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TER MM Edinburgh Castle from Museum (1)

Edinburgh Castle

Towering over Princes Street and affording great views of the city to the north the Castle is worth a visit. Whether it is worth paying the price of the entrance fee (£16.00 at the time of writing) depends on your budget, but if you don’t want to pay this you can still get as far as the Castle Esplanade to enjoy the spectacular views over the city.

During the summer when the esplanade is taken over for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo this is a bit difficult to get on to, but for the rest of the year the castle  is accessible to the able-bodied and the not so able-bodied.

One of the more fascinating facts about the castle is that on during the night in early April 1916 two German airships the L14 and L22 dropped 23 bombs on Edinburgh and Leith. 13 people died ad 24 were injured.

All lights in the city were dimmed and traffic stopped with all lights on road vehicles extinguished as soon as the warning of the air raid was given. It is probably the case that the real target was the Forth Bridge, but in the event the airships followed the course of the Water of Leith from Leith Docks to Edinburgh.

A bomb landed on the roadway about 400 yards away from Edinburgh Castle. The Regalia of Scotland were removed from the Crown Room in Edinburgh Castle to one of the vaults to keep them safe. The Keeper of the Great Seal the Rt Hon T McKinnon Wood wrote to The Secretary of State for Scotland advising that the roof of the Crown Room could not be made bombproof without ‘considerable expenditure’.

The Crown Room was then closed to the public until the end of the war.

Historic Scotland run the castle and offer an Explorer Pass which may help to keep the costs down. More details here.

lauriston castleLauriston Castle

Tucked away in Barnton this castle is owned by the City of Edinburgh Council.

The Castle was beautifully decorated by the last owner, Mr W R Reid, between 1902 and 1919.  On a visit you will see his stunning collections of Blue John, a fluorspar mineral, found only in Derbyshire; sumptuous Eastern carpets and rugs; intricate line engravings and mezzotints; Crossley wool mosaics, mass-produced tapestry-like pictures; and southern Italian furniture.

There is a lovely café in the garden too!

In the entrance hallway there is the most beautiful table which we saw on a visit earlier this year :

Set within an historic garden laid out by William Henry Playfair in the 1840s and overlooking the Firth of Forth and Cramond Island,  the views from the garden are magnificent. The award-winning Japanese Friendship garden, gifted by the prefecture of Kyoto, is a tranquil place to contemplate.

Hopetoun House

Situated just out of Edinburgh, this 6,500 acre property offers both a day outdoors and one spent exploring the inside of one Scotland’s finest stately homes. It has been home to the Hope Family since the late 17th century, where they still live to this day. The House is renowned for its contributions to farming, entertainment and business, and also makes a suitable venue for wedding receptions and sporting activities.

The property gives you the option of either visiting both the house and grounds (£9.85 for adults and £5.45 for children) or, for those on a stricter budget, visiting the grounds only (£4.55 and £2.80 respectively). For more information, click here.

Trinity House Maritime Museum

Situated in Leith, this striking Georgian House used to be the centre of the maritime community for centuries and is now home to a wide collection of maritime artifacts and memorabilia. Highlights include the Convening Room, a meeting room dominated by a magnificent mahogany table, along with many antique navigational instruments and portraits of naval officers, most significantly Sir Henry Raeburn’s Admiral Duncan. Further details on viewing (by appointment only) and information available here.

TER Holyrood Palace

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

Here you get two for the price of one as there is also Holyrood Abbey tucked behind the Palace. If you keep your entrance ticket then it can be reused for a year as long as you register it before you leave the palace.

The Café at the Palace is one of our favourite hangouts with great soups and scones. The Queen’s Gallery in the former Holyrood Free Church and Duchess of Gordon’s School right at the gate to the palace was opened in 2002 and the exhibitions there change regularly.

If you are part of a group then you can arrange a private morning visit before the crowds get in by clicking here or a private evening visit to the Queen’s Gallery by clicking here.

All tickets purchased directly from Royal Collection Trust can be converted into a 1-Year Pass, giving 12 months’ complimentary admission to the site you have visited (which in Edinburgh includes the Royal Yacht Britannia)  Terms and conditions apply. Read more.