When a person thinks about Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, many great images enter the mind. Lush green fields, an endless flow of world-class whiskey, the sounds of bagpipes off in the distance, and of course, the large number of architecturally magnificent historical castles, dotted across the land.
These castles don’t just offer the chance to appreciate great architecture, but also open a portal into the past, providing one with a number of fantastic stories. Everything from the Stone of Destiney, to the Scottish Crown Jewels, to the difficult life of Mary, Queen of Scots, these structures offer endless tales and top class views to each and every visitor.
The castles of Edinburgh are relatively close together, making it possible to easily plan your daily schedules. To achieve the full Edinburgh experience, be sure to stay in one of the many cosy cottages that The Old Town has to offer. Three castles that should definitely make it onto your must see list include Edinburgh Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace, both walking distance through the Royal Mile, as well as Craigmillar Castle, which is just a short cab ride away.
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress, built on top of an extinct volcano. Besides a number of sparkly treasures housed within, this castle also offers unbelievable views of most of New Town, including the famous Balmoral Hotel and the colourful Princes Street Gardens. Inside the fortress you’ll find the Scottish Crown Jewels as well as the most prized treasure of the land, the Stone of Destiney, which was used in the coronation ceremonies for many centuries.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, situated at the end of the Royal Mile, is the official residence of the Queen, when she visits Scotland. If it is good enough for the queen, it is good enough for anyone. This beautiful palace was the royal residence for a number of successive kings and queens throughout history. This castle is a must see for all art lovers, thanks to the legendary Great Gallery, home to a number of Jacob de Wet’s portraits of real, as well as legendary, kings of Scotland.
Found a short three miles out of the city centre, Craigmillar Castle is home to one of the most perfectly preserved medieval strongholds. Besides the breathtaking views of the surrounding gardens and parklands, this castle also has some dark stories attached to it. It is said that it’s within those walls that the death of Queen Mary of Scots’ husband, Lord Darnley, was plotted. Who doesn’t love the amazing soap opera like history attached to the land.
By Jason Swindon