Edinburgh Castle#9 in Best Things To Do in Edinburgh
Hoisted high atop Edinburgh, almost as if it's monitoring its city below, Edinburgh Castle is not only one of Scotland's most recognized landmarks, but one of the country's most-visited attractions. Not only has the castle housed various royals throughout history, but also once housed military prisoners and was the site of a back-and-forth capture with the English. Inside its stone walls (which survived a World War I bombing), some of the attractions available for visitors to view are the Honours (or crown jewels) of Scotland, St. Margaret's Chapel (Edinburgh's oldest building), Mons Meg (considered one of the greatest guns in medieval Europe), the National War Museum, The Great Hall and the vaults that once held prisoners of war (located under the Great Hall).
Some travelers express disappointment in the castle's high price of admission but that grievance was quickly followed up with a strong recommendation to visit this attraction. Visitors loved learning about the castle's history, exploring the grounds and enjoyed the attraction's expansive views of the city. Some suggested springing for an audio guide or tour while others urged planning your visit around 1 p.m. Monday through Saturdays, when guns are fired on the premises, a tradition that harks back to the 19th century.
Edinburgh Castle opens at 9:30 a.m. daily and closes at 6 p.m. from April 1 to September 30 and at 5 p.m. from October 1 to March 31. Admission costs 16.50 pounds for adults (about $24) and 9.90 pounds for children (about $14.40). You can find Edinburgh Castle at the end of the Royal Mile. For more information, visit Edinburgh Castle's website.
More Best Things To Do in Edinburgh
#1 Arthur's Seat
Arthur's Seat, located in the verdant Holyrood Park, affords one of the best views of the city. Standing 800 feet above sea level, Arthur's Seat is the highest point in the park, providing panoramic views of the sea and nearby sites, including attractions like Edinburgh Castle and the Scott Monument. If you're wondering how Arthur's Seat got its name, chances are you may never get a clear answer. Legend has it that it was the site for Camelot while others claim William Maitland, a Scottish politician, believed the name was derived from Ard-na-Said, a Gallic phrase meaning "height of narrows." The attraction was also a former volcano. Trails are accessible off of Queen's Drive near Holyroodhouse Palace, which is located at the base of Arthur's Seat.
Some recent travelers mention the hike was a bit more strenuous than they thought it would be. Visitors not prone to regular walking might find it difficult. Keep in mind that the journey to Arthur's Seat is all uphill, so make sure to wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes and bring water. Once you reach the top, many travelers say you'll find the 360-degree views worth any sweat you might've worked up. Arthur's Seat is free to access.
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