Edinburgh castle is one such iconic castle that dominates the skyline and trip to Edinburgh cannot be complete without a visit to this castle. The castle complex is quite big and houses various treasures of historical importance. Going through the castle on your own can be bit of a task especially when wading through the crowd of tourists. We bring you the list of the must see things in the castle. Make sure you tick off these before you explore the castle on your own.
Honours of Scotland and Stone of Destiny
This is the major attraction of castle. Once, you enter the stairs there is a small museum that narrates the story of the Honours & Stone of Destiny and how it reached the castle. At the end of the museum, you see the actual Honours (Crown, Sceptre & Sword of State) and Stone of Destiny.
The hall is just across the courtyard. It’s wooden ceiling is magnificent and definitely worth a look. Do check out the ‘KEY OF EDINBURGH’ kept in this hall. Yes, you heard that right! apparently this is the key that is symbolically offered to Queen Elizabeth in the ‘Ceremony of Keys’ welcoming her to the city at Holyroodhouse, which is immediately returned to the elected officials for its safe keeping.
Scottish War Memorial
This is a memorial built to commemorate the dead of both world wars and military campaigns since 1945. The memorial has huge books of all the names of the dead. Do keep silence and preserve the sanctity of the place.
Note: 1,2 & 3 are in the same courtyard. You can follow the above order to beat the crowd and make sure to cover the place of your interest first if you are short of time.
St Margaret’s Chapel
This is a tiny chapel but of great importance as this is the oldest building in the castle. It was built in 12th century and it is still used for some christenings and weddings
This is a museum dedicated to Royal Scots Dragoon Guards of 17th century. This gives you interesting details of Scottish history. The major attraction here is the Napoleon Eagle & Standard captured by Royal Scots Greys in 1815 at Battle of Waterloo
Things to know:
- Castle doors opens at 9.30 am, be sure to be there by then to beat the crowd as it can get too crowded during summer months
- You can buy Explorer pass / Royal Edinburgh ticket to enjoy skip the queue entry
- You can also gain a ‘Skip-the-queue’ entry if you join one of the guided tours. I would recommend ‘CITY EXPLORERS’. Tour starts at 2 pm every day and it lasts for 2 hours. The cost of the tour is £10. You can book the tours here http://edinburghcastletour.com/tickets.html#one
- You can join the guided tour organized by the castle authorities free of cost. Tours last 30 minutes. The tour run every 30 minutes and it lasts for 20 minutes. You get to know the castle complex and the history from the experienced guides. You can go ahead and explore the castle at your own pace after the tour
- If you prefer to explore the castle yourself, you can do it with an audio guide, which is available at the box office. Prices: Adult – £3.50; Child – £1.50; Concession – £2.50
- If you would like to watch the historic gunfire, be sure you would be there at 12:45 pm. The gun is fired at 1 pm exactly everyday (except Sundays, Christmas Day, Good Friday). It is fun to watch this however, expect huge crowd.