Edinburgh Castle is a historic castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. It stands on Castle Rock, which has been occupied by humans since at least the Iron Age, although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. Built 11th Century through to the 21st Century. Visited by over 2.2m people in 2019.
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most exciting historic sites in Western Europe. Set in the heart of Scotland's dynamic capital city, it is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe.
With a long rich history as a royal residence, military garrison, prison, and fortress, it is alive with many exciting tales. When you climb Castle Hill, you will walk in the footsteps of soldiers, kings, and queens.
Explore the castle's highlights
Some of the fascinating highlights that will mesmerize visitors are:
The Great Hall
- The Great Hall certainly is a marvel of the old era. It highlights the grandeur of the times when Kings displayed their power publicly. The hall displays weapons and armours reminiscent of its glorious military past. The hall’s original hammer-beam roof is one of the only two late medieval roofs surviving in Scotland. The Great Hall plays a pivotal role in national life as an important, high-status venue for State and government occasions. It is located in the crown square of the castle.
- The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is located in Crown Square and the Most famous Mary Queen of Scots lived here. It houses the crown, the sceptre, and the sword of state. The architecture is exquisite and spectacular. Some key moments in Scotland’s history took place within the palace walls.
- The Honours Of Scotland
The Honours of Scotland, informally known as the Scottish Crown Jewels and is the oldest regalia in the British Isles (the emblems of royalty). The Honours of Scotland, on display in the Crown Room, are the oldest Crown jewels in Britain. Made of gold, silver, and precious gems, the priceless crown, sceptre, and sword of state are objects of immense significance. The Honours of Scotland was used throughout history in the crowning of Scottish, English, and British monarchs. They have been well looked after and you can still see them on display today at Edinburgh Castle.
- St. Margaret’s Chapel
St Margaret’s Chapel is a structure of unique significance and importance both in the context of its role within the castle and more widely in a national context as a very early religious building. With its well-preserved Romanesque architecture, it is certainly the oldest intact building in Scotland. The aesthetics of the interior is a blend of simplicity with high-quality masonry and stained glass. Scotland’s royal family once knelt to worship in this serene private chapel Today, the doors of Edinburgh’s oldest building are open to all castle visitors, and the chapel continues to host weddings and christenings.
- Mon’s Meg
Named after the Belgian town where she was made, this magnificent canon is situated at the top of Edinburgh Castle looking out over the battlements towards the Firth of Forth. Mon’s Meg is one of the oldest surviving pieces of gun-powdered artillery in the world, and probably the most famous example in the United Kingdom. Mon’s Meg was associated with significant events in the nation's history during her active life as a siege gun and ceremonial gun. The gun remained operational until 1681 when the barrel finally burst. Mon’s Meg, through her proud history and immense size, continues to be one of the castle's 'star' attractions.
- National War Museum Scotland and its collection
The National War Museum of Scotland is dedicated to the 400 years of wars and battles. Visitors can see military equipment and weapons, also uniforms, kilts, medals, and silverware on display. Besides that, the museum features a special exhibition devoted to Highland soldiers who rebelled against the British Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries and houses a collection of paintings depicting the horrors of both the First and Second World Wars.
Pirates and prisoners of war were once held in the vaults below Crown Square. In the 1700s and 1800s, hundreds of prisoners of war were held in these dark, cramped spaces. Today, a recreation of the vaults as they would have looked around 1800 offers a glimpse into the grim way of life. Prisoners of war came from France, America, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, and Poland. Most were sailors, many of them Americans fighting in the War of Independence.
Built-in the late 1500s on the ruins of a 14th-century tower, this gate posed an impressive obstacle to anyone trying to storm the castle, with three heavy doors and the spiked portcullis blocking entry.
This impressive building was named for the Marquis of Argyle, who was imprisoned here. On the way into the castle, you'll pass bronze statues of legendary heroes William Wallace and Robert Bruce.
- The Scottish National War Memorial
Was built-in memory of the many Scots who died in World War I. Each regiment has its memorial, and even the animals that worked alongside the soldiers are remembered in its iconography. A silver shrine holds the roll of honour with the names of 150,000 dead.
The firing of the gun dates back to 1861 when businessman John Hewitt brought the idea to
Edinburgh from Paris. The gun is still fired every day at 1 pm, except on Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day. Crowds gather to enjoy the spectacle – and the sound often surprises people on Princes Street below. This famous time signal is located just outside the Redcoat Café.
Edinburgh Castle is a perfect backdrop for the finest moments in life. You can Plan an exquisite wedding, concert, or civil ceremony in one of our stunning venues or host a truly memorable corporate or private event at the castle.
Exquisite replicas of a set of embroideries created by Mary Queen of Scots during her exile in England are displayed in the ante-chamber of the Royal Apartments. There are 37 needlework pictures, each one with a story to tell.
Enjoy the castle view with a meal that’s an event in itself. Redcoat Café serves hot and delicious soups, sandwiches, and snack pots. Also enjoy beer, whisky, and wines and soak in the amazing views on the side. The Tea Rooms offers traditional tea, snacks, meals, and yummy cakes for the younger clan.
Edinburgh castle has a few large gift stores which will tempt visitors to buy souvenirs like exclusive merchandise, jewellery, towel, mugs, tea coaster, finest Scottish Whisky & crown gift shops with soft toys, and kids’ books for their big adventures.
With a majestic view and rich history, it’s a star attraction in Scotland. The scenery is breath-taking and captures one image and it’s absolutely incredible.