I used my sweet innocent 'we are English Heritage members, can we purchase our tickets here' spiel and it worked like a charm!! So no waiting in line...woohoo! And to be honest, I would have been greatly disappointed if we would have waited in line. Not that Edinburgh Castle isn't great! But it is more of a military fortress rather than the fairytale castles that I so adore.
The views from the castle were incredible and luckily we had great weather while touring the castle. Being July, I was so amazed to be wearing a sweater and a scarf! Gotta love Scotland! The Castle is perched upon Castle Rock, which is a volcanic plug which is estimated to have risen some 350 million years ago. Archaeologists have found that early establishments formed on the rock sometime around the 2nd Century AD. It is quite a sight to see this large formation with such a castle a Edinburgh perched on top.
There were some very interesting sites throughout the castle such as St. Margaret's Chapel, Mons Meg, the dog cemetery, the Scottish National War Memorial and the One O'clock Gun.
St. Margaret's Chapel
The chapel is actually the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh. Constructed around the early to mid 1100s, this chapel was built to honor King David I's mother, St. Margaret. It was tiny but very interesting!
Mons Meg is a massive cannon that was constructed in 1449 as a gift to King James II. It weighs over 13,000 pounds!!!
|BOOM!! (St.Margaret's Chapel in the background)|
|View from Mons Meg|
The dog cemetery....as a pet lover I loved this!! They have a special cemetery for the canine military members. What a privilege for these special little pups! It has been in use since the 1840s.
The Scottish National War Memorial
This is where the soldiers had been making their way to (see the picture at the top). The guards change every so often and they protect this War Memorial. No photos are allowed inside out of respect for the fallen. I so wish I could have taken photos because this was actually my favorite part of the castle. There were two long corridors with large books that contained the names of all Scottish soldiers lost in war dating back to the First World War. In the center, there is a large oak carving of St. Michael. It is absolutely breath taking. Here are a few photos from the exterior.
One O'clock Gun
Every day at 13:00, this gun below is fired. For what reason? I didn't pay attention so I'm sorry. I was more concerned with standing next to the guys that alerted everyone to the time for the gun!! But I do know that this has been happening every year since 1861!
|Everyone waiting for the gun|
So overall, yes, if you are in Edinburgh you should visit the castle!! But would I make a special trip to Edinburgh just for the castle? I think not! But is Edinburgh really awesome anyways? You bet!
Happy Travel Tuesday!