Visiting Edinburgh Castle with Kids

Edinburgh Castle

During our recent visit to Scotland, Hubby and I both agreed that one of our must-visit places just had to be Edinburgh and at the top of our list was Edinburgh Castle.

The castle is in the middle of the city, on top of an extinct volcano, 135 metres above sea level and offers a panoramic view over Edinburgh.

Researching prices I decided to buy an Explorer Pass which is a flexible, convenient and cost-effective way to experience 77 of Scotland’s great historic attractions. In fact it cost me just £48 for a five-day family pass which was £5 cheaper than paying to get into Edinburgh Castle itself.

We parked at the base of Edinburgh Castle which cost an eye-watering £25 for the day and is something I wish I had researched better, but it also meant less walk for little legs up a fairly steep hill, followed by steps.

Edinburgh Castle

Having an Explorer pass also meant that we skipped the queue of people waiting to purchase tickets, so we got inside almost straight away and were greeted with fantastic views from the battlements over the New Town to the Firth of Forth.

Edinburgh Castle

At the far end of Mills Mount Battery is the famous One O’Clock Gun. Crowds gather from around 12.30 to watch the gleaming field gun fire an ear-splitting time signal at exactly 1pm (every day except Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday). Despite knowing it was coming I still jumped out my skin, but it is well worth waiting around for and the kids loved it.

One O'Clock Gun

Although you can take guided tours, we chose to explore on our own, scrambling up and down stone steps, clambering upon cannons and enjoying everything the castle had to offer.

Edinburgh Castle

Everything is well signposted although you can purchase an audio guide in order to get the history behind the rooms if you choose. Our favourites included the Great Hall with all the armoury inside, the spooky dungeons with hammocks hung closely together and the strongroom housing the Honours of Scotland (the Scottish crown jewels), which are among the oldest surviving crown jewels in Europe.

Edinburgh Castle Dungeons

Our visit to Edinburgh Castle helped piece our entire visit to Scotland together as these were mentioned in several places we visited including Dunnottar Castle, where the Honours had been hidden during the invasion by Cromwell.

Edinburgh Castle

If visiting with young children I would advise that much of the castle has cobbled streets and hills to navigate which would be tricky to manoeuvre a buggy across and to get the best experience, there are also lots of steps to tackle, so I would recommend taking a baby carrier, but there are baby changing facilities and a child-friendly cafe.

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51 thoughts on “Visiting Edinburgh Castle with Kids

  1. Kel says:

    We loved Edinburgh castle when we visited last year – I dont know why climbing on the cannons is such a great source of joy for the kids but it really does seem to be!
    I remember nearly pulling into that car park before spotting the prices and driving swiftly off! To be fair though, I just ended up getting lost and stressed trying to find another car park, wasted time in the car and only saved a couple of quid so I half wish I’d just taken the cost on the chin to begin with!

  2. Vlad says:

    I adore Edinburgh and even though I went there twice, I still haven’t been inside the castle, it felt too expensive. I need to go next time! #citytripping
    Vlad recently posted…A Weekend In Valencia…With KidsMy Profile

  3. I can’t believe we’ve never visited Edinburgh Castle. It looks like so much fun! So many interesting little details… x

  4. Some great tips here. We haven’t visited Scotland since becoming parents, but it’s somewhere I’d love to go back to. Looks like a great place to explore, might not park in the car park though! #CountryKids

  5. I’ve visited Edinburgh for work on a number of occasions but I can’t ever remember going to the castle. This could well be on our list this year as we are thinking of a visit in the Summer. Will try to avoid the carpark though! Stopping by from #CountryKids
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…Making Elephant Lanterns for WWF Earth HourMy Profile

  6. I’ve visited Edinburgh many times as my husband is from the city and do you know what, I still haven’t had a proper look inside the castle. But we do love Edinburgh very much.
    Your Explorer Pass sounds excellent value – pity about the car park price – that’s eye-watering!
    #citytripping
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  7. Despite having been to Edinburgh several times, I’ve never yet visited the castle. It looks like such an interesting place to explore although the parking sounds very expensive! Good tip though about the Explorer Pass – that sounds like very good value for money. #countrykids

