Edinburgh Castle Tour

Highlights of a tour of Edinburgh Castle

The most popular way of touring Edinburgh Castle is to simply wander around and explore the fortress. Alternatively, you can buy the printed Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour and use the map inside to follow the suggested itinerary. You can buy tickets for Edinburgh Castle online (for fast track entry).

Fast Track Entry to Edinburgh Castle:
Avoid queuing, buy Edinburgh Castle tickets online at no extra cost.

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The printed tour guide

The Tour Guide booklet has a map of Edinburgh Castle with 26 plaques marking the most significant places of interest. Every page of the guide has drawings and in depth descriptions of every attraction associated with the plaques.

The suggested tour starts at the Gatehouse and passes through the Lower and Middle Wards to the Upper Ward and Crown Square. There are many things of interest along the way and exploring the castle in detail takes at least a few hours.

An alternative to using the printed tour guide is the audio tour you can hire -- available in six languages -- or the escorted tours provided by Edinburgh Castle stewards.

All audio and printed tour guides can be bought upon entering the castle.

Top things to see when touring Edinburgh Castle

Whether or not you have the time or patience to take a detailed tour of the Castle, the following are my list of best things to see in Edinburgh Castle.

The Honours of Scotland

The Sword, Crown and Sceptre are the oldest regalia in the United Kingdom. The Honours of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny can be seen in the Royal Palace, in the Crown Square.

Scottish National War Memorial

The Scottish National War Memorial is an emotional part of Edinburgh Castle. Built shortly after the First World War, it now contains records of every single Scot who perished in the 20th century wars.

Argyle Battery

The six guns were once the main artillery defence on the south side of the Castle. Now, they are six guns that can add greatly to a picture if you're interested in photography. But more importantly, it's great fun for kids who want to ride a cannon.

St. Margaret's Chapel

The chapel is the oldest structure surviving from the old castle and it is nearly 900 years old. Located in the Upper Ward, St. Margaret's chapel is a good vantage point and well worth a visit.

The Dog Cemetery

Possibly the most touching aspect of Edinburgh Castle is the soldiers' dog cemetery. The cemetery is a small garden used as a burial place for officer's pet dogs and regimental mascots.

Castle views of Edinburgh

The Castle is an outstanding vantage point. The amazing all-around views of Edinburgh and its skyline are an important part of any Edinburgh Castle tour. The best views are from the Castle's Middle and Upper Ward. Looking right to left you see:

  • Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags, part of the Old Town and North Bridge.
  • Waverley train station and the rail tracks.
  • The Balmoral Hotel and the East End of Edinburgh's main street, Princes Street.
  • Old Waverley Hotel and North British Hotel along with Scott Monument and every shop on Princes Street.
  • The Princes Street Gardens -- West and East -- with the Ross Band Stand where concerts and summer events are often staged.
  • The National Galleries of Scotland and the Mound, the street leading to the former Scottish Parliament.
  • Some of Edinburgh's skyline spires such as St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Cuthbert's Church.
  • In the distance you see the Firth of Forth and Inchkeith Island. On a clear day you can even see across the Forth, to Fife.

Edinburgh Castle More information on Scotland's number one visitor attractions.

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