E is for Edinburgh Castle

I headed to Edinburgh and decided to make use of the Park & Ride. I’m not a big fan of buses, or any kind of public transport for that matter, but it seemed like a good way to get in to the centre of a city I know nothing about. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Park & Ride took me three leaflets to figure out, and when I got to the centre, the road I was meant to get off on was closed so I ended up somewhere else. That meant I was the wrong side of the castle, and I walked all the way round the entire thing before I found the door. Gate. Drawbridge. Whatever.

It was very pretty when I did though.

I had pre-booked my ticket which meant I got to skip the queue. It wasn’t too bad a queue – their website makes it sound much worse – but it was a Thursday morning, so not exactly prime time. I dread to think what it’s like on a Saturday, in the summer holidays.

The first thing that struck me when I got inside was how castles really are made up of regular buildings. It looked like a normal street but within the castle walls. I’ve seen Robin Hood, and I’ve read plenty of castle-related books, but I’d not seen it in real life. It was fascinating to see all the buildings, labelled up with who would have lived there.

You can wander round some of the nooks and crannys, get up close to the cannon, and peer over the battlements. There are a few places where you can get some stunning views of Edinburgh. Truly gorgeous. My one complaint is that it was crazy windy, so I didn’t stay on the tall bits any longer than I had to. Once you step down behind the walls, though, you couldn’t tell any of the weather except the sun ahead. I suppose that is the point of a castle, isn’t it? Protection from armies, from arrows, and… the wind.

I was a big fan of the fact that photography is very welcome in most of the castle, with just a few places off limits. One of those was the Scottish Crown Jewels exhibition. It was a nice exhibit, which was supposed to take you 25 minutes to get around, but I raced through it. I wanted to see the sparkly things. They are very sparkly! But I’m afraid I have no photos. Apologies for that.

The two other bits of the castle I found fascinating were the well, which seemed such an awful way to have to get water. Everyone in the castle, drawing water from this one well, which had a sign saying there was no way it kept up with demand in ye olden days. Drawing water from a well that might not have any water is even worse!

(As a side note, I had to wait for about ten minutes to get that picture with no people in it. The well was a very popular point of the castle, despite being quite small. I waited and waited, and finally took my chance. A little boy was running towards the well and I pretty much shouted: “Waiiiiiit.” Yay for a photo empty of tourists though.)

The cannons were also an interesting sight. There was one particular section, a quarter-circle of cannon pointing out over the city, that just brought history to life in my head.

Most of the castle did that, actually. Strolling the streets, I could just imagine people hurrying around, messages going to the King or Queen, warriors on horseback being dispatched, people opening up market stalls and fires breaking out. I suppose it is all down to reading Pillars of the Earth very recently, as that takes place in castles and the like in the 12th Century. There was an audio tour available for a few extra pounds but I didn’t want to take it because I didn’t want to ruin the image in my head.

I very much enjoyed visiting Edinburgh Castle and would recommend it to all, but be warned. There are lots of tourists also enjoying the attraction. It gets busy. Try going on a Thursday.

7 thoughts on “E is for Edinburgh Castle

  1. Edinburgh castle is awesome. I haven’t been in it for years but it is an incredible place. I don’t remember the well but considering the castle sits on a volcanic plug a long way above the water table I am amazed they could get any water from a well. Unsurprisingly it is solid rock under the castle and they would need a long rope on their bucket to get to natural water.

    Did someone tell you to put your fingers in your ears at 1pm. Every day at that time they fire a cannon. This is done to let ship’s captains set their clock. There is also a ball or something similar on top of a building near the docks that shoots up a tower at the same time.

  2. I’ve never been to Edinburgh, but I’d really like to go (on a day when it isn’t too windy!).

    It’s Scotland. It’s always windy and usually raining as well.

  3. Did you get a chance to explore the city at all? It really is a lovely city too (although, of course, also quite windy).

    I did get a bit of a look around and it all seemed quite nice. I mostly saw tourist areas though, so lots of tartan and a man playing the bagpipes. I was a bit stressed out about finding the right bus so probably wasn’t paying as much attention as I could have.

  4. I like Edinburgh, at least the tourist bits I saw anyway. I was there for Hogmanay a few years ago and they have a big street party, it was brilliant with live music and fireworks launched from the castle at midnight (it looks like it was where your first photo was taken).
    We (my sister and I) went to the castle courtyard to look at the city but never went in, I always wondered what was inside!
    Scotland does suffer from a touch of buffeting..

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