Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh from its position on the Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been 'the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world'.

Few of the present buildings pre-date the Lang Siege of the 16th century, when the medieval defences were largely destroyed by artillery bombardment. The most notable exceptions are St Margaret's Chapel from the early 12th century, which is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh, the Royal Palace and the early-16th-century Great Hall, although the interiors have been much altered from the mid-Victorian period onwards. The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland. The British Army is still responsible for some parts of the castle, although its presence is now largely ceremonial and administrative. Some of the castle buildings house regimental museums which contribute to its presentation as a tourist attraction.

The castle, in the care of Historic Scotland, is Scotland's most-visited paid tourist attraction, with over 1.4 million visitors in 2013. As the backdrop to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the annual Edinburgh International Festival the castle has become a recognisable symbol of Edinburgh and of Scotland and indeed, it is Edinburgh's most frequently visited visitor attraction.

Edinburgh Castle is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site of The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, inscribed by in 1995.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Stuart Brown (16 months ago)
Fantastic attraction and not to be missed. Superb piece of Scottish history and is still an active military garrison. Well worth the price for the castle tour. Try to time the visit so you are here for the shooting of the gun at 13.00 each day {not Sundays or Bank Holidays}. Definitely worth the trip. Highly recommended.
Chloe Munro (17 months ago)
Oh my gosh. A wonderful experience, learning about history and seeing the castle. The views are exceptional. Allow approximately 2.5 hours for your visit. Edinburgh is amazing, steeped in history. Unfortunately, it is very windy down there, so take something warm.
James Stace (17 months ago)
Went to the castle light show. The castle is superb. So full of history. Absolutely awe-inspiring. I was expecting more from the light show, but certainly tells some of the history in a fun way. Will certainly go back during the day to have a proper look at the castle.
Jana Kannangara (2 years ago)
I've been there before and enjoyed a lot. Unfortunately this time it was limited visit places in the Castle ?. Edinburgh, Scotland and the people lovely. Thinking of visiting again. Love United Kingdom precious places to visit as a visitor it's limited. Love ? history of the kingdom and England. Wish long life and God blessings!
Anthony Woodley (2 years ago)
Another excellent day out in Edinburgh. Knowledgeable staff and quite a bit to see and explore. Nice walk along The Royal Mile to the entrance. We arrived at 10am and when we came out it was a lot busier. Great views of the city. Reasonably priced. Stirling Castle is still my favourite.!
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