Discover Edinburgh Castle top things to do. The castle is part of Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage site.

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most well-known historic sites in Scotland. You could spend more than a full day here, but it is still worth a visit if you only have an hour or two.

The famous castle sits high on Castle Rock in Old Town, at the top of The Royal Mile. Its location provides the most incredible views of Edinburgh below.

Palace Holyroodhouse sits at the opposite end of The Royal Mile.

Leading up to the castle is a number of shops selling tartans, wonderful scarves and other souvenirs, along with a variety of places to eat.

Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

The world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held every August on the castle esplanade. Check here for ticket information.

Complimentary guided tours and audio tours are available or you can follow the blue shields on the map provided with your entrance ticket to do your own self-guided tour.

Consider buying an Explorer Pass that will get you into Scotland’s top attractions, including many sites in Edinburgh. You can also buy a ‘skip the line’ ticket for Edinburgh Castle from a Hop-On Hop-Off tour bus. We bought our tickets on the bus.

Find out more about the top things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Discover Edinburgh Castle Highlights

Stone of Destiny

Stone of Destiny is found in the Crown Room near the Crown Jewels. England’s King Edward l built it into his throne in 1295. It is used at every coronation in England during the crowning of a sovereign.

St. Margaret’s Chapel

St. Margaret’s Chapel is Edinburgh’s oldest building, built by David I circa 1130. He dedicated the chapel to his mother Queen Margaret.
In 1250, Pope Innocent IV made her a saint because of all the charity work she did.
Weddings and christenings are still performed here.
St. Margaret’s Chapel built by David I about 1130 is Edinburgh’s oldest building. Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

St. Margaret’s Chapel built by David I about 1130 is Edinburgh’s oldest building.  Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

The Crown Jewels of Scotland

The Crown Jewels of Scotland can be viewed in the Throne Room. They are also known as the Honours of Scotland.
These jewels are the oldest Royal Regalia of their kind in the United Kingdom. All three components were used in the 1543 coronation ceremony of Mary Queen of Scots.
The pieces date from the 15th and 16th century.
Top things to do at Edinburgh Castle -Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

National War Museum

The National War Museum of Scotland displays the past military history of Scotland. Learn more.
The War Museum at Edinburgh Castle. Discover Edinburgh Castle highlights and things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

The War Museum at Edinburgh Castle. Discover Edinburgh Castle highlights and things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Panoramic views from Edinburgh Castle

Magnificent panoramic views of Edinburgh.
Panoramic views from Edinburgh Castle. Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr@

Panoramic views from Edinburgh Castle. Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr@

The one o’clock gun

The one o’clock gun is fired at the Edinburgh Castle most days at 1 p.m.

The One o'clock gun at Edinburgh Castle. Discover Edinburgh Castle highlights and things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

The One o’clock gun at Edinburgh Castle. Discover Edinburgh Castle highlights and things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Top things to do at Edinburgh Castle

Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city.

Top things to do at Edinburgh Castle Explore Edinburgh Castle. Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Explore Edinburgh Castle. Discover things to do in medieval Edinburgh. Explore Old Town and New Town along with the many museums, monument, memorials and galleries of this historic city. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Fast Facts about Edinburgh Castle

  • The Royal Palace has been home to many of the Scottish monarchs. Also Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James Vl here in 1566.
  • The Stone of Destiny will go to Westminster Abbey when there is a coronation ceremony for a new monarch.
  • The Crown Jewels of Scotland consist of three items: a crown, a sceptre and sword.
  • The castle has been used as a military base since the 1600s.
  • The last king to live here was Charles I. He left the castle in 1633.
  • Edinburgh Castle was built by David l in the 12th century.
  • Castle Rock was formed after a volcanic eruption.
  • St. Margaret’s Chapel is Edinburgh’s oldest building, built by David I about 1130.
Discover the rich history of the Scottish Royals at Holyrood Palace
Visit spectacular Isle of Skye.

Looking for more incredible adventures of a lifetime? Here are a few articles to help start planning your trip:
Road Trip – Top things to do driving from Victoria to Pacific Rim National Park
Top 10 scenic drives in Canada that will leave you in awe
Explore the Sea-to-Sky Highway, one of the most scenic drives in North America
Road Trip: Best route from Tucson to Santa Fe, New Mexico
BC Travel Guide: 21-day road trip Part 2 – Vancouver, Jasper, Banff and Okanagan wine country
Top 10 things to see and do in Victoria, BC – a city guide

Discover More in Port Alberni: Your Guide to 21 Local Travel Adventures

Stay Connected!

Get the latest travel tips and learn about destinations from near and far.

By signing up I agree to the service terms and privacy policy below.

Privacy Statement | Disclosures | Terms of Use

Website | + posts

Wendy Nordvik-Carr is a highly regarded travel writer who produces quality, well-researched articles with stunning photography and video.
She seeks out authentic experiences showcasing the people, culture and history that make each destination unique. Her focus is on solo, couple and multigenerational travel through cruising, air and road trip adventures.

Wendy is the editor & writer for LifesIncredibleJourney.com, a travel site that encourages exploration of destinations near & far.

She is a TMAC Director, Chair, National PD Committee and Chair of TMAC's BC & Yukon Chapter, as well as a member of SATW & NATJA.