11 July 2015
Reviewed by Tricia Dodds
Our plan to arrive early and beat the queues didn’t quite work out! However, despite the huge number of people heading through the impressive portcullis towards the ticket office, there were no problems. Castle staff were in place to ensure people were quickly and smoothly directed to where they needed to be. My other half sensibly suggested that as we were guest reviewers, we probably didn’t need to stand in the ticket office line but go through the fast track route – which was clearly identified (if you book your tickets online you can print tickets at home and use the fast track entry). Whilst standing in line for our tickets, I was impressed to hear how many languages were being used by the staff member dealing with the people ahead of us. After introducing myself and showing my Reviewer Pass, a quick check of the guest register confirmed the arrangements. We were given our tickets, a map of the castle and information on where to head for a tour guide – our preference versus the audio guides, which are available for a small hire fee in different languages.
No wonder Edinburgh Castle is the most important venue to visit when in Edinburgh! Thanks to the very professional, knowledgeable and humorous tour guide we learned all about the rock it stands on, its place in British history, its many uses throughout its 5,000 year existence – right up to its importance today. For my other half and I the most important has to be as location for the Scottish National War Memorial – remembering every Scot who has given their life, since the First World War, for the freedom that we enjoy today.
The castle is also keeper of the Scottish Crown Jewels and Stone of Destiny and tells the story with a fascinating exhibition of their history. Stepping inside St. Margaret’s Chapel – the oldest building in Edinburgh and looking down on the nearby dog cemetery (resting place for soldiers’ dogs) was a humbling experience for us.
There are so many great exhibits at Edinburgh Castle – I could go on and talk about them all – but the idea of this review is to encourage you to take your family, friends or partner and experience everything first hand.
On a practical note, there are plenty of toilets, gift shops and cafes located throughout the castle and as well as the free whiskey tasting, we enjoyed excellent and very reasonably priced, coffee, scones and cake in the Redcoat Cafe.
If you happen to be on holiday in Scotland and plan to visit a number of sites, then you have the opportunity to purchase an Explorer Pass giving you unlimited access to over 75 of Scotland’s best historic properties.
We enjoyed a brilliant couple of days in Edinburgh and the highlight was definitely our visit to the castle. The walk up and down the Royal Mile is also a must.
Entry ticket prices reflect the value of the tour whilst ensuring its future.
The Castle offers so much to see and discover, of interest to young and old alike. We have no hesitation in recommending this venue to visitors and give a very well deserved 5 out of 5.
Tickets cost: £16.50 Adult / £9.90 Child (5-15 years, under 5’s are free)
For more information or to book tickets online visit www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk.
Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG | 0131 225 9846