Edinburgh Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland. Perched on top of an extinct volcano, it overlooks the city of Edinburgh and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. This castle has been a royal residence and military fortress for centuries and is steeped in history. With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan your visit. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know to make the most of your trip to Edinburgh Castle.
The One O’Clock Gun
The One O’Clock Gun is a tradition that dates back to 1861 when a time signal was needed for ships in the Firth of Forth. Today, the gun is fired every day at 1 pm except for Sundays, Christmas Day, and Good Friday. You can watch the firing of the gun from Mills Mount Battery, which offers a stunning view of Edinburgh and the surrounding area.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a spectacular event that takes place every August. The event is a celebration of Scottish military history and features performances by military bands and dancers from around the world. The tattoo takes place on the castle esplanade, and tickets can be purchased in advance online.
The Crown Jewels
The Crown Jewels are one of the highlights of any visit to Edinburgh Castle. The collection includes the Scottish Crown Jewels, which date back to the 15th century and were used in the coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots. The crown, scepter, and sword of state are all on display, along with the famous Stone of Destiny, which has been used in the coronation of Scottish kings and queens for centuries.
The Great Hall
The Great Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Edinburgh Castle and is a must-see for anyone interested in Scottish history. The hall was built in the 15th century and was once used for banquets and other royal events. Today, it houses a collection of weapons and armor, including the famous suit of armor worn by James IV at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.
For a unique and memorable experience, consider taking a guided tour of the castle at night. The castle offers special after-hours tours that allow visitors to explore the castle after the crowds have gone home. The tours are led by expert guides who will provide you with a fascinating insight into the history of the castle and its occupants. You’ll also have the opportunity to see parts of the castle that are not open to the public during the day.
The Real Mary King’s Close
The Real Mary King’s Close is a hidden underground street in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. This unique attraction offers visitors a glimpse into what life was like in Edinburgh during the 17th century. The street was buried under the city for centuries; today, it has been restored to its former glory. Visitors can explore the narrow alleys and rooms that were once home to some of Edinburgh’s poorest residents.
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions is a fun and interactive attraction that offers visitors a unique perspective on the world around us. The attraction features a series of exhibits and illusions that challenge our perception of reality. The highlight of the attraction is the Camera Obscura, which offers stunning panoramic views of Edinburgh from a rooftop tower. Visitors can also explore the Mirror Maze, the Vortex Tunnel, and other interactive exhibits.
High Street Hostel is a budget-friendly option located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, just a few steps away from Edinburgh Castle. The hostel offers both dormitory-style and private rooms, making it a great choice for solo travelers or groups. The rooms are simple but comfortable, and the hostel has a communal kitchen and lounge area where guests can socialize and relax.
Grassmarket Hotel is a stylish and modern hotel located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Grassmarket neighborhood, just a short walk from Edinburgh Castle. The hotel offers a range of room types, from compact doubles to spacious suites, and all rooms feature modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also has a cozy bar and restaurant that serves delicious Scottish cuisine.
The Balmoral Hotel is a luxurious five-star hotel located in the heart of Edinburgh’s city center, just a few steps away from Edinburgh Castle. The hotel features elegant and spacious rooms and suites, each with its own unique decor and luxurious amenities. Guests can enjoy fine dining at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, indulge in a spa treatment at the hotel’s award-winning spa, or relax in the hotel’s stylish bar and lounge area.
The Witchery by the Castle is a unique and opulent hotel located in a historic 16th-century building just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle. The hotel features nine sumptuous suites, each with its own unique decor and luxurious amenities such as four-poster beds and deep-soaking tubs. Guests can dine at the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant, which serves delicious Scottish cuisine in a romantic and atmospheric setting. The Witchery by the Castle is the ultimate choice for a truly luxurious and unforgettable stay in Edinburgh.
In conclusion, Edinburgh is a city full of history, natural beauty, and unique attractions. From exploring the iconic Edinburgh Castle to delving into the underground streets of The Real Mary King’s Close, there is no shortage of fascinating things to do and see in this Scottish gem. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into Edinburgh’s top destinations, outdoor activities, accommodations, and off-the-beaten-path attractions. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Edinburgh is a city that is sure to leave a lasting impression on you. Plan your trip now and discover all that this vibrant city has to offer!