Panorama showing the approach and front of Edinburgh Castle. This picture was taken in May 2009 when preparations were being made for an event on the Castle Esplanade. The terraces of seating obscure the usual stunning view from here over Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Castle - Edinburgh visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Edinburgh Castle' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Lothian.
Edinburgh Castle is the top tourist attraction in Edinburgh, with over 1.2 million visitors a year. The castle stands on the top of Castle Rock, an ancient basalt volcanic plug which has been settled on by humans since the 9th century BC. A royal castle has stood on the site since King David I in the 12th century. Due to its commanding position, Edinburgh Castle has played a pivitol role in the development of Edinburgh and the history of Scotland throughout the centuries.
A visit to the castle is likely to take over 2 hours. Tickets can be brought in advance and this is recommended to avoid the (sometimes very) long queues. The castle contains numerous museums, the Honours of Scotland, Scottish National War Memorial, and various palace rooms and halls. All of these are covered by the entrance fee. It is maintained by Historic Scotland, and Historic Scotland Members get free entrance to it and about 70 other paying sites in Scotland.
Virtual Tour and Highlights of Edinburgh Castle
Below are some of the highlights of a visit to Edinburgh Castle. The top attractions are easily the Honours of Scotland and the Scottish National War Memorial. Links lead from these to various 360° panoramas taken around the castle where available.
Lower Ward: The Lower Ward contains the castle offices contained in the 1888 Gate House, ticket office, information center, castle shop and toilets. Audio and book guides to the castle are available from the ticket office, and guided tours given by the Castle Stewards depart from here. After the ticket office visitors approach Argyle Tower and Portcullis Gate, where tickets are checked.
Middle Ward: Pass under Argyle Tower and Castle Portcullis Gate to enter the Middle Ward. This takes you to a plaza lined by the Argyle Battery, where 6 canons look out over Edinburgh. To the right of these is a great panoramic viewpoint over Edinburgh from the castle walls, and to the left is the One o'clock Gun. From here are two paths. One leads to the left of a restaurant to a courtyard containing the National War Museum and, from the far wall, the West Panorama viewpoint.
The other path curves round past the Governors House, New Barracks, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum, Royal Scots Regimental Museum and Military Prison and Dury's Battery to Foog's Gate, the entrance to the Upper Ward. Those wanting a shortcut to the Upper Ward can use Lang Stairs, which ascend beside Argyle Tower and the Dog Cemetery to the Forewall Battery.
Upper Ward: The Upper Ward occupies the highest ground of the castle. On passing through Foog's Gate visitors see the rear of the Scottish National War Memorial on the right and ahead are the 5 canons of the Forewall Battery. To the right of the battery some stairs lead up to Mons Meg, a 15th century siege gun, and St Margaret's Chapel. To the left of the Forewall Battery is David's Tower, where the Honours of Scotland were buried during WWII to prevent them falling into German hands in case of invasion, and the Half Moon Battery.
Crown Square: A path leads from near the Half Moon Batter into Crown Square, the center of the Castle Citadel. The square is surrounded by the most important buildings of the castle, including the Scottish National War Memorial and the Royal Palace, which houses the Honours of Scotland (Scottish Crown Jewels), Birthing Room of King James I and Laich Hall. On the southern side of the square is the Great Hall which contains displays of swords and other weaponry. To the west is the Queen Anne building and the entrace to the Prisons of War exhibition, toilets and a cafe.
Edinburgh Castle Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NG
TRAVEL DIRECTIONS AND GETTING THERE
Bus: 24 to Lawnmarket. Walk: Edinburgh Castle is at the western end of the Royal Mile, which leads down east to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament. This is about 15 minutes walk from Waverley Station and the Tourist Information Centre.