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Edinburgh Castle

Fortress, palace and repository of the crown jewels, this landmark overlooking the city has played a crucial role in Scottish history.

Edinburgh Castle, the oldest building in the city, sits high on a craggy volcanic rock just near the city center. During its history, which spans almost a thousand years, the stronghold has witnessed sieges, served as a military base and provided refuge for Scottish monarchs.

A guided tour is included with the price of admission. If you prefer to explore the ramparts, towers and battlements on your own, check the castle’s official website for one of its suggested itineraries.

As you make your way through the Entrance Gateway, look up to see the statues of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace (aka “Braveheart”), two 14th-century defenders of Scottish independence.

Join the crowds at the far end of the Argyle Battery to watch the One O ’Clock Gun. The cannon is fired every day except Sunday at exactly one o’clock. It started in 1861 to help ships in nearby Leith Harbour set their clocks.

Stand in the Great Hall, the grandiose room where Charles I banqueted. Step inside the bedchamber where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to the future James VI of Scotland who united the English and Scottish crowns in 1603. Gaze upon the Scottish crown jewels on the first floor of the Royal Palace. Alongside these treasures is the Stone of Destiny, a block of red sandstone that’s been used in royal coronation ceremonies for centuries.

Visit the Scottish National War Memorial that commemorates Scottish soldiers lost in the two world wars and other military conflicts.  

Edinburgh Castle can be reached by foot from the east end of Princes Street. The castle site includes steep cobblestone streets that may present difficulties for some people. Parts of the castle are wheelchair accessible and a limited number of wheelchairs are available on a first come, first served basis. There is no on-site parking, but there are a few disabled parking bays, which need to be booked in advance.

The castle is open daily but opening times vary throughout the year; check the official castle website for times.


Guide to Exploring around Edinburgh Castle


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Lodging Near Edinburgh Castle

See all 770 Hotels near Edinburgh Castle
$145
Old Town Chambers

Old Town Chambers

Roxburgh's Court, Edinburgh
4.8
of 5, from 813 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this luxury apartment building is steps from City Chambers, St. Giles' Cathedral, and Real Mary King's Close. Gladstone's Land and Camera Obscura and World of Illusions are also within 5 minutes.

$78
Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel

61 Grassmarket, Edinburgh
4.4
of 5, from 1,829 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Two blocks from towering Edinburgh Castle, this hotel is in Old Town's bustling Grassmarket district, with the Waverley railway station and four major theaters within a half-mile.

$122
The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square

The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square

38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
4.4
of 5, from 71 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This central Edinburgh hotel overlooks the gardens of Charlotte Square, and is a 15-minute walk from Haymarket and Waverley stations, and a 20-minute drive from Edinburgh Airport. Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle are nearby.

$47
Cairn Hotel

Cairn Hotel

10-18 Windsor Street, Edinburgh
4.0
of 5, from 889 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in New Town, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre and Calton Hill. Palace of Holyroodhouse and St. Giles' Cathedral are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$61
Princes Street Suites

Princes Street Suites

16 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh
4.5
of 5, from 687 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This all-suite Edinburgh property is 5 minutes away from St. Andrews Square and George Street. Edinburgh Castle is a 15 minute walk away, up the Royal Mile. Princes Street and Waverley Station are nearby.

Grassmarket hotel

Grassmarket hotel

94-96 Grassmarket, Edinburgh
3.9
of 5, from 949 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Old Town, this hotel is steps from Armstrong's, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, and Scotch Whisky Experience. Greyfriars Kirk and Gladstone's Land are also within 5 minutes.

Jurys Inn Edinburgh

Jurys Inn Edinburgh

43 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh
3.9
of 5, from 1,811 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Modern hotel in the heart of historic Edinburgh next to Waverley Station, one mile from the famous castle, and 400 meters from the New Scottish Parliament.

$60
Old Waverley Hotel

Old Waverley Hotel

43 Princes Street, Edinburgh
3.9
of 5, from 1,632 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Built in 1848, this eight-storey Victorian hotel is on Princes Street, with views of Edinburgh's famous castle and opposite Waverley railway station.