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An Edinburgh Castle travel guide – heraldry and history in Edinburgh’s most striking building

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Standing sentry over the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle is the city’s ancient heart. Edinburgh Castle holidays mean more than just dry history in Scotland’s most elegant city. With hotels near Edinburgh Castle strung along the Royal Mile, it is the perfect place to stay in Edinburgh.

Military might

Edinburgh Castle was built for defence and inside its imposing walls lie military exhibits including the Mons Meg, one of the world’s oldest cannons. The Prisons of War Exhibition evokes the conditions the 18th-century captives endured, while Scotland’s military history is on display at two regimental museums. During the festival the pageantry of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is particularly spellbinding.

Royal history

Those with a keen interest in the history of Scotland pre- unification are spoilt for choice on a visit to Edinburgh Castle. The Honours of Scotland (the Scottish Crown Jewels) are the UK’s oldest royal regalia, while the Stone of Destiny, on which centuries of Scottish monarchs were crowned, is now back in Scotland after a 700-year wait. The castle also is the site of the former Royal Palace, where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to her only child, James.

Fun for kids

Dramatically perched atop a volcanic spur, Edinburgh Castle excites children’s sensibilities instantly. The mix of crenellated walls, intimidating guardhouses and narrow passageways ensure children are kept busy exploring for hours.

Practical information

When: Open every day

Where: Edinburgh city centre

Tickets: Tickets from £15