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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 06 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Lucy Gillmore

The brooding castle looming over the city is the iconic image of the Scottish capital and notches up more than a million visitors each year. Tick it off for the views alone: to the north the Firth of Forth and the Kingdom of Fife, to the south the Pentland Hills.

The fortress and royal palace, with dungeons and a 12th-century chapel, forms a sprawling complex that also includes the National War Museum.

If you can, time your visit to coincide with the one o’clock gun, which has been fired almost every day since 1861 – apart from Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day.

Logistics

Price from: £17.50
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Buy tickets online to avoid the queues at the ticket office, and to guarantee entry.

The website has a helpful section on the castle’s history and another one on its historical characters – both worth a read before you go. They also have several suggested itineraries, varying from 1-3 hours–again, worth having a look before you come and deciding what you want to see.

You can also download a castle map. If you’d rather wander around the warren of buildings at your own pace, you can plug into an audio guide for an extra fee, available on arrival.

When to do it

It offers the same all-year round.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Edinburgh Castle Tour: Guided Tour in English

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle Tour: Guided Tour in English
Our Castle Tour enables you to skip the line into Scotland's most iconic fortification.  The 1h30 long tour will cover the 3000 year history of Edinburgh Castle and the significant role it has played in shaping Scotland. Tour leaves from our start point at 192 High Street, by the statue of Adam Smith.

Price: £34

Min age: 0

Rating 4.90 / 5 [2542 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Region, United Kingdom (UK)

An overview of Old town Edinburgh and Edinburgh castle in Scotland. thousands of buildings covering the ground with on a blue sunny day with a scatter of white clouds

Capital treats abound, from mighty castles and royal palaces to gourmet restaurants and arguably the world’s best performing arts festival.