This castle is the United Kingdom's most visited after the the Tower of London. For several hundreds of years it has stood sentry in all its majestic splendour, overlooking the city of Edinburgh. It is the most visited tourist attraction in Edinburgh, with good reason. When you visit this historic fortification, you are reminded that it is still a Military installation. It is home to The Scottish Divisional Head Quarters. There is a military Guard on the main gate.
Seeing it from the outside is fine, but there is much for you to enjoy inside as well. There is the architecture of the many buildings, memorials, museums and exhibits. A visit to the Scottish capital is not complete without a visit here.
Getting in to the Castle
In order to enter Edinburgh Castle you have to cross the esplanade, where the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held in August. This is where you see this historic fortification at its most dramatic. From there, you walk across the drawbridge and through the gatehouse, which was built in the 1880's. Once through the gatehouse portcullis, you have enter the castle walls. You are greeted by statues of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. These are relatively recent additions. They date back to 1929.
What to See Inside Edinburgh Castle
Once within the walls of the castle you have many interesting things to see. Aside from architecture dating back to the 10th century, there are a great many buildings. These provide an interesting history of the fortification.
- St. Margaret's Chapel: At the very summit of the rock, stands St. Margaret's Chapel. This was built in the twelfth century. It is thought to be the oldest standing building in Edinburgh.
- The Great Hall: This is thought to have been built sometime in the fifteenth century. It is steeped in a rich history. Its magnificent carved wooden ceiling. It also has a very interesting armoury.
- The Governors house: Build in 1742, this building is now the tea rooms. It was once three houses. The governor used the centre one. The store keeper and master gunner were in either wing.
- The Palace Built in the 1430's, has a great many rooms that one may visit. the Crown Room is one. Whilst within the Palace you can absorb the atmosphere and take in the ambience of the splendid furnishings and some lovely artwork.
- Scottish National War Memorial (1925) This memorial stands on the site of the original barracks (1755).
History: the Building of Edinburgh Castle
Sir Robert Lorimer was the architect of the Memorial. It was built from rubble and stone, which had been used at this site previously. Queen Ann Barracks were built in 1790's and served useful purpose for 200 years. There is also a military prison within, which is a fine example of Victorian architecture (1842). It was built in two parts. The top being added in 1880. The Military Hospital started out as a powder magazine (1748) by John Addam. It was converted to a Barronised Military Hospital in 1890. This was apparently on a whim, by those in power, to improve and romanticise Edinburgh castle.