fun things to do with kids day trips edinburgh scotland   Travel for Kids
  | Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a fortress that sits on a pile of volcanic rock, and is visible throughout the city. Strategically situated, the castle was attacked over and over in wars between the Scots and English, and during the Jacobite rebellion. For centuries the Scottish crown jewels were stored at Edinburgh Castle, and secretly hidden here during World War II. The Stone of Destiny, the coronation rock of early kings and queens of Scotland, is now on display. Edinburgh Castle is a "must see" on any travels to Edinburgh with kids.
Edinburgh Castle Photo Album

Castle entrance While waiting in line, look up at the two statues. On the left is Robert the Bruce, on the right is William Wallace. In the center is the royal arms with the Scottish red lion, and Latin motto "Nemo me impune lacessit" which means "Attack me, and there will be consequences."


Scottish Crown Jewels (the Honours of Scotland) – The Scottish Crown Jewels – a sword, scepter and crown – are enduring symbols of the monarchy of Scotland. The crown jewels are on display, along with the Stone of Destiny (Stone of Scone), a large stone block originally used in coronation ceremonies for the Scottish monarchs. In the 13th century, the English captured the stone and took it to Westminster Abbey. The Stone remained in England for coronations; in 1996, the Stone of Destiny returned to Scotland.

    Start by walking through rooms with scenes portraying the exciting history of the Honours - Robert the Bruce crowned with a circlet of gold in 1306, James IV receives the sword in Holyroodhouse, Mary Queen of Scots crowned as a baby, last coronation in Scotland in 1651, saving the crown jewels from Cromwell and hiding them for 8 years, locked away for 111 years, the chest with the Honours is opened on Feb. 1818.
      Before entering the room with the Crown Jewels, kids can touch replicas of the crown, sword and scepter. The sword is big (4 1/2 feet long), plus its scabbard, decorated with dolphins and oak leaves. On top of the scepter is a huge rock crystal (rock crystals were mystical in the Middle Ages). The crown is circled with fleur de lis and crosses, ornamented with very large pearls and gold rosettes.
great hall

Great Hall Once a 16h century banqueting hall, later used as a barracks, the Great Hall is perfect to display scads of arms and armor - swords, pikes, pistols from the 16th - 19th century (on loan from the Tower of London royal armory). The Victorian stained glass windows are adorned with heraldic coats of arms.


David’s Tower Step down into David's Tower (David II was the son of Robert the Bruce). The solidly tower was built in the late 14th century, mostly destroyed in a siege two hundred years later, but provided living quarters for 100 soldiers during another siege, and the hiding place for the Crown Jewels during World War II.

  Half Moon Battery Constructed in the 16th century, the battery is stocked with nine shiny black cannons, and slots for the cannons, aimed at the Old Town below.

Two Scots Regimental Museums are chock full of medals, weapons, uniforms, battle dioramas of each regiment over the centuries.


Prisons of War The vaults housed prisoners of war from the American Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Kids can wander through the cold dark rooms recreating prison life – sleeping in hammocks, prison food, wooden doors inscribed with graffiti.


Argyle Tower - Inside the tower is a good model of Edinburgh Castle, comfy window seats, and view of the city below.

st margarets chapel

St. Margaret's Chapel The oldest building in Edinburgh, this tiny chapel was built in the 12th century in memory of Queen Margaret. The stained glass windows display Scottish saints, St. Margaret, St. Andrew, St. Columba, St. Ninian.


Mons Meg This is the "biggie" cannon – a 15th century special that could fire huge cannonballs two miles out.


One O'clock GunEvery day at one o'clock, this gun is fired. In the 19th century, firing the gun precisely at this time was used by ships to set their maritime clocks.

    Tip: In summer, Edinburgh Castle is very popular, buy tickets online in advance. Go early before the castle opens, and get in line for ticket holders. When the castle opens, start with the Scottish crown jewels (take the Lang stairs), then explore other areas at your leisure.
travel for kids | scotland | edinburgh | edinburgh castle
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