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What’s inside Edinburgh Castle – must see attractions of the Castle


Over 2 million visitors enter Edinburgh Castle annually, making it Scotland’s most visited tourist attraction.

It is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe, with a rich 900-year-long history as a royal residence, military garrison, prison, and fortress. It now serves as a popular tourist attraction and event venue.

Edinburgh Castle is fascinating for anyone interested in Scottish history, architecture, and culture.

Being a perfect family outing, most visitors want to know what to expect at Edinburgh Castle before planning their trip.

In this article, we share what you will find inside the Scottish Castle.

Exploring Edinburgh Castle

Tourists can explore the interiors of Edinburgh Castle in three ways: a self-guided tour, a guided tour, or a private tour.

Tour Cost Our remarks
Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour w/ Fast-Track Entry £34 Most preferred
Skip-the-Line Walking Tour £34 Cheapest tour possible
Guided tour £42 Most value for money
Private Guided Walking Tour £550* Royal treatment
Harry Potter Tour with Entry to Edinburgh Castle £75 Entertainment
*For up to five people

Duration of the visit

Even though Edinburgh Castle is one of the top ten largest castles globally, it takes little time to go around and explore the castle.

If you buy your tickets in advance and don’t waste time standing at the ticketing counter, you can explore Edinburgh Castle in two hours. 

Visitors who love their own pace are known to start early, take up to 3 hours to see the Castle’s highlights, and then witness the One o’clock gun at 1 pm to finish their tour with a bang.

Audio Guide

If you don’t plan to book a guided tour of the Castle, we suggest you opt for the audio guide.

The audio guide is available for rent at the entrance and is a great way to explore the numerous attractions inside Edinburgh Castle.

It costs £3.50 for adults and £1.50 for kids up to 15 years.

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What to see at Edinburgh Castle

The Castle gets crowded, especially during the summer months.

Knowing the must-see attractions at the 12th century Edinburgh Castle helps you avoid the crowd and plan your visit better.

Fight for the Castle Exhibition

Fight for Edinburgh Castle
A visitor explores the Fight for Edinburgh Castle exhibition. Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

This Exhibition narrates the fight between the Scots and the English to control Edinburgh Castle.

Here, you see animated episodes, immersive projections, and medieval objects dug up from within the Castle.

The vaulted chamber has a massive Trebuchet, and by its side, you will see a stone ball fired at the Castle during the siege of 1296.

Location: In Argyle Tower, midway up the Lang Stairs.

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Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle

The Great Hall was built in 1511 to host state ceremonies for King James IV. 

Don’t miss out on the hammer-beam roof, the carvings on the stones holding the roof, the weapons, shields, etc., which are on display. 

Location: In Crown Square, in the very heart of the Castle. 

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The Royal Palace

Kings and queens lived in the comfort of the Royal Palace. 

The Palace took a battering during the Lang Seige but was remodeled again in 1617.

The Crown Room of the Palace hosts the Regalia of Scotland, the Scottish Crown Jewels, and the Stone of Destiny.

Location: The Royal Palace is in Crown Square.

Before making a purchase, learn everything about Edinburgh Castle tickets.

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Edinburgh Castle’s Stone of Destiny

Edinburgh Castle's Stone of Destiny
Edinburgh Castle’s Stone of Destiny. Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

The Stone of Destiny was seen as a sacred object and has been used during the inauguration of Scottish kings since ancient times. 

In 1296, King Edward I of England seized the stone from the Scots, which was used in the coronation ceremonies of the monarchs of England and then Great Britain.

Location: The stone is on display with the Crown Jewels in the Royal Palace.

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Edinburgh Castle’s Crown Jewels

Edinburgh Castle's Crown Jewels
Edinburgh Castle’s Crown Jewels. Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

Also known as ‘Honours of Scotland,’ these are the oldest Crown jewels in the British Isles.

The priceless Crown, Sceptre, and Sword of State were first used together for the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots in 1543. 

Made of gold, silver, and precious gems, these Crown Jewels are of immense significance.

Location: It is on display in the Crown Room.

