Standing tall above the cobbled streets of the Scottish capital city is Edinburgh Castle. Trek up the hill to see one of the UK's most impressive castles.
What you need to know about Edinburgh Castle
City: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Access: The cost of an entry ticket to Edinburgh Castle is £18.50 for adults, with cheaper tickets available for children and seniors.
Fact: Edinburgh Castle can be seen for miles thanks to its position atop a volcanic rocky position known as Castle Rock. The rock that forms the castle's foundation is actually an inactive & totally extinct volcano.
Edinburgh Castle is the city's most popular sight to see
It is unsurprising that Edinburgh Castle is the most visited tourist attraction in both Edinburgh and the whole of Scotland. Especially in summer when the weather is decidedly less frightful, visitors will travel to the Scottish capital in their thousands. Most will want to visit the city's main iconic attraction when creating their list of things to do in Edinburgh.
You won't need to queue endlessly like other famous European attractions like the Louvre Museum in Paris for example, but you should expect to have both random travellers and tour groups arriving at the castle when you do. Over one million people visit the castle every year.
To make sure you have a great visit it is worth considering a few of the tips laid out in the guide below, as well as absorbing some of the snippets of history so you're armed appropriately with knowledge when storming the castle walls.
Edinburgh Castle has seen much bloodshed and conflict
The building of Edinburgh Castle took place in the twelfth century as a fortification for the surrounding area and also as a way to control Scotland overall. The occupiers of the castle after all inherently controlled the key military position to control the entirety of Scotland.
Over the next few hundred years the castle would be fairly consistently under siege as the Scots and the armies of the English from the South traded blows and battled over the de facto seat of power in Scotland.
Peace has returned so the crown jewels rest easy
As you walk around the many rooms of Edinburgh Castle you will feel the typical modern-day serenity commonplace in historical buildings. This chilled, peaceful vibe makes the castle the perfect place to house and display the Crown Jewels of Scotland.
The Crown Jewels comprise the sword, sceptre and crown that were used during the coronation of Scottish monarchs. The addition of the Stone of Destiny that has been repatriated from London completes the set of coronation regalia and ceremonial items; monarchs would traditionally stand on the stone while being anointed the ruler of Scotland.
Lots of varied rooms and highlights to see while you visit
The Crown Jewels are understandably a draw for visitors but there are other things that you will be sure to want to check out while you visit.
The Royal Apartments are a series of impressive rooms with the private chambers of Queen Mary being a particular highlight. James VI of Scotland was born in this room in 1566, with the famous son of Mary Queen of Scots going on to become King of England. While reigning over the English and Irish territories he was known as James I until his death I 1625.
A visit to the regal banquet halls known simply as the Great Hall will give you an idea of the size of the parties, feasts and events held by the Scottish rulers of centuries ago. Armour an various swords and weapons adorn the walls and the vaulted ceiling is a stunning example of building techniques of yesteryear. It is a seriously impressive room.
There is a poignant memorial to the fallen soldiers of Scotland who lost their lives in World War I and II. It will not take long to visit the Scottish National War Memorial but visiting it is a nice way to spend a few minutes to to pay tribute to those who who fell in the biggest conflicts of the twentieth century.
A romanesque building standing in the grounds has stood the test of time and is in fact the oldest building in Edinburgh. Constructed in the twelfth century, St Margaret's Chapel is a beautiful, quiet chapel that unassumingly remains as a sacred spot within the walls of Edinburgh Castle.
They say size doesn't matter but try telling that to Mons Meg. The frankly insanely large cannon can fire a cannon ball for over two miles. This is even more impressive when you take into account that its giant cannon balls weigh 330 pounds each!
The view is to die for when you reach the top and can stand atop the walls of Edinburgh Castle. You will be able to see for miles and check out the entirety of the city below you. Totally worth the trek up the hill.
Now about that hill.... the fact is that Edinburgh Castle is 250 metres above the city so you can expect some old, cobbled streets to navigate below and then a bit of a schlep up the hill to get to the top. After all that effort (Globedge disclosure: it's not a hard walk at all to be honest) the last thing you'll want to do is queue so minimise your waiting time by booking your tickets online in advance.