11 Apr 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle has taken a fair few beatings in its time as supposedly ‘the most besieged’ place in the whole of the UK! Yes, this majestic stronghold plonked in the heart of central Edinburgh is without a doubt one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks.

The historic site displays a tableau of time with its buildings and architecture reflective of the additions and removals made throughout the centuries. With all this in mind, it is no surprise this epic castle is one of Edinburgh’s top tourist attractions and is well worth carving out a few hours to visit.

Ready then to get all clued up on Edinburgh Castle? Great! Whether you landed here to read some Edinburgh Castle facts or looking for a few handy tips before you set off on your adventure, here is everything you need to know about Edinburgh Castle. So, be prepared to get your camera out at any given moment and brace yourself with some tickets because now is the time to storm the castle.

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Edinburgh Castle 101

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Fact #1 The Perfect Fortress

If you have been on Prince’s Street already or, for that matter, anywhere else in sight of the castle, you’ll see how Edinburgh Castle makes for a perfect fortress. Yes, its fortified position on a volcanic rock makes for a great natural defence with superb views overlooking the city and beyond.

Fact #2 Home to the Oldest Building in Edinburgh

Want to see the beginnings of Edinburgh? Then check out St Margaret’s Chapel. Yes, this stone building is said to be the oldest building in Edinburgh. This place of worship has some fascinating history and still bears the marks of being spared from King Robert Bruce’s orders to ruin the castle, making it unusable for the English.

Fact #3 Rediscovered Treasure

Have you ever heard of Sir Walter Scott? Yeh, the famous Scottish writer. Well, it turns out he played a big part in rediscovering some locked away royal treasure that had been collecting dust for 111 years. Now, that’s a long time to forget about something!

Yes, these crown jewels, known as ‘The Honours of Scotland’, were used for Mary, Queen of Scots, Coronation and consist of a crown, sceptre and sword of state. They were released from hiding when the well-known author had what is known as The Crown Room ‘broken into’ including the oak chest, which contained the untouched jewels. You will be pleased to know he had Royal permission to do this!

Fact #4 Abseiling on a…Washing Line?

Being a castle and military stronghold, Edinburgh Castle has been home to many prisoners over the years. As a result, there have been many attempts of escape. Back in 1799, four prisoners were able to claim their freedom by basically abseiling down the rocky crag with, yes, you guessed it…Washing lines!

The Practical Stuff

Opening Times and Ticket Bookings

Photograph of the entrance of Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh Castle Entrance, Edinburgh

To find the latest information on Edinburgh Castle’s opening times, click here. 

You’ll also need to ensure you book in advance! Admission prices for the day are £15.50 for adults, £9.30 for children aged between 5-15yrs and under 5s who receive free entry. 

Additionally, you can gain admission to Edinburgh Castle by joining our Secrets of the Royal Mile, a fun walking tour. To find out more and to book your ticket for the walking tour, click here.

Capture the Views

Views seen from Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Views from Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Do you love a good view! Then Edinburgh Castle is a great place to be. See what you can spot. What about the Firth of Forth?

The One o’clock Gun

Photograph of The One o'Clock Gun being fired.
The One o’Clock Gun, Edinburgh Castle

Here is an advanced warning in case this makes you jump! Every day, the 1 o’clock gun is fired daily at 1 pm apart from specific days like Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Café Stop?

Photograph of a coffee cup.

Are you looking for a place to stop for a bite after your round? Is your tummy rumbling for lunch? Then take a walk over to the Edinburgh Castle Redcoat Café. They have a tasty range of food options, including a Children’s Menu. For current information on Redcoat Cafe’s opening times, click here.

Make Sure to Take Some Time Out

Photograph of a worn wrist watch.

When planning your trip to Edinburgh, it is vital to note that it is worth clearing a decent amount of time to spend at Edinburgh Castle. Depending on what most excites and interests you, there is a lot you can choose to see and do at Edinburgh Castle. It might not be as long as a whole day, but at least a morning or an afternoon.

Alternatively, if you want a quicker way to get around without missing out on insightful stories or facts, why not consider a tour.

For a tour of the Royal Mile with Castle entry, you can check out our Secrets of the Royal Mile tour. Additionally, Edinburgh Castle provides audio tours, which come at an additional price of £3.50 for adults, £2.50 for concession and £1.50 for children.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Photograph of fireworks.

Around during the summer? The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is one of the most well-known summer spectacles in Edinburgh. Situated on the Castle’s Esplanade, the widely popular military event has a beautiful setting. 

What Else Can I visit Nearby?

Street photograph of the top of The Royal Mile with Camera Obscura in sight.
The Royal Mile towards Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Places near enough on the doorstep of Edinburgh Castle

  • Camera Obscura
  • Princes Street Gardens (There is a pathway on the Esplanade that will lead you down to Prince’s Street Gardens and Prince’s Street)
  • The Royal Mile
  • St Giles’ Cathedral
  • Gladstone’s Land
  • Plenty of souvenir shops

The Scottish National War Memorial

Exterior photograph taken of The Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle.
The Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle

Established in the 1920s, The Scottish National War Memorial was made to pay tribute to those who died in the First World War, but in later years also became a Second World War memorial. This place is known for its artistry from the contributions of well-regarded Scottish artists and craftsmen/women.

Highlights of Edinburgh Castle

Photograph of The Great Hall in Edinburgh Castle.
The Great Hall, Edinburgh Castle
  • St Margaret’s Chapel
  • The One o’Clock Gun
  • Mons Meg
  • The Honours of Scotland & The Stone of Destiny
  • Royal Palace
  • The Great Hall
  • Lang Stairs
  • Panoramic Views
  • Prisoners of War Exhibition
  • The Scottish National War Memorial

Tour Time

Photograph of Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, at the front of the castle.
Esplanade, Edinburgh Castle

Are you looking to join a tour? Want to start from the Royal Mile? Enjoy learning more of the hidden history of Edinburgh on our Secrets of the Royal Mile walking tour, which can include admission entry into Edinburgh Castle. 

The tour prices start from £15, under 5s, go free, and both children aged between 5-15yrs and the over 65s receive a discounted rate. Click here to book on to easyGuide’s Secrets of the Royal Mile Tour.

easyJet holiday packages

Cityscape photograph of Victoria Street, Edinburgh.

Are you getting ready to plan your trip to Edinburgh? Then book your holiday through easyJet holiday packages and choose from a range of stay options. Great if you want to book your hotel and flights in one place! 

To find out more about easyJet’s Edinburgh package, click here.

So, there you go! There is the low-down of Edinburgh Castle, the city’s fantastic historic stronghold. Enjoy your visit! Why not check out some of our other recent easyGuide Edinburgh posts while you’re here:

Thank You From easyGuide

We hope you found our guide to Everything You Need to Know About Edinburgh Castle useful. Don’t forget you can find tickets to the top attractions, activities, experiences and tours in Edinburgh here.

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