Edinburgh Castle is best known and the most visited
of our historic buildings. Perched on an extinct volcano the castle
has stunning views, over Edinburgh. This is a powerful national
symbol, and part of Edinburgh's World Heritage site.
Apart from being a mightly fortification, it was also the royal
residence of Scotland's kings and queens. Since the Royal Bronze
Age it has witnessed much of the nations rich past including the
birth of Mary Queen of Scots only child - James VI, who united
the crowns of Scotland and England - to Cromwell's Roundheads and
the Jacobite Risings.
An eclectic mix of Architectural styles reflects the castle's
complex history and the role as both stronghold and seat of kings.
The tiny St Margaret Chapel, Edinburgh's oldest building, dates
from the 1100's; Crown Sqaure, the Principal courtyard, was developed
in the 15th century; the Great Hall with its impressive hammerbeam
roof was built by James IV, and the Scottish National War Memorial
was added after the First World War.
For visitor's today, the castle has a wealth of attractions to
explore. The Prisoners of War experience explains how the Castle
was a prison for sailors from many countries in the 18th and 19th
centuries, including crewmen who sailed with John Paul Jones, founder
of the American Navy. Their graffiti, hand-made ships and other
items are on display at the end of a capivating tour that recreates
the sights and sounds of these prison vaults.
The magnificent Laich Hall; the National War Museum of Scotland;
The 'Honours of the Kingdom' exhibition telling the story of Scotland
Crown Jewels -saved from Cromwell to become some of the oldest
surviving regalia in Europe; the Stone of Density - taken to Westminster
Abbey in 1926 and returned to Scotland 700 years later; the One
O'Clock Gun and a display on the history of time guns and timekeeping;
and the giant medieval siege cannon Mons Meg, once again standing
proudly on the castle ramparts.
Guided tours are available, with the hire of an audio guide in
six languages. As well as gift and book shops, the Crown Jewel
shop offers exclusive, specially designed jewellery and other unique
gifts. Visitors may wish to take a break in the castle's cafe.
A courtesy vehicle for visitors with a disability ( sponsored by
the Bank of Scotland) is available from the esplanade.
The Castle is also the venue for the world famous Edinburgh Military
Tattoo, which is held in August each year.