One of the highlights of our trip to Edinburgh was our visit to Edinburgh Castle. We’ve always enjoyed exploring castles, but Edinburgh Castle has always been The One we’ve wanted to visit. It’s not surprising really.
Dating back to the Iron Age, Edinburgh Castle has been a Royal Residence, a Fortress and a Prison. It’s been home to Kings and Queens, as well as the military. It’s rich in history, not to mention 360 degree views! Situated on top of an old Volcanic rock, Edinburgh Castle has been involved in dozens of historical conflicts. Human occupation dates back to The Iron age, although the nature of early settlement is still unclear.
Knowing this alone makes Edinburgh Castle a fascinating and must-see attraction when you visit, but if you’d like to know more about our visit read on!
We saved our visit for the last day of our trip as a full visit is not something we’d want to squeeze into a morning. Plus, we didn’t want to peak too soon and tire ourselves out before we’d even started!
A Volcanic Castle!
Being on top of a Volcano, you first start your tour by walking up to Edinburgh Castle. Although walking from The Royal Mile allows you to really soak it in, there are other access options available. If you do decide to walk, there are tons of interesting shops and smaller museums on the way to the top. More access information about getting to and touring the castle can be found here.
Once you arrive at the castle summit, you’re presented with a full eye full of the castle. It’s not hard to miss it when walking around the rest of Edinburgh, but this is where you’ll see it in all its glory. If you need a break from it though, you also have a wonderful selection of views to choose from across the esplanade!
Once you’re through, the climb continues. Although it’s not as steep as The Royal Mile walk, the cobbles do continue! If you need or would like an audio guide or tour book, you can collect these before your tour as well as visit the gift shop (although we always keep this until the end of any visit).
Take Your Time and Enjoy!
To begin exploring, simply make your way under the Port Cullis and follow your nose. At the time of writing, guided tours are currently closed, however just roaming by yourself and taking advantage of all the signs and information boards will still allow you to learn a lot about the castle. It also means you can take the castle at your own pace.
We started our journey at the National War Museum (coming back to the One O’clock gun later!) and made our way almost anti-clockwise. We visited the Prisons of War, Moons Meg, St. Margaret’s Chapel, the Half Moon Battery, the Crown Rooms (including The Stone of Destiny) and so much more! We easily spent most of the morning and into lunchtime walking around Edinburgh Castle, and that’s without visiting some of the other exhibits that are currently closed due to the pandemic. When you’re not inside, there’s lots of space for children to run around in – although some locations (for example, around the Pet Cemetery area) can get a bit busy! This does mean, though, that time just slips away. Especially, if like me, you’re constantly stopping to look at the views!
It goes without saying that until you reach the peak, you’re often walking uphill whilst touring the castle, and some exhibits are stair-only accessed, so this may cause issues for some. Edinburgh castle has, however, shared more information about visiting the site here. This includes information on the terrain around the castle as well as visiting the castle if you’re Autistic.
Planning your visit…
To plan your visit further, there’s a decent size cafe on site with plenty of seating inside and outside (and toilets!). There are also several benches and spaces to sit down dotted throughout the castle grounds. Lunch was planned for when we’d finished our tour, but that didn’t mean we didn’t stop for coffee and snacks. We certainly needed the energy!
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the castle, and we were so glad we left it until our last day. There was so much to see and explore that we were truly exhausted after. That being said, we can’t wait to visit again – especially when live performances and guided tours are back in action!
If you’ve been to Edinburgh Castle, what are your favourite places to visit? Any hints and tips?
We were given complimentary tickets in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and imagery are our own.