We took some friends to see Edinburgh Castle last Friday - and enjoyed fun in the sun in Scotland.
Edinburgh Castle sits high up on a volcanic tor (the old core of a volcano) right in the centre of the city of Edinburgh. It dominates the view and can be seen from all over the city.
The castle has quite an incredible history dating back over 1,000 years, has been through the wars, sieges and also acted as the royal residence in Scotland for hundreds of years.
Its actually quite big inside, with many different parts, displays and museums - so a visit to the castle can keep you easily entertained for a good number of hours.
It can be expensive to get into, but if you join historic environment Scotland, you can gain free entry - which is a bonus when you have a lot of kids in tow. We are members and go a few times a year with those couple of visits alone nearing covering our annual membership - never mind all of the other properties we can also visit for free throughout the UK.
The castle has also acted as a military barracks, and there are still soldiers based there today.
There are lots of cannons around, and they even fire one each day at 1pm. So wherever you are in Edinburgh, when you hear the bang, you know what time it is !
Its high perch in the city centre also gives it commanding views across all parts of the city, which is quite nice. The view above is the view looking west towards where I live.
I love this little part of the castle. Its a cemetery for the dogs of soldiers and regimental mascots. They have their own little resting place looking out over Princes Street and Princes Street gardens.
There are lots of statues around, including this British lion in front of the Scottish War Memorial.
And thats Earl Haig, from the first world war on the horse above.
And the beast of a cannon above is mons meg. Look at the size of the cannon balls it could hurl (in the bottom left) !
There is so much to see here, although you are not permitted to take pictures inside many of the displays.
Above is some of the barracks and a museum for one of the regiments based at the castle.
In the building above there are some royal residence rooms, and also a display showing the Scottish Crown Jewels.
And the building above is the Scottish War Memorial, which is just beautiful inside and out - with some ongoing maintenance work.
We were really lucky with the weather - which really added to the views all around.
The pic above shows the view looking North and a little to the east. Thats Princes Street gardens, with Princes Street just behind it which is the main street in the city.
The castle also has the usual other facilities, including a cafe, gift shop, toilets, etc.
The pic above is taken from higher up in the castle and looks down at the battery of cannons pointing north. Right in the far left you can see the 'one o'clock gun' - thats the one that gets fired daily at 1pm.
And here's a cannons view looking down the barrel from the half moon battery.
And thats the view of the half moon battery above.
Above is a view out from the front of the castle. The flat area in front of the castle is called the esplanade, and they construct a temporary stadium here each July so that they can hold the Edinburgh Military Tattoo each August - its a fantastic show to visit.
Above is another view of the outside of the Scottish War Memorial.
And more views from the castle walls.
Yet another statue in the grounds, a horse with the shield of Scotland.
And above is the grand entrance to the Scottish War Memorial.
The castle really is a great place, with a ton of things to see and do. If you get the chance - give it a go !
I originally posted this article on Hive Blog a few minutes before posting it here (link).
If you want to support important buildings, history and heritage in Scotland and the UK, then please consider the following:
For a reasonable annual membership price, both provide access to numerous historic properties across Scotland which are great for days out. Once you've been a member for more than a year you also got free access to other properties across England, Wales and Northern Ireland (including half price entry during your first year) - so its well worth the investment, plus its all for a good cause.