Edinburgh Castle stands on volcanic rock high above the city and has a history going back over 2000 years, making it a ‘must see’ for our long May Day weekend in Edinburgh.
We approached the castle from the Royal Mile walking up and up the hill with the daunting castle in view. We arrived before 10am just in time for a leisurely look around. We were greeted by a large portcullis entrance way and proceeded up cobbled pathways and climbed the steps to the battlement walls.
Image taken from http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/
Along the battlement walls are huge cannons pointing outwards towards the city. Mons Meg is a giant siege gun presented to James II in 1457 and used in war against the English.
A gun is fired from the battlement every day at one o’clock; a tradition started in June 7th 1861 and continued ever since except for the two world wars (and Sundays)
St Margaret’s Chapel is an oasis of calm among the guns, battlements and military museums. The chapel is the oldest building in Edinburgh, dating from 1130 and is a small peaceful chapel designed for contemplation
Our next stop was to see Scotland’s Crown Jewels housed together with the sceptre and sword of state and the controversial Stone of Destiny which still plays a role in all British coronations.
This led to the Royal Palace, first we saw a tiny room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI of Scotland in 1566 (he became James I of England in 1603) and then Great Hall and grand rooms with huge fireplaces.
We had a break of morning tea at about 11.30am in a lovely café in the castle battlements with wonderful views over the city.
Edinburgh Castle is a museum of museums (or whatever the name is for a collection of museums) with so much to see and such amazing rock, stone, ancient stained glass, gargoyles and ancient history at every turn.
Scottish military history is visible throughout the castle (not surprising given its history as a fortress) with several regimental museums and the Scottish National War museum portraying over 400 years of Scottish military experience.
After visiting the war museum we waited for the one o’clock gun to be fired and then headed off for lunch at the delightful Witcheries restaurant just below the castle.
Queues for entry were beginning to build up as we left. They were all in for a treat, what a stunning castle!
Location: Castlehill Edinburgh, Midlothian EH1 2NG
Entry Fee: £14.50 adult, £8.60 child