Explore Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most thrilling historic locations in the United Kingdom and a world-renowned icon, being part of a World Heritage Site that encompasses Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns.

Positioned on top of a dormant volcano, Edinburgh Castle has been a commanding feature on the horizon of Scotland’s exciting capital city for hundreds of years and is certain to capture your imagination.

Recently designated top UK Heritage Attraction in the British Travel Awards, the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s number one paid-for attraction, will take your breath away. No journey to the UK is complete without it!

A Brief History of Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the horizon of Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, from its location on the Castle Rock.

This most well-known of Scotland’s castles has a complex building history as there has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, which is when the oldest part, St Margaret’s Chapel, dates from.

Edinburgh Castle continued, at periods, to be a royal dwelling until 1633, with the Great Hall being erected by James IV around 1510 and the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century. By the 17th century, it was mainly used as military quarters with a large garrison.

Investigations have discovered that 26 sieges have taken place in Edinburgh Castle’s 1100-year history as one of Scotland’s most significant strongholds, giving it claim to be the most besieged place in the United Kingdom and one of the most attacked in the world.

In recent times, Edinburgh Castle has been a popular film location, appearing on the small and big screen in television programmes and movies such as the adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s book, Filth, featuring James McAvoy.

Getting to Edinburgh Castle

The castle is in Edinburgh City Centre, easily accessible by bus, tram and train.

Edinburgh Airport is easy to get to, with good tram and bus links to the centre of town.  More…


Visiting Edinburgh Castle

What to see

There’s loads to discover when you ascend Castle Hill to visit this expansive fortress and prior royal abode, today a major part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

St Margaret’s Chapel, constructed around 1130, is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh, and the delightful interiors of the Royal Palace, including the late-medieval ceiling of the Great Hall, which was erected around 1510, are certain to amaze.

Amongst the state treasures on show in its walls, Edinburgh Castle houses Britain’s most historic crown jewels, the Honours of Scotland, which dazzle visitors to the site!

You can also see Scotland’s inauguration stone, the Stone of Destiny, which was taken by the English in 1296 and given back in 1996.

Look out for the famed 15th-century gun, Mons Meg, an enormous late-medieval siege cannon amongst the castle weaponry and set your watch by the One O’ Clock Gun, which is fired every day (except Sunday).

Edinburgh Castle is the location of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland, and some of the castle buildings house regimental museums. The British Army is still responsible for some parts of the castle, with it remaining an active military base.

Finally, don’t forget to admire the panoramic views of the capital city of Scotland and have your photograph taken with this astonishing backdrop!


When should I visit?

Known as the ‘defender of the nation’, a yearly highlight at Edinburgh Castle is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, held on Castle Esplanade every August during the Edinburgh Festival.

The castle is normally open to visitors all year round, but certain periods, such as the Edinburgh Festival, summer holidays and school breaks, will be more popular than others.

Ticket prices include an optional guided tour by castle stewards of Edinburgh Castle and there is an audio guide tour available in eight languages – English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin – which takes visitors on a journey around the castle, explaining its architecture and telling its dramatic history.

Book your Edinburgh Castle tickets today!

Getting to Edinburgh Castle

The castle is in Edinburgh City Centre, easily accessible by bus, tram and train.

Edinburgh Airport is easy to get to, with good tram and bus links to the centre of town.

Waverley Station is Edinburgh’s main transit destination. It’s not far on foot to the castle – keep an eye out for it from the station exits.

An express bus, the Airlink 100, transports passengers from the airport to the city centre. Some stops at the castle are made by hop-on, hop-off tourist bus tours. You can also look out for local buses that have either George IV Bridge or the Mound on their passenger routes.


Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG.



Edinburgh Castle