10 Must-See Castles In Edinburgh (And The Surrounding Areas)

An old city that’s known for its historic districts, interesting landscape, an assortment of architectural wonders reflected in its many attractions – Edinburgh doesn’t disappoint. Home to one of the most recognizable and picturesque castles in the world, this city is more than just that castle on a rock. There’s at least a couple more within the city and more in the surrounding areas, all within easy access by bus train or bike. Consider this list of best castles in Edinburgh, within and around the city that you simply must visit. Each with a distinct personality but all equally stunning.

10 Must-See Castles In Edinburgh (And The Surrounding Areas)

1. Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle Scotland

Situated on one end of the Royal Mile and perched dramatically on a rock is the Edinburgh Castle. Regarded as one of the most popular castles in Scotland, this one was built in the 12th century where a fortress once stood since the Iron Age. Hike up the castle rock, cycle or drive up to a certain spot, and spend a day exploring as there’s a lot to see here.

Managed by Historic Scotland, the castle is crammed with museums and exhibits. Be sure to check out the elaborate Great Hall, the Stone of Destiny, and the Crown Jewels. The castle also offers the best views over Edinburgh where you get to see most of its other attractions so make sure you bring a camera as you plan where to go next. The castle is also one of the top things to do in Edinburgh.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Admission Fee

Ticket type Gate price Online price
Adult (16-59yrs) £19.50 £17.50
Concession (60yrs+ and unemployed)* £16.00 £14.00
Child (5-15yrs) £11.50 £10.50

Contact Information

Address:

Castle Hill,
Edinburgh,
City Of Edinburgh,
EH1 2NG

Phone: +44 (131) 225 9846

Email: customer@hes.scot

2. Palace of Holyroodhouse

Holyroodhouse Castle Edinburgh

Located within a short walking distance from the city center is the luxurious Palace of Holyroodhouse. It is the official residence of the queen in Scotland and opens to the public all year round. It is known for its elaborate rooms which you should check out when you visit, particularly the King’s bedchamber and Mary Queen of Scots’ Chamber.

Holyroodhouse is situated at the very end of the Royal Mile and is a must-visit not just for hours but days because there’s plenty to see. It also has a beautiful garden where you can relax after exploring Holyroodhouse and nearby is another must-see, the 12th-century Holyrood Abbey.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Admission Fee

Palace of Holyroodhouse Royal Visit*
Over 60/ student £13.50 £22.00
Under 17 / Disabled £8.70 £14.70
Under 5 Free Free
Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s) £38.70 £63.70

Contact Information

Address:

Palace of Holyroodhouse,
Canongate, Royal Mile,
Edinburgh,
Lothian,
EH8 8DX

Phone: +44 (0)303 123 7306

Email: bookinginfo@rct.uk

3. Craigmillar Castle

craigmillar castle

Located in a less touristy area which can be reached via a 20-minute bus ride from the city center, Craigmillar is often referred to as the ‘other Edinburgh Castle’. This structure gives visitors an insight into how Scotland castles developed over the centuries. Built in the 14th century, the castle has a dominant stone tower house. Over the centuries, parts were either added or renovated. Craigmillar Castle was once home to the prominent Preston family, has links to Mary Queen of Scots and has an intriguing history. Certain parts of the castle are sadly in ruins, but it remains to be one of the best-preserved Medieval Castles in Scotland and definitely worth a visit.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Admission Fee

Member/Explorer Pass holder: FREE
Adult: £6.00
Concession: £4.80
Child aged 5-15: £3.60
Child under 5: FREE

Contact Information

Address:

Craigmillar Castle Road,
Edinburgh,
City Of Edinburgh,
EH16 4SY

Phone: +44 (131) 661 4445

Email:  customer@hes.scot

4. Crichton Castle

Crichton Castle

Located just 15 miles from Edinburgh’s city center is the somewhat desolate Crichton Castle. It was founded in the 1400s and originally belonged to the powerful Crichton family before it was turned over to the even more prominent Bothwell. The 4th Earl of Bothwell was the husband of Mary Queen of Scots, although it was a doomed marriage which soon led to the queen’s downfall.

With that bit of history associated with Crichton Castle, the structure is even located in a seemingly remote countryside. It looks even lovelier from the road and often compared to the Hermitage Castle, but it’s still a favorite location for cyclists, hikers and horseback riders as ita quite scenic and quiet.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Admission Fee

Member/Explorer Pass holder: FREE
Adult: £6.00
Concession: £4.80
Child aged 5-15: £3.60
Child under 5: FREE

Contact Information

Address: 

Crichton,
Pathhead,
Midlothian,
EH37 5XA

Phone: +44 (1875) 320017

Email:  customer@hes.scot

5. Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle

Situated on the banks of River Forth, Blackness Castle looks dark and imposing at first glance. This castle was built in the15th century and was a former residence of the Crichton family, that became a state prison for a time and eventually an artillery depot. Blackness Castle is also called by locals as ‘the ship that never sailed’, because of its strange shape that’s best seen from above.

