Castle of Edinburgh Tickets

To enter Edinburgh Castle is to travel back in time and get the best views of the city. Here's how to get tickets

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

7 min read

Castle of Edinburgh Tickets

Edinburgh Castle | ©Alana Harris

From almost every part of the city centre you can see this fortress perched on Castle Rock, a volcanic rock. Edinburgh Castle has everything children and adults could hope for: history, adventure, extraordinary views, gems and legends. It is not surprising, therefore, that the queues to visit it, especially in the summer months when there is most tourism in the city, are significant. Here is a summary of the best options for visiting the interior:

The best option

Edinburgh Castle Guided Tour

Discover Edinburgh Castle with an expert guide

A visit to Edinburgh will never be complete without seeing its impressive castle. With this ticketed tour, you'll learn all about the history of the castle and see what's inside.

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes


The guided tour of Edinburgh Castle will make your visit to this historic jewel of the Scottish capital more comfortable and practical. Your expert guide will take you on a one-and-a-half hour tour, taking you through all the rooms of the great fortress and explaining the details of its construction, its uses and the Scottish kings who lived there.

Booking online in advance is essential at this iconic medieval castle to avoid the queues at the ticket office. Plus, when you book you get discounted tickets for children under 6 and adults over 66.

Recommended if you... You want to know more about the history of the castle and Scotland in general. The sheer size of the building makes the tour on your own a little overwhelming.

How much does it cost to visit Edinburgh Castle?

Inside the castle| ©Mario Sánchez Prada
Inside the castle| ©Mario Sánchez Prada

General admission tickets to Edinburgh Castle cost around 15 euros, with discounts for children aged 5 to 15 and children under five free. You can buy your tickets at the ticket office or on the official Edinburgh Castle website. My advice is to buy your tickets online to avoid the queue at the ticket office.

The guided tour of Edinburgh Castle costs around 39 euros. You pay more but I assure you that the guide's explanations throughout the one and a half hour tour will make your visit much more comfortable and interesting.

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Is the guided tour of Edinburgh Castle worth it?

National War Museum| ©Damien
National War Museum| ©Damien

Booking a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle is the best option if you're looking for a hands-on tour where you can be sure you won't miss anything and where you can learn about Scottish history by putting what you're seeing into context.

Edinburgh Castle was witness to great events such as the birth of Queen Mary's son and the various battles and sieges that shaped the country's history. Your expert guide will explain them all to you.

The guided tour lasts approximately one and a half hours (after which you can continue to explore Edinburgh Castle at your own pace in more detail if you wish). To book your place online, simply indicate the day you would like to take the tour and your language (available in German, English and Spanish).

You will receive an email which will serve as your voucher (you will skip the queues at the ticket office and go straight through with your guide and the rest of the group) with instructions on how to meet your guide in the vicinity of Edinburgh Castle.

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How long does the tour of Edinburgh Castle last?

Edinburgh Castle|©pepe amestoy
Edinburgh Castle|©pepe amestoy

Allow an average of three hours of your time to explore Edinburgh Castle on this tour. As well as seeing the exterior, courtyards and rooms of the castle, don't forget to visit the National War Museum, St Margaret's Chapel and the Crown Jewels exhibition. If you decide to visit on your own, the order is up to you.

The castle complex is quite large and is divided into different spaces (there is no single order of tour). As you will not be accompanied by a guide during your visit, it is best to take a map with you at the entrance so that you don't miss anything and can find your way around at all times.

For this reason, I recommend that you choose one of the tours of the castle with skip-the-line tickets in which, with the help of an expert guide, you will learn all the history hidden in the castle and you will not miss any of its rooms.

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What you'll see at the Castle

St Margaret's Chapel| ©Christoph Strässler
St Margaret's Chapel| ©Christoph Strässler

The Grand Staircase

This is the main access point to the castle and consists of 70 steps. If you are travelling with wheelchairs it is best to go up the slopes surrounding the fortress, but be sure to admire the views from the Grand Staircase.

One o'clock canyon

As the name suggests, this cannon is fired at one o'clock every day except Sundays. Now a tourist attraction, it was once a way for sailors and villagers to synchronise their watches and tell the time.

The stone of destiny

In the exhibition of the Crown Jewels, along with other objects such as the crown, the sceptre or the sword of the State, you can find this valuable symbol. The Stone of Destiny is the place on which all Scottish kings were crowned.

The prisons of war

Thanks to these recreations you can learn about the way of life of all the prisoners who were captured during the battles and imprisoned in the cellars of the castle.

The chapel of Santa Margarita

This small chapel is theoldest building in Edinburgh, but it is also famous for having one of the few dog cemeteries in the world. It was in this cemetery that the military used to bury the dogs that accompanied them in their training.

The National War Museum

Along with the Crown Jewels of Scotland, it forms part of the main areas of the castle known as the Crown Square buildings. Here you can find the remains of the battles that forged the country's military history: weapons, armour, portraits, photographs, equipment, uniforms... This is also the site of the West Viewpoint, from which you can enjoy magnificent views of the city.

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Plan your visit to the Castle

The Grand Staircase| ©Lyn Gateley
The Grand Staircase| ©Lyn Gateley

How to get there

By now you'll have realised that Edinburgh Castle sits on top of a hill, so you'll need to gather your strength to get up there from the lower part of the city. Follow the main avenue of the Royal Mile and you can't miss it, as the castle is visible from almost every corner of the city centre. If you'd rather save the walk, virtually every bus line in Edinburgh stops at Castle Rock or Castle Hill (the hill on which the castle stands).

When to go

To avoid crowds (although Edinburgh Castle always has visitors), choose early morning for your visit. In terms of time of year, the peak tourist season in Edinburgh is summer, but that doesn't mean you can avoid the rain if you choose the summer months for your visit.

Opening times

Edinburgh Castle is open to the public every day of the year from 9.30am to 6pm from April to September (inclusive) and from 9.30am to 5pm the rest of the year, except in cases of force majeure. Please note that, at all times of the year, the last access to the castle is one hour before closing time.

Discounted tickets

Admission is free for children under the age of five, and the unemployed, over 60s and under 15s receive a discount on the general admission price.

Visiting with children

Edinburgh Castle is one of the best places to visit with children in the Scottish capital. The little ones will love exploring the fortress and will be free to move around the castle for many parts of the tour. The gift shops and guided tours also have a dedicated area for them.

Where to eat

In the castle complex there are several cafés and a restaurant with a view. You can stop off at any of these places during your visit, although the price and quality are not going to be outstanding. My recommendation is to sit down for a drink to enjoy the views and then choose another place to eat in the lower part of town.

The best views

From Edinburgh Castle you can get one of the best views of the city, but where can you see and photograph the castle itself? My recommendation is from The Vennel steps, located in the lower part of the city at the end of a narrow lane linking Grassmarket and Heriot Place.

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If you're interested in visiting Edinburgh Castle, you might also be interested in

Beautiful scenery at Loch Ness| ©Joao De Almeida
Beautiful scenery at Loch Ness| ©Joao De Almeida

If you're a fan of castles and stories of wars, battles, betrayals and warring kingdoms, I'm sure Scotland will prove to be an ideal place for your holiday. It's true that Edinburgh Castle is one of the most important and best preserved fortresses you'll see in the country, but it's not the only one.

With a trip (I recommend you organise it) to the Scottish Highlands from Edinburgh you'll see many other medieval castles that will give you a clearer idea of the country's historical past. It is the ideal complement to your visit to Edinburgh and you can find day trip options in this article on Loch Ness and other Loch Day Trips from Edinburgh.

Book your visit to Edinburgh Castle