Visiting the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland is considered a ‘Must-do’ whilst in town.
The World Heritage Site sure has a lot to offer with the crown jewels, centuries of history and stunning views of the city.
Below is my guide to the Castle of Edinburgh with pictures and tips to hemp you plan your visit.
Before my tips + photos, here are my favorites for Scotland:
My favorite platform to rent a car in Scotland: DiscoverCars
The unmissable boat tour: Seal spotting on Loch Linnhe from Fort William
My favorite excursion from Edinburgh: Glenfinnan and Glencoe
Why should you visit Edinburgh Castle in Scotland?
The Edinburgh Castle is not what you traditionally think is a castle.
It is more a medieval fortress at the top of the hill, with a surrounding wall and several buildings. Actually, it is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe.
It has had a rich history worth discovering.
Video – virtual tour
Below a short video to give you an idea of what your visit could look like. Get a virtual tour (where it was allowed to film)!
The caste is one of the Top touristic attractions in Edinburgh and one of the best castles in Scotland.
“However, the Castle of Edinburgh is not for everyone : between the crowds, the price and the steep hill to get there, you should read the article to decide if you really want to see it.
More photos after the planning tips.
PLANNING TIPS – Edinburgh Castle Scotland
How to get the Edinburgh Castle – Access
- You cannot miss it; the fortress is on the hill in the middle of the city.
- You can walk the Royal Mile up to the castle entry or use the stairs on the side of the hill.
- Edinburgh Castle Parking: There is a parking at the bottom of the hill on the left side of the Royal Mile when facing the castle. However, considering the limited parking place in the city a lot of locals are using it and it gets full very quickly
- It is best to leave the car on the outskirts of the city and use public transportation or hop on hop off busses
Planning a trip to Scotland? The castle is included in both my eBooks:
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- 15 easy-to-plan maps
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- Useful planning tips
- 170+ large photos
- 8 easy-to-plan maps
- 60+ pre-selected locations
- Useful planning tips
- 115+ large photos
- GPS coordinates
- Edinburgh Castle prices: £17.50 – it is recommended to book in advance on their website
- Edinburgh Castle Opening times: 9:30am to 6pm from 25 Mar to 30 sept – 9:30am to 5pm in Winter – last ticket sold 1 hour before closing time
- Latest price and opening hours on the official website
- Queues can be long – you can also book a Guided tour that will allow you to skip the line – see details and book
- Plan at least 2 hours to visit the place
- Several bathrooms and cafés on site
Best time to visit the Edinburgh Castle Scotland
This is one of the most visited places in Scotland. So there is no really a good time…
Of course early morning, you will get less crowds.
Accommodations in Edinburgh
Check out the best rated accommodation in Edinburgh
or find suggestions in my article about where to stay in Scotland
Views of Edinburgh Castle – Pictures
Let’s start by giving you an overview of the fortress.
Photo of Edinburgh Castle from the walk from Princes Street Garden
Let’s start by my favorite view of Edinburgh. Get down inside the Garden on Princes Street. From this angle is looks less like a fortress as you see several buildings.
I love the combination of nature and history. And you can clearly see the Edinburgh castle hill.
View from the walk from the Castle parking
Below is a picture of the Edinburgh castle as you walk towards it from the carpark. From this side, you have a great view of the wall and see how well protected it is with the steep cliff under it.
Edinburgh Castle photo from the walk up to Calton Hill
Image of Edinburgh Castle from the top Edinburgh Calton Hill
And below is the view you get once your reach the top of Calton Hill. The castle is in the distance. It is a beautiful place for sunset – Check out my article.
From Princes Street:
How to get to Edinburgh Castle
Accessing Edinburgh Castle is not easy. You may be tired before starting the visit. There is no way to reach the entrance with transportation, you will have to walk uphill.
I think the easiest way is to get to a stop at the top of the Royal Mile and walk from there.
if you pick the castle stops on the Hop on hop off tours, then you have a lot of steps ahead of you as the stop is on the side of the castle.
Lower Level of Edinburgh Castle Scotland – pictures
After entering the Castle, you can enjoy the Lower level with cafés and nice views of the city (photos later in the article)
This little square was one of my favorites, it was down on the right when walking the main street up to the castle.
Photos from inside Edinburgh Castle – Upper Level
Most of the highlights are in the upper part of the fortress (yes more walking uphill…)
From there you can see the external part of the stronghold and enter the square with all the main buildings where royals used to live.
This canon is called Mons Meg and weighs 6 tons!!!! At the time it required 100 men to be moved.
Monuments to visit inside the Castle of Edinburgh
Below are the monuments you can visit in Edinburgh Castle Scotland.
St Margaret Chapel
The chapel was built around 1130 and dedicated to Saint Queen Margaret who lived in the castle in the late 1000s. The monument is quite simple, but the stained glass is stunning.
Scottish national War memorial
The Edinburgh Castle is also home to the Scottish national war memorial.
Inside the buildings you can discover the Great Hall, a large room with sculpted woods and many weapons displayed.
Scottish Crown Jewels
The Scottish Crown Jewels are also in display in the castle. They include the crown, scepter and sword used in the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots in 1543. No photos allowed inside.
Narrow steps to get to the display room.
The Royal Apartments
You can also see several rooms of the Royal apartments. However, after visiting many castles in Scotland and in France, I found those rooms not really fascinating.
Views from Edinburgh Castle Hill
One of the best things about visiting the Edinburgh Castle Scotland, is that you are on a hill in the middle of the city. So, you can get really nice views of the surroundings. However, I must admit that I preferred the views from Calton Hill.
Other great things to do in Edinburgh
- The Royal Mile – Read article
- The St Giles Cathedral – Read article
- Calton Hill and its views – Read article
- Or check out my complete article with the best things to do in Edinburgh
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