We bought tickets online last night for entrance to the castle around noon. Our hotel is on the newer side of Edinburgh; the walk back up to the castle takes us over the North Bridge with a view out to the North Sea.
That structure to the left is on Calton Hill.
When we ventured down to the Castle late yesterday, there was understandably not that big a crowd, but looking ahead of me down the Royal Mile to the Castle showed a much larger crowd. I’d bought tickets online last night, so all we had to do was go to the ticket collection booth, put in our confirmation number and out popped the tickets, saving us a British tradition, queuing.
We spent a bit over 2 1/2 hours at the Castle and didn’t go thru every exhibit. You could likely spend the entire day here. It’s a large exhibition, with long, long history. The castle complex includes not only the original castle, but also war memorials as well as the Scottish Honors (Crown Jewels of the Kings of Scotland). Due to its strategic location, there’s been a fortification here since the Roman era (2nd century AD).
Castle Hill provides a sweeping view of the city out to the North Sea
There’s so much history, over such a long time, it’s best to read this article to get a sense of the people and events. We bought a book.
We joined the crowd to view the Scottish Honors (Scottish Crown Jewels) including the Stone of Scone. No photos allowed, sorry. Their history and rediscovery, would make a novel and in fact, Sir Walter Scott the great Scottish novelist and antiquarian led the effort of their rediscovery.
There were some other exhibitions we didn’t have time to visit.
We left the Castle to find Greyfriars Kirk (church) which celebrates its 409th anniversary next year, where is said that some of my wife’s Scottish ancestors rest. We cannot be sure of this, but visited the extensive cemetery and the Kirk. Greyfriars is notable as part of the very real religious battles over Protestantism and Catholicism and the place where the national covenant was signed in 1638.
Although late in the day, we walked towards Holyroodhouse Palace, but decided once there that there was not enough time left before closing to justify going in. We hope to make it tomorrow. It’s only a mile back to the hotel!