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Edinburgh Castle’s Chapel

Edinburgh Castle's St Margaret’s Chapel
Edinburgh Castle’s Chapel. Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

St Margaret’s Chapel is Edinburgh’s oldest building and is open to all visitors to the Edinburgh Castle. 

The Chapel was built around 1130 and was dedicated to Queen Margaret, King David I’s mother.

Scotland’s royal family once used this place of worship as their private Chapel. 

Location: When you pass through the Foog’s Gate, you will spot St. Margaret’s Chapel on the left.

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Mons Meg

Mons Meg at Edinburgh Castle
Mons Meg cannon at Edinburgh Castle. Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

Mons Meg is a six-tonne siege gun that could fire a 150 kg (330 pounds) gunstone for up to 3.2 km (2 miles).

Given to King James II in 1457, it was once considered the latest warfare technology.

The massive cannon is named after the Belgian town where she was made.

Location: Mons Meg is just outside St Margaret’s Chapel.

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Edinburgh Castle’s cannon – One o’clock Gun

One o’Clock Gun was the idea of businessman John Hewitt, which was implemented in 1861. 

The gun is fired daily (except Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day) at 1 pm so ships in the Firth of Forth can set their maritime clocks. 

It is a major spectacle, and visitors time their castle exploration according to the boom of the One o’clock Gun. 

Location: It is just outside the Redcoat Cafe.

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Half Moon Battery

Half Moon Battery at Edinburgh Castle

The Half Moon Battery was built after the Lang Seige to offer better defenses to Edinburgh Castle. 

It gave the seven bronze guns (also known as the seven sisters) a wide angle of fire behind tall, sloping, unsurmountable walls.

Half Moon Battery was built on David’s Tower, which came crashing down during the Lang Siege of 1571–73.

Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

Location: It is on the eastern side of the Castle, overlooking the main entrance.

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National War Museum

National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle
National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle. Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

This War Museum inside Edinburgh Castle exhibits Scotland’s military history from the 1600s to the present.

Don’t miss Robert Gibb’s famous painting ‘The Thin Red Line.’

You also see military kilts, bagpipes, weaponry, letters, Highland broadswords, etc. 

Location: In Hospital Square.

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Edinburgh Castle dungeons

This must-see attraction is a Prisons of War Exhibition, but visitors often refer to it as Edinburgh Castle Dungeons.

In the 1700s and 1800s, many pirates and prisoners of war were held in dark, cramped vaults below Crown Square. 

Today, visitors see a recreation of the vaults as they would have been in the 1800s.

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Scottish National War Memorial

Scottish National War Memorial
Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle. Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

The National War Memorial is a fitting tribute to all the Scots who died in both world wars and conflicts since 1945.

Don’t miss out on the sculpture and stained glass depicting scenes from the First World War. 

Location: On the North side of Crown Square.

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Regimental Museums

The Royal Scots Museum narrates the story of the regiment in chronological order through wall panels supported by maps, display cases, tableaux, dioramas, medals, weapons, pictures, collections of silver, etc. 

Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum interprets and displays over 300 years of history of the only Scottish cavalry regiment in the British Army.

This Museum exhibits various objects such as weapons, uniforms, medals, paintings, etc. 

Location: The Royal Scots Museum is at the top of the hill just before Foog’s Gate, and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum is directly opposite.

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The Queen’s Embroideries

Queen's Embroideries at Edinburgh Castle
The Scottish Queen’s Embroideries. Image: Edinburghcastle.scot

In the late 16th century, Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate her throne and flee Scotland. While in exile, she kept herself busy with embroidery.

The embroideries on display at Edinburgh Castle aren’t made by the Queen but were created using authentic materials and tools by 33 School of Ancient Crafts volunteers.

Location: Ante-chamber of the Royal Apartments. 

So what are you waiting for? Select your Edinburgh Castle tour now!

# Edinburgh Castle
# Royal Yacht Britannia
# Holyrood Palace
# Edinburgh Zoo
# Edinburgh Vaults
# Mary King’s Close
# Camera Obscura

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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