Edinburgh Castle Tickets

Perched high on a volcanic rock above Edinburgh city centre, Edinburgh Castle has a history dating back over a thousand years. Visitors to this impressive fortress can enjoy panoramic views across the city from the ramparts, see the Scottish crown jewels and learn about the castle's turbulent past and its inhabitants.

Opening hours

Summer (1 April to 30 September) - 9.30am to 6pm.

Winter (1 October to 31 March) - 9.30am to 6pm.

Closed on 25th and 26th December.

1st January - 11am to 5pm.

Last entry one hour before closing time.

How to get there

Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK

Edinburgh Castle is within walking distance of the city's main railway station, Edinburgh Waverley. It's a fairly steep 10-minute walk up the Mound to the Royal Mile and the Castle's entrance. If arriving by tram, follow the same route up from Princes Street to the Castle Esplanade. There is no parking at the Castle, with the nearest car park five minutes' walk away. The closest bus stop is on George IV Bridge, where the 23, 27, 41, 42 and 67 buses stop.

FAQ

Is the Castle still a royal residence?
Monarchs haven't stayed at Edinburgh Castle since Charles I visited in 1633. Members of the Royal Family stay at Holyrood Palace, at the other end of the Royal Mile. The Castle is an active military base, so you'll see soldiers guarding the entrance. Edinburgh Castle is still used for ceremonial purposes and is visited by over two million people each year.
Aren't the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London?
Until 1603, Scotland had separate monarchs to the rest of the UK. The Scottish crown, sceptre and sword of state are kept in Edinburgh Castle and used during State occasions. The Crown Jewels which are kept in the Tower Of London are the UK crown jewels which are used at the coronation.
How old is Edinburgh Castle?
Parts of Edinburgh Castle date back to the 12th century. The oldest part of the Castle is the tiny St Margaret's Chapel. Other parts of Edinburgh Castle date to the 16th century, with the Great Hall dating to 1515. There are also modern parts of the Castle, with an ongoing programme of renovation and conservation.
Are there guided tours?
Visitors can choose a self-guided tour using an audio guide in many different languages which is collected from the Castle ticket office and allows exploration at your own pace. Alternatively, free regular tours with an experienced guide depart from just inside the drawbridge. You can also buy guidebooks from the gift shop just by the ticket office in a range of world languages.
What is the One O'Clock Gun?
In the days before wristwatches and smartphones to tell us the time, a large gun was fired from Edinburgh Castle every day at 1pm so that ships out at sea could set their clocks accurately. The tradition has persisted, and every day many visitors gather at Mills Mount Battery to hear the 105mm field gun fired.
What is the Edinburgh Castle Tattoo?
Each August, marching bands, bagpipers and military bands from across the world take part in a huge show on the Edinburgh Castle esplanade. Stands are erected for visitors to the evening show, but the castle remains open through the three weeks of the Tattoo.

Must-know

Mons Meg
One of the most important objects in Edinburgh Castle is the 15th century siege cannon known as Mons Meg. It was originally a gift to James II of Scotland from the Duke of Burgundy in France, and is one of the world's largest cannons. The massive gun was capable of firing a 150kg cannonball for two miles.
Eating and Drinking
There are plenty of options for eating in Edinburgh Castle, allowing you to take a break from your sightseeing. Have soup and sandwiches in the Redcoat Cafe with view over the New Town and main shopping street, or enjoying the British tradition of afternoon tea in Crown Square. There are also picnic tables, and kiosks selling everything from hot drinks to ice cream.
Stone of Destinye
Used for centuries underneath the thrones used to crown the Kings of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny was taken to Westminster Abbey in London by Edward I in 1296. It remained there for centuries before being stolen by students in 1950, recovered, then eventually returned to Edinburgh Castle in 1996 where it is displayed alongside the Crown Jewels. This important piece of Scottish history will only leave Edinburgh Castle for any future coronation.

Places nearby

Scotch Whisky Experience
Immediately adjacent to Edinburgh Castle at the foot of the esplanade, the Scotch Whisky Experience explains the manufacturing process of Scotland's iconic drink. Visitors take a barrel ride through a virtual distillery, sample a dram of whisky and see the world's largest collection of Scotch whisky. There's also a large shop – perfect for souvenir shopping – and a restaurant serving the very best in Scottish produce.
Scotch Whisky Experience
Scotch Whisky Experience. Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com
National Museum of Scotland
Scotland's main museum is just a few minutes away from Edinburgh Castle, and covers all eras of life in Scotland from Stone Age to modern times. Don't miss the famous Lewis Chessmen which date back to the 12th century, or the huge Natural World gallery with the skeleton of a T-Rex. The National Museum of Scotland is open seven days a week, and runs regular family and children's events at weekends and during holidays. Admission is free, although there may be an additional charge for special temporary exhibitions.
National Museum of Scotland
National Museum of Scotland. Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock.com
Edinburgh Dungeon
Explore the dark side of Edinburgh at the Dungeons. Part theatrical experience, part thrill ride and part history lesson, you'll learn all about how witches and criminals were dealt with in Edinburgh's past. Visitors can meet colourful characters such as cannibal Sawney Bean and Half-Hangit Maggie Dickson, who was hanged in 1724 but somehow lived to tell the tale. It's a spooky experience suitable for older children and adults.
Edinburgh Dungeon
Edinburgh Dungeon