Edinburgh Castle sits atop castle rock at the West end of the Royal Mile and dominates the city. It consistently ranks as the number one paid visitor attraction in Scotland. Pictures of the castle have become the iconic tourist view of Edinburgh and the One o'Clock Gun can be heard throughout the city on weekdays.
In 2015 the castle was Scotland's top visitor attraction with over one and a half million visitors.
The history of Edinburgh Castle stretches back to around 600 AD when it was the site of a small hill fort. This was called "Din Eidyn", a name usually translated as "the fort on the rock" or simply "Eidyn's Fort". The main castle was first built in the early 12th century and included St Margaret's Chapel. This small, simple stone building remains today as the oldest part of the Castle - and the oldest building in Edinburgh.
For many centuries the castle was a focus of battles, often between the English and the Scots. The building changed hands many times as well as being subject to siege, destruction, reinforcement and restoration.
Edinburgh Castle today is run by Historic Scotland and is one of the city's major tourist attractions, receiving over a million visitors a year. It's a fascinating place to visit at any time and - if the weather permits - can provide superb views of Edinburgh and surrounding areas. On special occasions such as Hogmanay it provides a spectacular drop for firework displays - fireworks over Edinburgh and down the side of castle rock are an amazing sight.
The Castle is also today the venue for the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo and houses the Scottish National War Memorial on the site of the old St Mary's Church. Also on display are the Honours of Scotland.
Times and Prices
Edinburgh Castle is open 7 days a week except for Christmas and New Year holidays or during special events. Between October and March it closes at 5pm, between April and September it closes at 6pm. Individual museums and other areas inside the castle may have their own opening hours. Last entry is an hour before closing.
The castle is a paid attraction. At the time of writing (April 2015) the standard ticket costs £16.50 for an adult (concessions £13.20) and £9.90 for a child. To avoid lengthy queueing the castle recommends that you book online in advance.
The last ticket is sold on the door one hour before closing time. But be careful - during peak summer months you may have to queue for an hour or more before you get to the ticket booth.
This page last updated: 9-10-2016
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