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Edinburgh Castle

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Standing proudly above the city of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle is one of the most iconic castles in the UK. Formerly home to Scotland’s monarchy, the castle is packed full of Scottish history, both before and after it became part of the UK. Basic tickets include a short introductory tour and access to all the different rooms and exhibitions.
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Guided Tours

Learn even more about the history of the castle when you take a tour with an expert guide.
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Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry
4.8starstarstarstarstar(1870)
 
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Small Group Royal Mile Walking Tour with Optional Entry to Edinburgh Castle
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More Tickets & Tours

Browse even more products that include a trip to Edinburgh Castle.
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Edinburgh: Royal Attractions with Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours
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Secrets of the Royal Mile & Edinburgh Castle: Walking Tour + Skip The Line
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Edinburgh City Centre private driving tour Edinburgh Castle Rosslyn Chapel
 
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8 Tips for Visiting the Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle | Photo: Gary Campbell-Hall CC-BY 2.0
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Tickets and guided toursTickets should be booked online in advance due to the large crowds. Tickets are also available on-site at the gate, but are more expensive and only available until online sales end. Guided tours are temporarily not offered due to Covid measures.
Edinburgh Castle | Photo: Mario Sánchez Prada CC-BY-SA 2.0
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The sightsMoving through the iconic castle is like strolling through an antique village. Because of its history, Edinburgh Castle offers dozens of sights and buildings from a wide variety of historical periods. Among the highlights is St. Margaret's Chapely, the oldest surviving building on the site. The Great Hall and the Royal Palace bear witness to royal splendor. The historic dungeons offer a glimpse into the castle's days as a prison complex. Edinburgh Castle also houses various memorials and museums on military history.
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Routes and time planningEdinburgh Castle offers routes of varying lengths. The one-hour route goes through Portcullis Gate, up the Lang Stairs, and then into St. Margaret's Chapel. Then you will continue to the fortifications and to the giant gun Mons Meg. The fortifications offer impressive views of Edinburgh before continuing to the Scottish Crown Jewels as well as the Coronation Stone (Stone of Scone). After these treasures, the Great Hall and the Prisons of War exhibit are visited, as well as another exhibit on the One O'Clock Gun. Longer tours include a visit to Argyle Tower, the Military Prison, the Royal Scots Museum, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum, the New Barracks, Governor's House (from the outside), and the National War Museum.
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One O’Clock GunIf you visit Edinburgh Castle at lunchtime, don't miss the One O'Clock Gun. This popular attraction is a cannon that is fired every day - except Sundays - at 1:00 pm. Originally, the cannon was fired to allow ships to set their clocks. Now the One O'Clock, fired by the District Gunner of the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery in uniform, has become a tradition and a tourist highlight.
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Choose the right clothesFor Edinburgh Castle, the key is to dress warmly. Although a tour of the castle involves a lot of time inside, the hill is still exposed to a lot of wind, which keeps it relatively cool even on sunny days. Also, the castle is built into the rock - the paths are mainly cobblestone. So, sturdy and comfortable shoes should also be remembered.
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3D preview of the castleYou are still unsure how your trip to the monumental castle should look like? The 3D preview of the Edinburgh Castle, which is available via this Link, can help.
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Lights spectacle in DecemberIn recent years, the castle offered a special event on selected December evenings: the Castle of Light. The elaborately produced light show creates different lighting effects and animations on the castle walls and in hidden corners of the castle. Tickets for the Castle of Light cost £20.
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Music Festival Edinburgh Military TattooEvery August, the so-called Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place as part of the Edinburgh Festival. This ceremonial evening features military musicians performing a selection of traditional as well as modern music from Scotland, the UK and beyond. The Tattoo attracts over 220,000 visitors each year, and tickets always sell out well in advance. They can be obtained through the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo website, the Cockburn Street ticket office or by phone. More information can be found at www.edintattoo.co.uk.

A short history of Edinburgh Castle

Scotland is a must for all lovers of knights, castles and all the myths that are related to the Middle Ages. Edinburgh Castle, however, is the most popular castle in the country among all the historical sights, not last because it is bursting with history.
Edinburgh Castle | GerritR CC BY-SA 4.0

Fortress on the volcano

Edinburgh Castle is a textbook example of a medieval castle. The fortress towers 260 ft (80 m) above its urban surroundings on the rocky Castle Rock. Three of its four sides drop vertically into the abyss, which made Edinburgh Castle the perfect place for defense in the past. While the rock itself is an extinct volcano.
Edinburgh Castle Lights | Virtual-Pano CC BY-SA 4.0

The origins

The origin of Edinburgh Castle is a bit mysterious. Until now, neither archaeology nor historical sciences have been able to establish an exact period of the first castle construction. Fortresses on the extinct volcano may have existed already during the Iron Age. After that, sources indicate battles at the rock in the 7th century. Concretely, however, the existence of a castle on Castle Rock can only be confirmed for the beginning of the 11th century.

History from all ages

Edinburgh Castle is not a simple castle from the Middle Ages. Rather, it is a potpourri of many different historical eras. After multiple sieges and battles, the castle has been rebuilt and expanded again and again over the centuries. The oldest building within is St Margaret's Chapel. The Great Hall was built in the 16th century, but has since been influenced by later Victorian interior decoration. The royal statues at the entrance were added in 1929.

Political background

Once the seat of the Scottish monarchy, the site played an important political role, especially in the Middle Ages. For centuries it was the royal residence. The Great Hall, built at the beginning of the 16th century, made it possible to hold state events and large banquets. From the 17th century the castle lost its political importance and was mainly used as a military fortress and prison. Already since the 19th century Edinburgh Castle was opened for visitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there guided tours for Edinburgh Castle?

Temporarily there are no guided tours. However, the audio guide will still be available. Read more.

Are audio guides available?

Yes. Audio guides in 12 languages are available behind the entrance where tickets are checked. Read more.

Is there anything to eat inside the castle?

Inside the castle there are two cafes which offer snacks and tea. Read more.

Are dogs allowed inside the castle?

Only assistance dogs are allowed inside. Read more.

Is it possible to leave luggage on site?

Large bags and luggage are not allowed in the castle. But Edinburgh Castle does not provide storage for luggage or belongings. Read more.

General Information

Opening Hours:

During the summer period from April 1 to September 30, Edinburgh Castle is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; during the winter period from October 1 to March 31, the castle closes at 5 p.m.

COVID-19 measures:

Wearing a mask is recommended, but not mandatory. Guided tours are still prohibited.

Address:

Edinburgh Castle
Castlehill
Edinburgh EH1 2NG

Tickets:

A normal ticket is available online for £18, or at £21 on site at the gate. Children ages 5 to 15 may enter the castle by booking online for £11, or at £12.50 at the gate. Seniors and senior citizens may purchase tickets online for £14.50, or at £17 on site. Families are offered various discount options depending on size: one adult with two children can book a group ticket for £35.50 online (£41.50 on-site), two adults with two children for £52.00 online (£60.50 on-site), and two adults with three children for £61.50 online (£72.00 on-site).

How to get there:

Edinburgh Castle can be reached on foot from the main Waverley Station. Buses to the airport also stop at this station. Discounted parking is available in the Terrace parking lot. Parking chips must be validated for this at the audio desk during the visit.
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