Visiter Edinburgh Castle.

Dominating the city of Edinburgh, the castle is a symbol of Scottish history!

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh castle - © L Galbraith

It is one of the most famous castles in Scotland! Edinburgh Castle, located in the heart of the Scottish capital, never ceases to attract travelers from around the world! Known to be one of the oldest castles in Europe, the building still has its share of mysteries… Built on an extinct volcano in the middle of the city, it is a vibrant symbol of Scottish history!

History of Edinburgh Castle

A building with unknown origins

Edimburgh castle - © Tomas Marek

Edimburgh castle – © Tomas Marek

It may sound crazy, but no Scot can tell you how old Edinburgh Castle is! It is said to be one of the oldest castles in Europe, but archaeologists are struggling to say when the castle was built.

However, there are some valuable clues: researchers believe that the site was occupied as early as the Bronze Age as a major stronghold…

In the same way, important traces of Roman occupations would also have been discovered during archaeological excavations. This reinforces the idea that the place was already at that time, considered as strategic!

After this period, the archaeologists remain in the most total vagueness… But the first written traces mentioning the castle go back to the XIVth century, in a book written by John of Fordun, which related the death of king Malcolm III of Scotland in 1093.

The castle would thus have been built at least in the XIth century… maybe before!

In any case, it is estimated that the castle would have been deeply modified during the course of the History, particularly at the initiative of king David I of Scotland, during the XIIth century.

An intact symbol of Scottish history

Edinburgh Castle has had a particularly troubled history, which echoes that of all of Scotland itself. It is the symbol of the Anglo-Scottish conflict, with its many sieges and battles, its wars for power and its repeated acts of violence.

Everything became clear in 1286, when the throne of Scotland became vacant, following the death of King Alexander III of Scotland. King Edward I of England saw the perfect opportunity to seize power: he invaded Scotland, provoking the hostility of the Scots.

Determined not to let it happen, the Scots went to war to drive the English out of their lands. An act that triggered the first Scottish War of Independence.

Unfortunately, Edinburgh capitulated after 3 days of bombardments… The castle and the city are then under British rule…

But everything changes with the death of King Edward in 1307: the English presence in Scotland is much more fragile than before… The Scots then destroyed the castle’s defenses at the request of Robert I.

Unfortunately, this revolt was not to the taste of Edward III of England, who decided to invade Scotland in 1333, which triggered a second war of independence of Scotland.

The castle of Edinburgh is then occupied and re-fortified by the English until 1341…

But the castle is finally taken back by the Scots, thanks to a brilliant attack led by William Douglas.

The castle is now Scottish, and leads to the signing of the Treaty of Berwick.

King David II of Scotland, then undertakes major reconstruction of the castle. Colossal building sites, which spread out until the XVth century. At that time, the castle was only used as a place to store military weapons.

Indeed, James IV of Scotland considered Edinburgh Castle too noisy and uncomfortable. He then built the Palace of Holyrood, on the other side of the Royal Mile, and made it his main residence. A tradition still in force today.

However, Edinburgh Castle was used for some time as a refuge for Queen Mary I of Scotland. But the castle was bombed by Queen Elizabeth I to dislodge her opponent.

An important part of the building was then rebuilt. In the 1720s, buildings were added such as the north and west bastions. Prisons were also built.

Since then, the castle has hardly moved. It has just been optimized to cope with the growing interest of international tourists.

Visit Edinburgh Castle

A building full of attractions!

Nowadays, Edinburgh Castle is without a doubt one of the most famous tourist attractions in Scotland! Forget its past royal and military functions: from now on, the building is only for tourists, and welcomes every day thousands of travelers from all over the world!

And it is worth the detour!

Visible from all over Edinburgh, the castle majestically dominates the city! Built on its extinct volcano, the building has a particular majesty and poetry, which immediately seduces the lovers of castles and history.

The building is generally accessed through Lawnmarket and Castlehill. Once there, you can discover the major buildings of the castle:

  • St. Margaret’s chapel,
  • the Memorial,
  • The National War Museum of Scotland,
  • The Great Hall,
  • The Royal Apartments,
  • The Honors of the Kingdom,
  • the prisons,
  • the Officers’ Dog Cemetery (curious but not to be missed)…

Edinburgh Castle
Informations pratiques

Adresse Adresse :
Castlehill, Edinburgh, (Lothian)

Coordonnées GPSGPS :
55.94860645249803, -3.199936022003957

Durée de la visite Durée de la visite :
1/2 journée


Site WebSite Web :
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TarifsTarifs :
  • £18 par adulte
  • £22 par enfant (de 5 à 15 ans)
  • gratuit pour les enfants de moins de 5 ans
  • £35.50 par famille (1 adulte + 2 enfants)


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