As it was my first visit to Edinburgh and to Scotland, it was just appropriate to pay a visit to Edinburgh Castle, which is one of Scotland's most atmospheric sights. We already booked our tickets online even before we arrived, so it allowed us to skip the queue of people trying to buy a ticket at the entrance.
This castle is perhaps one of the oldest castles I have been to. Royalty have already made Edinburgh Castle their residence even back in the 11th century. And after the royal tenants left, the military took over, as the castle became a base for the British Army.
The castle is situated on a hill, and can be seen from almost every area of the city. In fact, it made a very good visual impression on my arrival, as we were sitting in the tram from the airport, the castle slowly came into view on our right side. It is such an interesting contrast on Princes Street when you see Primark on your left and the Edinburgh Castle on your right.
There are plenty of buildings situated inside the castle complex. Almost all of the buildings have the same dark and brooding stone motif. It is definitely not the cheeriest architectural feature, and this is seen all over Edinburgh, but for some reason it does have an interesting character. The pictures I have above show you several features of the castle, from various 16th-century gates, to guns, to chapels, to war memorials.
One of the oldest items I have seen in the castle is Mons Meg, pictured above. This is a medieval cannon, built in 1449, and weighs more than 6 tonnes. The calibre spans 20 inches, hence, the cannonballs this gun used were immensely huge.
I also checked out the interior. Since this is a medieval castle, the interior isn't as plush and extravagant as the French and Prussian palaces. The rooms are dark and wooden, simple and aged. I also saw a very old small chapel, St. Margaret's Chapel, which is said to be the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh.
We also saw the Scottish crown jewels, displayed inside a massive vault. Unfortunately, pictures are not allowed in that section. And finally, we also checked out the castle vaults, which were used as storerooms, bakeries, and a prison. These can be seen above.
Overall, we spent the whole morning in the castle, and as there were plenty of things to see, we were fully occupied. I do suggest getting a ticket ahead of time, as it would allow you to cut the queue.