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Edinburgh Castle

World famous icon of Scotland and part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle logo
Edinburgh Castle has been at the heart of Scotland’s life for well over 1,000 years. Well defended on its tall volcanic crag, it has been occupied since prehistoric times. By the medieval era it was an important royal residence, and the city growing up around it became the nation’s capital.

Edinburgh Castle is the most besieged castle in the UK and over many centuries has witnessed royal ceremonies, savage battles, medieval parliaments, lavish feasts, grand parades, ruthless politics, raids by stealth, the birth of a king and the deaths of queens, jousting tournaments, troubled marriages, devout prayers and intensive military activity.

Scottish monarchs commissioned grand buildings here, both as secure lodgings and as demonstrations of their wealth, power and sophistication. The castle’s royal role continues up to the present day.

The castle is also home to important national symbols, such as the Honours of Scotland (the crown jewels), the Stone of Destiny and the medieval siege cannon Mons Meg. Its long military use continues, and is recognised in the National War Museum, regimental museums, and the sombrely handsome Scottish National War Memorial.

In more recent times, Edinburgh Castle has gained recognition as an international icon and a fascinating place to visit. You are following in the footsteps of millions.

Visit the Edinburgh Castle website www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk to plan your visit and beat the queues by buying fast track tickets online.

Highlights

  • In 2014 the castle was voted the UK’s best heritage attraction at the British Travel Awards for the fourth year in a row.
  • A Royal Palace: Edinburgh’s royal connections date back 1,000 years, and for a time in the 1400s and 1500s it was among Scotland’s chief royal residences.
  • The Great Hall: Built around 1510 for James IV, to house grand banquets and other state events, the Great Hall was later used for military purposes, and afterwards given a Victorian makeover, but it retains its superb late-medieval ceiling.
  • A Military Stronghold: Always well defended, the castle has long been an important military base, right up to the present day.
  • The One o’Clock Gun: You can set your watch by the time signal, fired from Mills Mount Battery daily (except Sundays) at precisely 1300 hours.
  • St Margaret’s Chapel: The oldest building in Edinburgh, this modest chapel was built around 1130, as part of a larger building, by King David I, as a tribute to his devout mother.
  • The National Shrine: Standing on Crown Square at the centre of the castle, the Scottish National War Memorial pays solemn tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War and later conflicts
  • The Stone of Destiny: Scotland’s ancient coronation stone was removed by the invading English King Edward I in 1296, but has been kept at the castle since its return in 1996.
  • The Honours of Scotland: Britain’s oldest crown jewels, the Crown, Sword and Sceptre are displayed in a specially fortified room built for them in the 1600s.
  • Panoramic Views: Edinburgh Castle sits at the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and affords superb views across the city, to Fife and beyond in the north and across the Pentland Hills to the south.
  • Artillery Defences: The huge late-medieval siege cannon Mons Meg takes pride of place among numerous artillery pieces that bristle from the castle’s many batteries.
Green Tourism Award - Gold

Location

Region – Edinburgh and the Lothians
Postcode: EH1 2NG

Opening arrangements

Summer
1 April - 30 September, Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun, 9.30am to 6.00pm (last entry 5pm)

Winter
1 October - 31 March , Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun, 9.30am to 5.00pm (last entry 4pm)

Admission prices

Visit www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk to buy admission tickets.

Events at Edinburgh Castle

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30 May 2015

Allan Ramsay - Master Draughtsman

Duff House

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Weaving the Unicorn exhibition

Stirling Castle

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Waterloo Colours

Edinburgh Castle

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Duff House Tours

Duff House

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The Other Mary Exhibition

Stirling Castle

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Coast

Duff House

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Archaeology and Birds at Brodgar

Ring Of Brodgar Stone Circle and Henge

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Renaissance Ladies

Edinburgh Castle

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Raising Fife for the Covenant

Aberdour Castle And Garden

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A Loyal Man

Urquhart Castle

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