Best time to visit Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle 2023-2024

A stunning historic fortress is an unmissable attraction on your visit to the Scottish capital

Best time: all year round

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

The ancient fortress found in the very heart of Scotland is striking with its superb architecture and rich history. Its location on the Castle Rock is unique not only for overlooking beautiful panoramas of Edinburgh. Archaeologists claim the area has been populated by humans since at least the Iron Age, or the 2nd century AD, while the castle itself has been guarding the city since the 12th century. Through ages, Edinburgh Castle has withstood wars and survived a range of sieges and occupations. Once a royal residence and today a museum and a National War Memorial, it remains the most iconic landmark in Scotland and tourists' favourite.

The site teems with visitors all year round, so you have to be smart while planning your visit. To beat the queues, you should purchase your tickets online. While buying the tickets, check out some special offers such as Explorer Pass or Membership—you'll save your money by getting unlimited access to top Scotland's attractions. A good idea is booking a guided tour as exploring with a guide ensures you hear amusing legends of the castle and won't miss a thing.

Edinburgh Castle is open to the public all year. Operating hours fall into summer and winter seasons. April to September the site is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm, while October through March it operates from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Note that the last entry is an hour before the actual closure. Summer is better for more comfortable weather, but it's also the busiest time. Whereas winter is less crowded, however, the weather is less amiable for sightseeing. So it's up to your priorities what time to choose for a visit.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Edinburgh Castle?

It is highly recommended that you visit Edinburgh Castle in summer or early fall to enjoy better weather and fewer crowds. You can buy your tickets in advance online to avoid queues, as this is a highly sought after attraction in Scotland. Show more

Where can I purchase tickets for Edinburgh Castle?

Historic Scotland website is where you can buy tickets for Edinburgh Castle online. To avoid long queues, you can alternatively purchase them at the ticket office. Ordering online has its advantages, as you are entitled to special offers and discounts for accessing multiple attractions. Show more

What special offers are available for tourists visiting Edinburgh Castle?

Visitors of Edinburgh Castle can take advantage of special offers like the Membership Pass for free access to over 70 attractions in Scotland or the Explorer Pass, providing Scotland's top attractions' unlimited access for three days. These passes also come with discounts on audio guides, car park, cafés and shops and discounted admissions for friends and family. Show more

How long is a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle?

Edinburgh Castle's guided tour could take you through a journey lasting between 30 to 60 minutes. The tour provides insight into the castle's history, architecture, and events that took place within its walls. You'll also hear a few amusing legends about the fortress. You can use the guided tour to navigate through crowds of visitors and ensure you don't miss out on any significant scene or event. Show more

What is the historical significance of Edinburgh Castle beyond its use as a fortress?

Edinburgh Castle has a rich history of serving as a royal residence, fortress, and now, a museum. The castle houses the Scottish National War Memorial, which honors personnel who died fighting during the First World War or later, serving as a remembrance center for Scotland, as well as the famous Stone of Destiny. The stone was used for the inauguration of Scottish kings and now enjoys legal protection under Scottish law. Show more

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