Dark and foreboding, Edinburgh Castle presides over the city with a theatrical flair. Edinburgh Castle demands to be visited on a overcast day. If you happen to visit the city when it's experiencing warm temperatures and blue skies, go elsewhere and return when you can tour with the right ambiance. Luckily, we experienced the castle at dusk in the rain, giving the Historic Landmark it's proper tone.
The castle is built on top of an extinct volcano and archaeologist estimate that humans first settled on it during the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age. It is the oldest continuously occupied piece of land in Scotland. The castle was built by King David I around 1130.
We arrived very late in the day, giving us less than two hours to explore the castle. This is nowhere near enough time. If you visit, allow a minimum of half a day. In any case, we worked with the time we had and did a speed tour of the castle.
We took a few interior pictures of The Great Hall. The hall was enormous with high ceilings and filled with colorful stained-glass windows.
The walls of The Great Hall were adored with weaponry. We liked this sword/sunburst thing that looked straight out of A Game of Thrones.
Our time at Edinburgh Castle was a blur. We quickly ran to each section of the grounds in an attempt to take it all in.
My strongest memory was The Scottish War Memorial, housed in a building in the center of the castle grounds. The building is a new addition, having been built in 1927, but it is designed in a way to blend in with the rest of the castle. The interior feels like a church, with many small alcoves providing quiet spots for prayer and reflection. There are huge books that list military members that have died in combat. These books are sitting on stands and available for visitors to flip through. The building has different sections for the various branches of the military. The Scottish War Memorial is free of charge to the public if you contact the office in advance, otherwise it's part of the admission to the castle. I thought that this was a great perk, especially for military and military families.
We saw the Scottish Crown Jewels, which were a lot less showy than the English Crown Jewels. The collection contains the coronation jewels for Mary Queen of Scots.
The castle is purported to be haunted and although it was plenty creepy, we didn't see anything noting the superstition. Surprisingly, the prison area was the least creepy thing that we visited.
After touring the castle, we did a little bit of exploring on our way back to our car. I took a picture of a store called The Mutt's Nuts, because that's an expression that Dan frequently uses!
Out of all of the wonderful places that we visited on our UK trip, Edinburgh is my top place that I would want to visit again. We only spent a handful of hours in the city and it wasn't nearly enough to feel like visited it. Edinburgh was the mutt's nuts!