Take a visit to the most besieged place in Great Britain. Learn more about visiting the imposing Edinburgh Castle in this post.
I’ve visited Edinburgh Castle twice. The first time was during my study abroad in 2013. The most recent was when I showed Kevin around the UK and Ireland in 2018.
Edinburgh Castle History
Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest castles in Europe, so it has a long and rich history. The castle has dominated the city’s skyline since the 12th century. In its 1,100 year history, the castle has survived 26 sieges, making it the most besieged place in Great Britain.
The castle dates back to an Iron Age hill fort, and after climbing the tall castle hill, it’s no wonder that they chose this location. Throughout its long life, the castle has been an ancient stronghold, a royal residence, a royal treasury, a military garrison, and now a popular tourist attraction.
Touring Edinburgh Castle
You can tour the castle on your own once you’re inside, or you can join a guided tour. Guided tours are included in your admission and are optional. The tours set off from the meeting point (just past the audio booth) every 30 minutes in the summer and every hour in the winter. Tours last about 30 minutes.
Whether you tour the castle on your own or with a guide, make sure you see all the highlights. And there is a lot to see here.
The famous One O’Clock Gun is fired every day at 1 p.m. This used to signal ships to set their maritime clocks, and the tradition is still held up. If you aren’t at the castle when the gun is fired, you can at least still view it at the end of the Argyle Battery.
St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building in Edinburgh. The royal family once used this chapel as their site of worship. The chapel was canonised by Pope Innocent IV in 1250.
The Great Hall, completed in 1511, is a magnificent example of Medieval Scotland. Weapons and armor are displayed beneath its wooden roof and blood red walls.
The Honours of Scotland are Scotland’s Crown Jewels. These are the oldest Crown Jewels in Britain. They are displayed on the first floor of the Royal Palace, and you won’t want to miss them.
Visiting Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is open from 9:30 a.m. Last entry in the winter (October 1 — March 31) is 4 p.m., and last entry in the summer (April 1 — September 30) is 5 p.m.
The castle can be crowded at mid-day when visitors line up to hear the One O’Clock Gun.
You get the best price for tickets by buying online. Their online price is £19.50 for adults, £15.50 for seniors 65+, and £11.40 for children ages 5-15. If you want to buy your tickets at the gate, it will be £22 for adults, £17.60 for seniors, and £13.20 for children.
An important thing to remember when visiting is that you can’t bring in any bag over 30L. We found this out the hard way on our last trip to Scotland. They also don’t have anywhere to store bags, so you’ll be better off leaving it at your hotel.
Top Edinburgh Castle Tours
There’s a lot to see in Edinburgh! To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour. Check out this list of the top tours that include Edinburgh Castle.
- Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry
- Small Group Royal Mile Walking Tour with Optional Entry to Edinburgh Castle
- Harry Potter Tour with Entry to Edinburgh Castle
Did you know there is another castle in Edinburgh? Craigmillar Castle might not be as well known, but it’s just as amazing, and you might just get the whole place to yourself!
Ready to visit Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in Edinburgh using Booking.com.
- Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
Have you visited Edinburgh Castle? Let me know about your trip in the comments!