Landmark of the Month: Edinburgh Castle

By Samantha Scott
October 3, 2018

The imposing Edinburgh Castle, built into a sheer rock face on top of an extinct volcano, is a fixture of the Edinburgh skyline. 

Edinburgh Castle

The castle is easy to get to, situated at the end of the "Royal Mile" a tourist strip chock full of interesting sites, statues, shops, museums, restaurants, and places of Scottish cultural curiosity.

You must purchase a ticket to enter the castle - easy to do ahead of time online. Once there you are free to wander around, or you can take a half hour to forty-five minute tour - highly recommended! Led by one of their engaging and knowledgeable guides, you'll gain insights into the castles incredible history including some very famous residents. 

Inside Edinburgh Castle

Perhaps the most notable of these is Mary, Queen of Scots - who lived at the castle a very short time, giving birth to her son James. James would become King James VI - the first king of Scotland, Ireland, and England.

Interesting Facts about Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

1. The oldest building in Scotland is part of Edinburgh Castle

St. Margarets Chapel is the oldest intact building in Scotland. Noticable for having a slightly different architectural style than what grew up around it, the chapel was built around 1130, and is dedicated to Queen Margaret, who lived in Edinburgh Castle in the 1000's.

2. The castle has hosted over 1000 prisoners 

During it's time as a fortress, Edinburgh Castle was heavily utilized as a prison as well as defensive post. Everything from Caribbean pirates to Americans held during the War of Independence served sentences in the castles dungeons.

3. You can see the "Stone of Destiny"

If gazing at a large rock encased behind protective glass doesn't sound particularly exciting, perhaps the legend surrounding it will entice you. Called the "Stone of Destiny", this sandstone rock served as a royal seat upon which all Scottish royalty was crowned for hundreds of years.

The stone was removed to England before finally being returned to Scotland in 1996. And it is taken back to England for special occasions - under a very watchful eye.  

4. No monarch has stayed more than one night in the castle since 1633

The last royal monarch to stay over night in Edinburgh Castle was Charles I. 

5. "Castle Rock" is estimated to be 350 million years old

Edinburgh Castle is built on top of a now dormant volcano, and people have lived on the space since the Iron Age, prior to the existence of the castle itself.

Ready to visit Edinburgh Castle? See over 300 Scotland tours »

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