A focal point of Scottish history that dominates Edinburgh’s skyline and which has served as a fortress, a palace and home to the crown jewels.
Perched atop a craggy volcanic rock close to the heart of town, Edinburgh Castle is the city's oldest building and is steeped in a history spanning almost a millennium. In its time, it has endured sieges, served as the base for military campaigns and been a famous home of Scottish kings and queens. The admission fee to the castle includes a guided tour but you are also welcome to explore the ramparts under your own steam. The castle's website offers a suggested itinerary.
When you head through the Entrance Gateway you'll be met by two towering statues. Robert the Bruce and William Wallace (better known as 'Braveheart') were two iconic national heroes who fought for Scottish independence back in the 14th century.
Every day except for Sunday, you can head to the far end of the Argyle Battery to see and hear the One O'Clock Gun as it is sounded. This has been a ritual ever since 1861. Originally, the gun was fired so that ships in Leith Harbour could set their chronometers.
Inside the castle, you can walk in the footsteps of Charles I, who once would have dined with guests in the Great Hall chamber. You’ll also find the bedchamber where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to the son who would become king of England and Scotland in the 17th century. On the first floor, marvel at the Scottish crown jewels alongside the famous Stone of Destiny, a red sandstone block which was used in royal coronation ceremonies of old.
While you're here, it’s worth visiting the Scottish National War Memorial, where Scottish soldiers who lost their lives in two world wars and other conflicts are immortalised.
You can easily reach Edinburgh Castle by walking from the east end of Princes Street. Bear in mind though that some visitors may have difficulties ascending the steep cobblestone streets on the castle site. Some parts are wheelchair accessible, and a limited number of wheelchairs are available to hire. There is no parking on site, but some disabled parking bays are available which you'll need to book in advance. The castle opens every day though opening times are subject to change through the year -- check online ahead of your visit.