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Exploring Edinburgh Castle

During our first wedding anniversary trip to Edinburgh a month or so ago, we visited Edinburgh Castle. I’d actually been there once before but I was very unlikely to remember any of it – I was in my mum’s tummy when she was pregnant with me, 30 years ago! If you visit Edinburgh, the castle is almost always in sight, standing proud up on the hill in the centre of the city. We headed up there one morning and I was blown away by the amount of things to see and do within the castle (almost quite literally, it was a rather windy day!).

After exploring some of the grounds, we ventured into the Regimental Museums, to the tune of bagpipes, where we learned about the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

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Next we headed into my favourite (although perhaps the most dark) part of the castle, the prison. There’s a short video of it here:

The first prisoners were French privateers captured in 1758 soon after the outbreak of the Seven Years War, but over the years, the prison held prisoners from many countries, including France, America, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Denmark and Poland. The museum has many of the original wooden doors and you can see where the prisoners carved their names and messages into them.

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We also had the chance to see the Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny,  a powerful and ancient symbol of Scottish monarchy, witnessing the coronation of its kings for hundreds of years. I didn’t get photos of these, for obvious reasons but they were all quite a sight to behold.

I also really enjoyed visiting the Royal Palace and Great Hall, they were just spectacular! This is where Mary Queen of Scots, gave birth to future king James VI in in 1566.

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Back outside we were particularly amused by ‘Mons Meg’ given its name, one of the greatest guns in medieval Europe –  it was capable of blasting a 150kg gunstone for 3.2km!

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And something else that made me smile, was the ‘cemetery for dogs’. It’s nice to see that the canine companions of the soldiers in the castle were well respected too. What with this and Greyfriars Bobby, it seems the Scots love their dogs 🙂

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We also spent some time at the National War Memorial, which was very peaceful and moving, commemorating the dead of both world wars and of military campaigns since 1945.

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If you’d like to pay the castle a visit (if you’re in Edinburgh, you’d be insane not to!) it costs £16.50 for adults, £13.20 for concessions and £9.90 for children (up to 15 years old). If you’d like more information, you can visit the official website here.

 

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