When one thinks of Edinburgh, the first thing that comes to mind is the castle.
It’s estimated that there was life on the rock as early as the Iron Age, and evidence the royal castle existed from the 12th century. Possibly, the most notable inhabitant of Edinburgh Castle would have been Mary, Queen of Scots, who gave birth to her son in the castle walls, James, who would later become King of both Scotland and England.
Another fun fact about Edinburgh castle is that it exists on top of an old volcano!
It was a snowy day when I arrived. The photo above is taken from a window in The a Elephant Cafe – more on that in a later post!
As you can see, the castle stands above the Old Town, a staple of history, and an impressive sight.
March prices for Edinburgh castle tickets are £18.50 on site, but online you can buy them for £17.00 in advance. Not much of a saving, but worth noting! April prices increase to £19.50 on site, and £17.50 online advance. Don’t let the price put you off, however. No trip to Edinburgh is complete without a trip to the historic fortress.
On a clear day, the free vantage points in the courtyard show you just how high you are. You would be able to see far and wide, over the rooftops of buildings and apartments. Only on our day, we could only see so far, but the snow added that wonderful charm.
The castle is accessed by the royal mile, where you will find many pubs and tartan shops. It’s a tourist hotspot, naturally, but you can absorb the architecture of Edinburgh, and see why it’s known as ‘the old town’.
So, what’s inside the castle?
Well, naturally, there are tales of family life throughout the castle’s existence. You can read about the royal’s that inhabited the castle, and visit rooms such as the great hall, and even a room that was revamped for only one royal visit.
Inside the castle is also The Stone of Destiny. This was returned to Scotland, and is a stone that has been used for centuries in the coronation of monarchs of Scotland. The Stone of Destiny sits alongside the Scottish Crown Jewels, in a room where photos are not allowed.
Another selling point of Edinburgh Castle is the ability to visit the actual room where Mary, Queen of Scots son was born, James VI. The room is quite small, but holds an impactful tale. It’s also a fun fact to read about rumours that James was gay – something scandalous back in those times!
A dog cemetery is at the castle. These are dogs that belonged to soldiers, who have been given a royal burial. For fans of Pet Sematary, it may be a little eerie!
Wherever you go in Old Town Edinburgh, the castle towers above you. It really does give a sense of what times may have been like back then, where royalty could look down and see life below them, and where they could be aware of any impending siege.
A must visit!