctly, before setting off to the ocean.
Today it might be less necessary to have something to set your clock by, but Edinburgh Castle has stuck to the tradition, and every day a lot of spectators come to see (and hear) the Cannon. Do not expect to see one of the “old fashioned” cannons though – you know, the ones you see in cartoons. In 2001 a more modern version was put to use, but the big bang can still be heard from a great distance – also on Princes Street, where you have a nice view towards the castle.
Find your way
It is hard to miss Edinburgh Castle. It is located in one end of the Royal Mile, and it is therefore a good idea to combine a visit here with a stroll in Edinburgh Old Town.
Read more about opening hours, ticket prices and the many experiences at the castle on Edinburgh Castles website.
Visited in June 2016
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