Like most castles, Blackness has also survived brutal sieges and at present draws tourists because of it becoming a filming location for ‘Outlander’ and ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Admission Fee

Member/Explorer Pass holder: FREE
Adult: £6.00
Concession: £4.80
Child aged 5-15: £3.60
Child under 5: FREE

Contact Information

Address:

Blackness,
Linlithgow,
EH49 7NH

Phone: +44 (1506) 834807

Email:  customer@hes.scot

6. Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle

Dramatically resting on a hilltop is another must-visit near Edinburgh, the Tantallon Castle. Built in the 1400s, the castle has endured sieges and wars, and regarded by Historic Scotland as ‘ the last truly great castle built in Scotland’. This castle belongs to the Douglas family and has gone through renovations over the past centuries. Tantallon is also located near Seacliff beach, which offers a stunning perspective of the castle from the waters.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Admission Fee

Adult £ 6.00,

Child £ 3.60,

Senior £ 4.80

Contact Information

Address:

North Berwick,
East Lothian,
EH39 5PN

Phone: +44 (1620) 892 727

Email:  customer@hes.scot

7. Lauriston Castle

Lauriston Castle

Set inside a public park and free to visit, the pretty  Lauriston Castle has eclectic collections and quirky displays. The castle was built during the 15th century and has undergone many renovations since, where buildings were added and expansions were made.  Presently located inside a public park, Lauriston is best experienced with a guided tour and a visit to the nearby shoreline to enjoy some quiet time. Another thing you should check out from the castle grounds is the Tidal Island of Cramond.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Admission Fee

Adult: £5 (2pm tour); £8 (out of hours)
Concessions: £3 (2pm tour); £5 (out of hours)
Family (up to two adults and three children under 16): £12.50 (2pm tour)
Group (10+): £3 (2pm tour)

Contact Information

Address:

Lauriston Castle Edinburgh,
2a Cramond Road South,
Edinburgh,
EH4 5QD

Phone: +44 (131) 3362060

Email:  lauristoncastle@edinburgh.gov.uk

8. Dirleton Castle

Dirleton Castle

Adjacent to the stunning Tantallon is the atmospheric and brooding Dirleton Castle. Dating back to the 13th century when it was built,  Dirleton was a witness to much of Scottish history particularly during the Wars of Independence and Oliver Cromwell’s 1650 siege.

This magnificent ruin is located farther East from Edinburgh, and one of the most visited castles. A closer look at the imposing castle walls would tell you of the brutality this former stronghold had to suffer. Walkthrough the main gate and you can still imagine the fear and fury brought by those battles.

Spend time inside and explore what was left of the once-mighty Dirleton. Check out the massive kitchen, the pit prison, and the bedchambers. Better yet, watch out for the entertaining and knowledgeable guide that can take you through the castle’s history, with reenactments and storytelling.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Admission Fee

Adult: £6 per ticket

Child: £3.60 per ticket

Concession: £4.80 per ticket

Contact Information

Address: 

Dirleton Castle And Gardens,
North Berwick,
East Lothian,
EH39 5ER

Phone: +44 (1620) 850330

Email:  customer@hes.scot

9. Rosslyn Castle

Rosslyn Castle

Located near Rosslyn Chapel, Rosslyn Castle was said to have been constructed around the early 1300s, after the Battle of Roslin. The castle was the ancestral domain of the prominent St. Clair family and has undergone renovation and restoration over the centuries as it either got attacked or damaged by fire. It has French architectural influences evident on its round buttresses which can still be seen today.

The castle is now under the care of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, with the only sone of its parts open to visitors. Since the mid-1980s, Rosslyn Castle has been used exclusively as a holiday accommodation available for rent.

Opening Hours

Monday to Saturday – 9:30 AM to 5:00PM

Sunday – 12:00 PM to 4:45 PM

Admission Fee

single tickets cost just £1.60, while a full day’s pass will set you back just £4.00)

Contact Information

Address:

Chapel Loan,
Roslin,
Midlothian,
EH25 9PU

Phone: 0131 440 2159

Email:  mail@rosslynchapel.com

10. Dundas Castle

Dundas Castle

Picture perfect and situated just 8 miles from Edinburgh’s city center, the Dundas Castle is now a popular events venue and holiday accommodation. Dundas’ ‘auld keep’ was built in 1416, and served both as a residence and fortress.

The imposing main house was built in 1818, adjoined to the old keep. For the last century or so, Dundas Castle is owned by the Stewart-Clark family and has been exclusively used for events or accommodation.

It sits in a 1,000-acre estate in peaceful countryside, still open for those who wish to visit except when it’s booked for a function or as a temporary residence.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Contact Information

Address:

Edinburgh,
EH30 9SP

Phone: 0131 319 2039

Email:  enquiry@dundascastle.co.uk

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