Another day, another Castle - this time Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. Although a ruin, its maintained and run by Historic Environment Scotland, so its safe to visit and you can get inside and into the rooms, and up on the walls. During covid you have to book, but you can book on the day (via their website). For info, there is not much parking there - so it is best to book.
Its quite an old castle, dating to the 1300s, and allegedly Mary Queen of Scots stayed there in 1566 - so has a royal connection. The Castle and the grounds are fairly big, so you could easily spend an hour or so there - and there is good room for kids to run around. It has a visitor/gift shop, and toilets, but no tea room/cafe (unless its just closed during the covid pandemic). There is a charge to get in unless you are a member (we are with English Heritage which after 2 years gives you free entry to all Historic Environment Scotland properties - its well worth it).
As you go into the main entrance of the Castle, you enter into a courtyard which has two large trees wither side of the door, which are quite stunning. With covid they are restricting visitor numbers so it was not busy. Even though - when we last visited before covid, it wasn't packed then either - which is nice.
There is some really nice masonry work around (as would be expected !) from a range of eras - all the way up to the 19th Century.
There is public park land on 3 sides of the castle, so its quite good for those looking for a long walk, or wanting to take a dog (I dont know if dogs are allowed in the castle though). On the south side of the castle you can still see the earth works of the ponds they had there - it must have been quite impressive in its day.
The various towers were quite spectacular - and its quite a big structure in general, with lots of areas, rooms and passageways to explore - with some fine views over Edinburgh and the Firth of Fourth to be had from the rooftops.
The sun was setting over Arthur's Seat (a hill in Edinburgh) as we were leaving - perfectly timed to add some atmosphere
All in all, its well worth the visit - thats the second time we've been and it wont be the last visit we make - well recommended.
If looking for more info or interested in visiting then check out their website (Historic Environment Scotland). An annual memberships is not overly expensive (especially for a family) and it also supports upkeep of all these nationally important properties - so worth considering. Our memberships give us loads of places to go each year, so for us its well worth the money.