  8. Emma Raphael says:

    I just can’t get over the gorgeous weather you had! Lots of great tips here, thank you. We hope to visit later this year! #citytripping
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  9. Thanks for the tips re using a carrier – I haven’t been to the castle since pre-baby days and had forgotten all the steps and cobbles! #ThePlacesWeWillGoLinky

  10. Cindy says:

    Great post! I loved visiting Edinburgh Castle years ago and would love to go back with my son. It’s an amazing place and the view is incredible. The Explorer Pass sounds like a great value. #CityTripping
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  11. Cindy says:

    Great post! I loved visiting Edinburgh Castle years ago and would love to go back with my son. It’s an amazing place and the view is incredible. The Explorer Pass sounds like a great value.

  12. What amazing place to visit. Great post

  13. I really enjoyed visiting Edinurgh castle, so much history oozing out of its walls. Look forward to returning one day with kids. The Explorer Pass sounds great value…unlike the car parking! Sounds worse than London! #citytripping

  14. Ah, my home town! I love the castle, we have lifetime membership which we use whenever we get back, to just pop in and have a wander 🙂 Fabulous views out over Edinburgh too. Parking in town is expensive, but public transport is excellent, so definitely worth leaving the car and hopping on a bus into the city centre. Loved reading this! #countrykids
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  15. jo says:

    I remember visiting the Castle myself as a child and watching the gun salute. We have returned many times since including with our own children. Edinburgh is such a family friendly place to visit. Thanks for sharing with #citytripping

  16. A great day out – a definite place to go on a trip to Edinburgh. #citytripping

  17. Ive loved your photos on Instagram about your trip to Edinburgh. I haven’t been since I was a child so definitely time to return.

  18. Susan Mann says:

    You know I’ve never been here. I love castles, but never been to Edinburgh. Always got distracted by something else in Edinburgh. Parking anywhere in Edinburgh is so expensive. We tend to get the train in. Must visit here soon x

  19. Susan Mann says:

    You know I’ve never been here. I love castles, but never been to Edinburgh. Always got distracted by something else in Edinburgh. Parking anywhere in Edinburgh is so expensive. We tend to ge the train in. x

  20. Sonia says:

    I think my kids would think the gun fire was the best thing ever! We love castles so this is definitely on our to do list when we get up to Scotland. Thanks for linking up to #ThePlaceWeWillGoLinky xx
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  21. Sabina Green says:

    Oh I do love castles!! I haven’t been that far north since I was a wee small child so I definitely want to take my brood to Scotland in the future and will be adding Edinburgh Castle to the list for when we go.
    Sabina Green recently posted…Our Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2017 HighlightsMy Profile

  22. Emma says:

    I’ve never been to Edinburgh, but I really want to visit. I’ll have to remember about the pricey parking. I hate forking out for things like that.
    Emma recently posted…Siblings raised differentlyMy Profile

  23. Lilinha says:

    I love visiting castles as I find them so magical. Edinburgh castle looks fantastic! 🙂
    Lilinha recently posted…What to do in London this weekend: Peculiar Happenings at Ripley’s Believe it or Not!My Profile

  24. Clair says:

    I spy my work in your photos. I am very lucky to have such an amazing view out my window. Sounds like you had a fun filled day!

  25. MrsS says:

    Really lovely photos. I absolutely love Edinburgh especially at Christmas time. We visited for a little mini moon with our eldest daughter just after we got married- so I have such fond memories. Thanks so much for sharing. #CountryKids

  26. I can’t believe how extortionate the car parking was!! I haven’t been to Edinburgh since I was a young girl, but I think my two would love the castle – especially if they could see the guns being fired too.
    #countrykids

  27. Emma says:

    Edinburgh castle is such a beautiful one. I love the way it towers over the rest of the city and the Royal Mile walk up to it is so historic as well. It’s been 10 years since I visited but now I’m desperate to go back!
    Emma recently posted…How to ski Chamonix, Mont Blanc – FranceMy Profile

  28. Lovely photos. The castle looks very beautiful. It is usually safer to go with a baby carrier than a buggy on most tours.

