The imposing castle that stands on the craggy mound of an extinct volcano in the heart of Edinburgh is not only the city's top attraction, but a proud and lasting symbol of the Scots nation. The castle rock has been inhabited since 800 BC, but today most of the remaining structures date from around the 16th century (with the big exception of St Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh's oldest building, dating from the early 12th century). Of all the things to see and experience at the Castle, including the spectacular view of the city, the favourite for visitors is the Crown Room, which contains the Scottish crown jewels and regalia of state. Also on view here is the legendary 'Stone of Scone', upon which all the monarchs of Scotland have been crowned. The castle also still functions as a military headquarters, and is the site of the spectacular military tattoo, which is world-renowned and held each August. At 1pm each day, except Sunday, the 'one o'clock gun' is fired, traditionally to allow ships in the Firth of Forth to check their chronometers. The gun is also fired at New Year to mark midnight during the Hogmanay celebrations. Tickets should be pre-bought online to avoid queuing on arrival, especially if visiting during the summer months.
Telephone: (0)131 225 9846
Opening times: Open daily, from 9.30am to 6pm (1 April to 30 September), and 9.30am to 5pm (1 October to 31 March). Last admission is always 45 minutes before the closing time
Admission: £16 (adults), £9.60 (children aged 5-15). Other concessions available.