Edinburgh Castle sits 430 feet (130 meters) above sea level on the summit of Castle Rock, a volcanic plug in the center of Edinburgh. Easy to spot from almost anywhere in town, the castle and rock are an arresting sight, and the top of the rock affords sweeping city views.
The strategic advantages of positioning the fortress on the rock’s summit become obvious when you reach the top. Castle Rock has more than just a castle, though. As you walk through the Entrance Gateway, you’ll see statues of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. At the summit you’ll find the Scottish National War Memorial, St. Margaret's Chapel, and Mons Meg, a giant 15th-century siege gun.
Inside the castle complex, check out the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny in the Royal Palace; in the Royal Apartments, visit the bedroom where Mary, Queen of Scots, birthed her son, James VI. As Edinburgh Castle is a popular attraction, buy your ticket in advance to save time and skip the entry line.
Things to Know Before You Go
Castle Rock is a must-see for travelers interested in Scottish history.
The path up is steep, uneven, and therefore unsuitable for those with mobility issues.
The Royal Palace and Apartments aren’t accessible to wheelchairs.
Visitors unable to manage the steep slopes can take a vehicle from the esplanade to Crown Square.
Free guided tours are offered throughout the day, and audio guides are available for rent.
The site has a café and gift shop.
How to Get There
Castle Rock is around a 10-minute walk from Waverley railway station, and travelers typically approach by walking along the gradually inclining Royal Mile. The nearest bus stop is Mound Place (on routes 23, 27, 41, 42, and 67), about a 3-minute walk from the castle esplanade.
When to Get There
Edinburgh Castle is open daily from 9:30am to 5 or 6pm, depending on the season. Last entry is an hour before closing. Arrive early for fewer crowds, allowing around two hours for your visit.
The One O’Clock Gun
At the far end of Mills Mount Battery, near the entrance to the castle grounds, is the famed One O’Clock Gun. Every day (except Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day) at precisely 1pm, a World War I–era towed howitzer is fired by the District Gunner from the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery. You can hear the time marker all over the city center, and watching the ceremony on Castle Rock is a popular tourist attraction.
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