  29. Janet T says:

    That’s amazing that the Explorer ticket was less than the castle entry. Pity about the parking charge. #ThePlacesWeWillGoLinky

  30. This is such a gorgeous castle. I’ve seen it from afar but not up close and this post has definitely made me want to go and properly explore it! Kat x
    Kat Eat.Love.Live recently posted…Review: Bottomless Brunch At Tootoomoo, London (To Tickle Your Pan Asian Tastebuds)My Profile

  31. I loved visiting last summer. We had a very rainy day and were dashing between the buildings. It looks like you had great weather though and fun seeing everything the castle offered! #countrykids

  32. This looks fantastic – the explorer pass sounds like great value for money too – top tip! Thanks for sharing #countrykids

  33. Ness says:

    We loved visiting Edinburgh Castle when we went last year. I jumped as well when the gun was fired! We got in free as we have an English Heritage family membership and it covers certain properties in Scotland as well. As we stayed in Leith we bought a day family bus ticket to avoid taking the car into the city centre.
    Ness recently posted…Finance Fridays – Splitting train ticketsMy Profile

  34. What an amazing castle especially when you get to the top with those amazing views over the city. We have Edinburgh high up on our list of places to visit this year. Boo to the £25 parking though x
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  35. Sonia Cave says:

    Gorgeous views and it looks an amazing place….can’t believe the parking!! #countrykidsfun
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  36. Blimey that car parking charge is horrendous! Somewhere I’d love to visit one day, will remember the pass idea, sounds like a great saving #CountryKids
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  37. Seeing this post has made me even more excited about our trip to Scotland this year, Edinburgh Castle looks like a fantastic place to visit and I will try and remember to look into parking before we go!
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  38. Jen says:

    I adore Edinburgh, and living just down the road from it, I recently considered visiting the castle. My little boy has been learning about castles at school. We chose Bamburgh instead. Maybe should have headed North instead. The parking around that part of the city is very expensive. I can recommend parking further out and getting transport in, as Edinburgh has a good system. Trams and buses.

  39. Cathy Glynn says:

    I am so jealous it looks amazing. Sadly we had to cancel our trip to Scotland a few weeks ago due to illness and we were so looking forward to it x
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  40. Coombe Mill says:

    You make Edinburgh Castle look so inviting on a lovely sunny day like this. I am embarrassed to admit that despite my Scottish heritage I’ve never been to Edinburgh, I blame my parents growing up! If we ever manage a Scottish holiday it would be a must, I love the look of how family friendly it is, so long as you don’t have a buggy on all those cobbles and steps! The views look wonderful as does the Great Hall and dungeons.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Coombe Mill recently posted…Country Kids 4th MarchMy Profile

  41. Natalia says:

    I need to visit the castle. I’m waiting for summer although you got an awesome sunny day as well! great pictures x
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  42. Laura says:

    Edinburgh castle is amazing – I used to Live in Edinburgh and see the castle everyday – such a beautiful sight right in the heart of the city. So good to see you had a nice time
    Popping over from Country Kids

    Laura x

  43. karen says:

    Why does parking have to be such a rip off? That’s extortionate. Looks like a lovely day out though and fab vies x
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  44. That Explorer pass sounds a great deal, definitely one to keep in mind. Ouch to the parking though. I loved Edinburgh Castle when I visited years ago, would be so fun to go back with my daughter. #countrykids
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  45. Love the photo of the firing canon – looks like you had a great day. I visited Edinburgh Castle many years with friends and the views were beautiful. xx
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  46. Lindsey says:

    Great photos, for a magical adventurous day
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  47. Alex says:

    The firing cannon was caught by you? Great photo shoot 🙂 🙂

  48. Skye says:

    I’m going to Edinburgh for three weeks in the summer, so I’ll definitely have to save a day to go see the castle. It looks like you all had an awesome time!

  49. Lydia says:

    I actually stopped dead when you mentioned the £25 car parking charge! After reading that when we go I think we will be either parking on the outskirts or using public transport from wherever we are staying. Lovely photo’s, and what a beautiful family you have.

  50. Jon says:

    Looks like you had a fantastic time! I remember going here has a child with my parents and loving it!

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