In Edinburgh with Kids? You Need to See Edinburgh Castle

Wondering what to see in Edinburgh with kids? Learn why Edinburgh Castle is a must-see while visiting Edinburgh with Kids – and get some tips to make the most of your visit to this historic castle.

What to see in Edinburgh Castle - tips for visiting with kids!

This summer, Mike and I took the kids to Edinburgh for a month. It was a return home of sorts for Mike and I. We lived in Edinburgh for three years as graduate students at the University of Edinburgh, and our oldest daughter Emma was born in Edinburgh. It was a joy to return to this beautiful city after a decade away. One of the sites that we were  most excited to show our children was Edinburgh Castle, which we had loved visiting as students. The kids loved it so much that we visited several times. Today I’m sharing our favorite things to see in Edinburgh Castle – especially if you are visiting with kids.

What to See In Edinburgh Castle

Sitting on the top of an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle is a stunning landmark in Scotland’s capital city from dawn:

Edinburgh Castle at dawn - and tips for visiting this incredible historic site.

To dusk:

Edinburgh Castle at night - and tips on what to do when you visit!

Every day we were in Edinburgh, we climbed a set of 67 stairs to our flat. It was worth it for the view of the castle!

Tips for Visiting Edinburgh Castle with Kids

Walking up the Royal Mile to visit Edinburgh Castle - tips for your castle visit.

Tip #1: Wear Comfortable Shoes to Visit Edinburgh Castle

Be prepared to walk when you visit Edinburgh Castle! The castle is at the top of the Royal Mile. Holyrood Palace, where the Queen stays every summer, is at the other end of this mile-long street. Cars and buses drive along portions of the Royal Mile, but you have to walk the last bit.

Bagpipers are often found on the Royal Mile as you approach Edinburgh Castle

There are often bagpipers playing to cheer you along as you go. We saw this particular piper a couple of times, and he was our favorite musician of several from the summer:

Note: if you take videos of or photos with bagpipers, be sure to give them some money. This is how they get paid!

Tips for visiting Edinburgh Castle

Once you reach the top of the Royal Mile, there is still quite a bit of walking to do! This open space in front of the castle is where they hold the Edinburgh Tattoo every year. If you can time your visit to coincide with this event, I highly recommend attending!

Tip #2: Notice the Volcano!

Did you know that Edinburgh Castle stands on the plug of an extinct volcano? Find great tips for visiting with kids here.

Edinburgh Castle architecture is stunning, but make sure to notice the amazing rocks, too!

Tip #3: Take in the View

Edinburgh Castle affords an incredible view of the New Town

At the top of your climb, you are rewarded by an incredible view of Edinburgh’s New Town. Can you spot the trains leaving Waverly Station at the bottom of the Princes Street Gardens?

Tip #4: Visit the Oldest Building in All of Edinburgh

St. Margaret's Chapel and other sites to be sure to visit in Edinburgh Castle

St. Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest surviving building in all of Edinburgh! The chapel is tiny, but well worth a visit for the history and beautiful stained glass windows.

Tip #5: Learn Scottish History

In Edinburgh Castle you can visit the room where King James I was born in 1566. Be sure to check out more must-see Edinburgh Castle details in this post.

When you visit the Royal Palace, be sure to check out the Mary Room, where King James VI was born. This was a safe space for Mary Queen of Scots, who (with good reason) was concerned for her safety. The same building also has the Stone of Scone in the Crown Room.

Be sure to schedule your Edinburgh castle visit on a day when they have live reenactments! My kids LOVE these.

I highly recommend checking the official site to see if you can schedule your visit while a live reenactment is taking place. Besides hearing Mary, Queen of Scots speak (above), Johnny got to to be crowned King of Scotland by playing Robert the Bruce!

Tip #6: Capture the Scale of Edinburgh Castle

Take a photo that shows the scale of Edinburgh Castle to remember your visit. Find more tips for visiting with kids in this post.

Edinburgh Castle is a very imposing place! Be sure to take a photo like this one that captures the scale of the place before you go.

Tip #7: Be There for the One O’Clock Gun

The One O'Clock Gun still goes off every day at Edinburgh Castle. Time your visit to witness it in action!

The One O’Clock Gun goes off every day at 1pm. It is worth planning to be at the castle for this!

LOVES these tips for visiting Edinburgh Castle with kids.

There are some older canons that the kids will enjoy visiting as well.

This post only scratches the surface of what you can see in Edinburgh Castle. We recommend buying Historic Scotland passes, so that you can return over and over without having to pay for multiple tickets.

Have you ever been to Edinburgh Castle? What was your favorite part? If you’ve never been, what do you think you would enjoy most? Please share any photos you have on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

3 thoughts on “In Edinburgh with Kids? You Need to See Edinburgh Castle”

  1. I haven’t been, but I want to go.

    I’m trying to figure out what about Mary’s outfit feels off to me. Maybe it’s the black and red of the dress. Now I’m curious to look at portraits of her.

  2. Pingback: 25+ of the best castles to visit with kids - Explore More Clean Less

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