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

LZ Jones (10 months ago)
Absolutely amazing! I suggest going early in the morning, you'll want to stay all day quite easily. Plus the line to get in had no wait, as we were leaving in the afternoon it was quite the line coming in. Make sure you buy tickets online at least a few days in advance or more, cause it definitely sells out. The 1 O'clock gun is really cool, find a spot a little higher above the gun before 1, as it gets really crowded quickly and you'll miss it. They do take off the area around the gun, so there's a safe space for them to fire it. Take your time and read the information and use the audio guide, definitely worth the few bucks to rent it. The memorial for all their fallen Scotsmen in battle is stunning. Be respectful in such a sacred place. The Red Coat Cafe has absolutely amazing food! Get the Swiss cake roll.....ooooh delicious!!! Plus they have vegan and gluten free options, which made for a very happy little guy of mine. Awesome history in this place, so thankful it's been so well taken care of!
Vicky Dunbar (10 months ago)
Book tickets in advance as you're not guaranteed entry if you just turn up. The website is easy to use, there are many time slots to choose from and you get a long window to arrive within. This place is truly spectacular and there is so much to see on site that you could spend much longer here than you'll plan for. St Margarets Chapel is small but the stained glass is beautiful. The Crown Jewels are well worth the queue and were the highlight for me until I entered the Scottish National War Memorial building. Absolutely amazing! The Regimental museums and National War museum are glorious, so much information and memorabilia. Be sure to be on time for the one o'clock gun! The Great Hall is fabulous, the ceiling alone! The replicas of Mary Queen of Scots embroideries are exquisite so don't miss those. You'll really appreciate the amount of work that's went into them. There are plenty of toilets around and cafes to stop for coffee and a snack. We spent a good 3 hours here and probably still missed things
Ray K (10 months ago)
Nice view of the city from the castle. In the summer make sure to buy your tickets in advance of your trip. If you come as soon as they open you will miss all the tour buses. Make sure to visit the farmers market at bottom of the hill open until 2 pm.
Amanda Barnes (10 months ago)
Went to watch The Who what a fantastic venue. From our seats we had a perfect view even if people got up and danced. The sound was amazing. Stairs got very slippy due to the rain but if you took the hand rails it was fine. 5 star venue.
atalia (10 months ago)
You need to book the tickets early as they can sell out fast. I bought my ticket from the city bus tours which guarantees you access to the castle. Great place to visit to know more about the history in Edinburgh. The audio guide was an additional 3.50£. It is good to have it as you will be able to hear the stories and history for different parts of the castle. The view was great as you can overlook the city towards the new town.
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