By far the most striking building in Scotland’s capital city has to be Edinburgh Castle. It sits high above the city on volcanic rock. It hosts the Edinburgh Military Tattoo every August and it has more than 1.25 million visitors each year. It is one of the most impressive castles I’ve ever seen.
From the castle grounds there is an absolutely breathtaking view of the city. (Of course, I may be biased since this is my favorite city in the world!) The castle sits at the head of the Royal Mile, the only road to the castle, which made it easy to see anyone approaching back when Scotland still fought for independence. To look at the castle and its location, you would think that it was impenetrable, but this was not the case. Many times in Scotland’s turbulent history captured Edinburgh Castle.
As with any tourist destination, Edinburgh Castle has tours and various exhibits to share the history of Scotland and the castle. Two interesting parts you will find within the walls of the castle are St. Margaret’s Chapel and the Honours of Scotland.
St. Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building in Edinburgh, dating back to the 1100s. King David I built it in honor of his mother around the year 1130. Margaret, born into the English royal family, fled to Scotland when England was invaded in 1066. She fell in love with Scotland’s king and married him. Sadly, Margaret died of a broken heart in 1093 after hearing that her husband and oldest son had been killed in an ambush.
The Honours of Scotland- the sword, sceptre and crown used for coronation- are also housed within the castle. The items were buried in the mid-1600s to keep them safe and out of English hands. Sir Walter Scott, actually found them in 1818 and they were put on public display. They were again buried between 1941 and 1945 in case of German invasion.
To enter the castle grounds isn’t cheap, ranging from 7-13 pounds (roughly $10-$20), but it is well worth the ticket price, especially if it is your first visit. For more information on all this magnificent castle has to offer, visit www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk.