Stepping out of Waverly Station the true grandeur of Edinburgh greets you. Crowded yes, but the deeper you get into the city tourists fall away. The first stop on the Edinburgh list was the castle dominating the ancient sky line. Anthropologists suggest that the surrounding area dubbed Castle Rock had been occupied since 900 BC. The first structure, St. Margaret’s Chapel was built in 1130 AD. This chapel can still be visited today! Edinburgh Castle have been visited and sometimes sieged by the likes of Oliver Cromwell, Mary Queen of Scots, and influential Jacobites during the uprising including Bonnie Prince Charlie himself.
Extensive Military History
If you are a history buff, into military memorabilia and peering longingly over stone walls *raises hand* be prepared to start drooling *wipes away drool*.
The castle was being prepared for the Military Tattoo in August. A tradition since the 1950’s that celebrate and honor various military bands. Approaching the castle, I was a little puzzled by the garish, blue bleachers then the reason became clear.
The castle has several stops that showcase the U.K.’s extensive military history ranging from medieval times to present. Be sure to take a stroll through the dungeons for a glimpse into the dank conditions.
2. The Views
Get a birds eye view of Edinburgh in full. Take in the cities green spaces and spot landmarks. From one side you can see right out to the North Sea. The opposite side you can see all the way out to Arthur’s Seat. Over the castle walls offer excellent opportunities to capture the moody-ness of Scottish weather.
3. The Dog Cemetery
In a ruined tower be sure to salute to the four legged military members. One trait I have noticed about the Scots is their love for animals – the oldest headstone goes back to the 1840’s. It reminds us that our canine comrades are just as important to national defense as humans are. Whereas you cant go down to the green be sure to peer over the wall to view the memorial.
The one o’clock cannon goes off at – you guessed it 13:00. Trust me you will know when it’s close to time as the crowd gathers. Not your thing? Now is a good time to try and get some shots with less people surrounding everything.
Mons Meg: Another cannon noted for its behemoth firing range. The cannon can shoot over two miles. It was given to James II by the Duke Philip of Burgundy in 1490.
5. Get a Glimpse of the Royal Jewels
No pictures allowed however be sure to visit the Royal apartments and the crown room. Here you will also find the Stone of Destiny. The stone is an ancient symbol of monarchy and has made an appearance at all coronations since 1296.
If you are questioning whether to visit the castle or not. VISIT. Yes, the lines can be long. Yes, its crowded as all get out. Go early or go late. The visit is worth the hassle. I should also mention that Castle Rock was a former active volcano. Need I say more? Click here for 8 Reasons to Get Down With Braveheart in Stirling for more Scotland!
Been to Edinburgh? Let me know!
Your Cobweb Clearer, Kate