Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK
| +44 131 225 9846
Photo by Andras Csontos / Shutterstock
Edinburgh CastlePerched on a great rock above Edinburgh’s New Town, this impressive castle dominates the city. Iron Age warriors understood the site’s military potential and built a fort here in the late first century C.E. It changed hands several times during the Wars of Independence, but was retaken from the English in 1314 and served for many years as the home of royalty, from Queen Margaret to Mary Queen of Scots. From the 1600s onward, the castle functioned as a military base with a large garrison and later held prisoners of war. Today, it’s a world-famous attraction, home to the Stone of Destiny on which kings were enthroned for centuries.
Guests can tour the Great Hall and the Royal Palace, admire the Scottish crown jewels, and visit Edinburgh’s oldest building, St. Margaret’s Chapel. Also on-site is the National War Museum, which details 400 years of Scotland at war, and the Scottish National War Memorial, honoring those who gave their lives for the nation. For even more military history, check out the cavernous stone vaults beneath the Great Hall that once held war prisoners, or head to the Regimental Museum, which cover everything from the Covenanters to Napoléon and Waterloo. Visit in the early afternoon and you’ll witness the firing of the One O’Clock Gun—a beloved Edinburgh tradition.