Edinburgh Castle

Things to do in Edinburgh | Edinburgh Castle

Dominating the skyline and protecting the city for over 700 hundred years, Edinburgh Castle is a must see. Discover Scotland’s royal and military heritage on a trip to this historic fortress.

People have lived on Castle Rock, since the Iron Age but the first royal castle was built on the rock during the 12th century reign of David I. From the 15th century onwards the castle was used less and less as a residence for the royals and by the 17th century it was transformed into military barracks. As one of the most important strongholds in Scotland, Edinburgh Castle has been involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence to the Jacobite Rising. Some even claim that it’s the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Essential information

Make sure you’re ready to make the most of Edinburgh Castle’s grounds and buildings.

Take a tour of the Royal Palace, see the Stone of Destiny, find a place of peace and prayer in St Margaret’s Chapel, discover 400 years of history in the National War Museum. There’s plenty to see and do at Edinburgh Castle. With so much to fit in, you can tailor your visit based on the time of day or your interests with itineraries available on the Edinburgh Castle website.

With tours, audio guides in eight languages and three gift shops, you’ll be taking home plenty of knowledge and souvenirs from your visit. There are lots of toilets in the grounds, but there’s no storage facilities, so travel light.

Sitting on top of a steep hill, the Castle may present access difficulties. However, there are disabled parking spaces which can be booked in advance and carers accompanying visitors with disabilities receive free admission.

Eating and drinking

Looking for somewhere to take a break from exploring Edinburgh Castle? There are plenty of restaurants, cafés are bars to choose from.

If you want to take a break from exploring Edinburgh’s royal heritage, there are two options at the castle. The Redcoat Café offers hot meals and sandwiches, while the Queen Anne Tea Room is great for lunches, afternoon teas and cakes.

If you head into Edinburgh you’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs to choose from. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, head to the award winning Castle Terrace Restaurant for the finest produce in Scotland.

Getting to Edinburgh Castle

Set in the heart of Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh Castle is close to lots of transport options.

By car
If you’re driving to the castle, head to the NCP's Edinburgh Castle Terrace car park. It’s the closest parking spot at just 10 minute walk away and you can get a discounted price (£10 for 2-12 hours) at the ticket booth.

By bus
There are plenty of bus routes running through the city centre. Take the 24 from Waverley Bridge to Lawnmarket and then round Johnstone Terrace for a short walk to the castle.

By train
The castle can be seen as you exit Waverley station. If you head onto Princes Street you’ll have a 15 minute stroll up to the castle esplanade.

Looking for a hotel in Edinburgh?

Whether you're staying in Edinburgh city centre, next to Edinburgh Castle, around Princes Street, or on the outskirts of town, we have the right hotel for you. Flying in on business and we've hotels next to Edinburgh Airport. Looking for a family-friendly hotel for a weekend break and we have those aswell.