Within the confines of the Castle, there is so much to see you should plan to spend the best part of a day to take it all in. It was the seat (and regular refuge) of Scottish Kings, and the historical apartments include the Great Hall, which now houses an interesting collection of weapons and armour.
The Royal apartments include a tiny room in which Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to the boy who was to become King James VI of Scotland and James 1 of England ( well portrayed by Robert Carlisle in Gunpowder, Treason & Plot ) upon the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. The ancient Honours of Scotland - the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State - are on view in the Crown Room. Nearby is the Scottish National War Memorial, a building designed and created shortly after the First World War; a moving experience for most visitors.
Edinburgh Castle is also the home of the One O'Clock Gun. This is fired every day except Sunday at precisely 1.00pm to provide everyone with an accurate check for their clocks and watches. If you are anywhere near the Castle at one o'clock the noise can be quite startling. It scares loads of flocks of pidgeons on a daily basis so look out if you are in Princes Street Gardens below.
The Castle Esplanade is the venue of the world-famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the annual occasion on which, over a period of three weeks in August ( 5th - 27th August in 2005 ), the Army presents a lively programme of music, marching and historical re-enactments under floodlights before large and very appreciative audiences. If you cant make any of the performances you can watch on a live webcam but only during the 3 weeks of the Edinburgh International Festival.
The oldest building in all Edinburgh is to be found within the Castle precincts.It is St. Margaret's Chapel, a tiny Norman building which has been intact for more than 900 years. It has survived all the sieges and bombardments to which the fortress on the rock was subjected during that period. On several occasions the castle was razed - but the demolishers invariably spared the chapel of the good St Margaret because of its religious significance. Today, members of the castle garrison still have the right to be married within the Chapel.
Before leaving the Esplanade, have a look in the north-east corner for a small iron wall-fountain; it is popularly known as the Witches' Well, and it commemorates the grim fact that, centuries ago, many women held to be guilty of witchcraft were put to death at the stake on this spot. Time has shown that (most of) these womem were probably only guilty of being old, unwilling to co-operate with the unwanted advances of the men in power, unfortunate of looks, or slow witted.
To the north, between the Castle and the Firth of Forth, visitors have a great view of Edinburgh's new town and all the famous architecture therein. ( note must do a wee page on the new town sometime ). To the east, below the Castle ramparts the Old Town spreads out before you. Although it has many 'gift shops' selling dubious 'scottish artifacts' the Old town is a wonderful place to walk and soak in the history of "Auld Reekie" ( another page is calling ).information and pictures provided by All links this colour