Read our access guide and ask any member of staff for further advice when you arrive.
Accessing the castle
Special arrangements are currently in place at Edinburgh Castle, to comply with Scottish Government guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic. These arrangements are detailed below, and will be regularly updated.
Although things may be a little different, we hope that you will have an enjoyable visit and will be greeted with a warm and friendly smile by staff.
While some areas may be closed, we will have additional interpretation available on-site so you don't miss out. This may include QR codes so make sure your mobile can read these when visiting.
- Our staff have been trained in hygiene and physical distancing and have been provided with the necessary PPE
- Signage is on site to guide visitors, including one way systems and marked areas that are currently closed to visitors
- We have introduced enhanced cleaning measures, including our toilet facilities, to make visitors feel comfortable while visiting
- In line with Scottish Government legislation and guidance, face coverings are now mandatory if you are visiting any indoor/enclosed spaces at our sites including retail and catering areas (subject to some exceptions).
- Masks will not be provided, so make sure you bring one with you
- Face shields (e.g. visors) no longer count as face coverings on their own. They can only be worn in conjunction with other face covering
- Face coverings are not required while visiting external areas of the sites
- If you feel wearing a face covering at all times during your visit (including in external areas) will make you more comfortable, then please wear one, as we want you to enjoy your visit as much as possible
In line with best practice in the visitor attractions industry and as advised by Capability Scotland, visitors with disabilities are treated on an equal basis with all other visitors and entry is charged at the appropriate admission category rate - Adult/Concession/Child. Proof of disability is not required.
We offer free entry for carers accompanying visitors with disabilities. To book a free carer ticket, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote your order number.
Parking is available near the castle entrance on the esplanade for Blue Badge holders. These are limited and must be booked in advance by calling 0131 225 9846 or email email@example.com.
Castle Terrace NCP is the nearest car park and offers a discounted rate for castle visitors: £10 for 5 hours. You must validate your parking ticket at the machine opposite the drawbridge during your visit.
Approach to site
The castle is reached across the esplanade – a wide area of smooth tarmac, with an uphill gradient of 5 degrees. The esplanade is 110m long.
A Red Food Truck serving coffee/tea, cakes and snacks, and an ice cream van will be on the esplanade.
Security and bag restrictions
For reasons of ease of movement, visitor safety and general security, suitcases and large rucksacks are not permitted in the castle.
We are unable to store luggage, prams, pushchairs or other personal items for visitors.
Only assistance dogs are permitted, including within roofed areas. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and not left unattended at any time in the castle or vehicles. Owners must pick up after dogs.
Visitors' dogs are not permitted at the castle.
What will be open during your visit
- All external spaces with visitor access
- The mobility vehicle is available to use (a face covering must be worn). Please ask a member of staff who can organise this for you
- Great Hall
- Palace Apartments, the Laich Hall and Antechamber are open (The Mary Room and The Birthing Room will be closed)
- St Margaret’s Chapel
- Mons Meg
- One o’Clock Gun
- Prisons of War vaults (exhibition is closed)
- Scottish National War Memorial
- National War Museum
- The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Shop, open 10am-3pm (museum remains closed).
- Audio guides available to hire from the ticket office
- The Redcoat Café (view our menu)
- The Portcullis Shop and The Whisky and Finest Food Shop
- Please note that the shops will be capacity managed and there will be a one way system in place throughout. In line with current Scottish Government guidelines you must wear a face covering when visiting the shops
- Toilets available in the Lower Ward (just over the drawbridge), Hospital Square and the National War Museum
- Accessible toilet available in the Queen Anne Building (Queen Anne Tea Room remains closed)
What will remain closed/unavailable during your visit
- Palace Apartments, the Mary Room and Birthing Room are closed (the Laich Hall and Antechamber are open)
- Fight for the Castle exhibition
- Honours of Scotland (Crown Jewels & Stone of Destiny)
- Regimental Museums
- One o'Clock Gun exhibition
- Prisons of War exhibition
- Queen Anne Tea Room
- Guided Tours
- Crown gift shop
- David's Tower toilets (just off Crown Square)
Visiting the site
Please note: While a one-way system is in place at the castle, staff are eager to assist any visitors with specific requirements. Please contact the castle (tel 0131 225 9846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) or make staff aware if you have any concerns.
- A one-way system will be operating within the castle. Staff here will control the flow of visitors, and can provide any additional assistance.
Visitors access the castle over a wooden-slatted bridge.
A mobility vehicle to Crown Square is available on request, and can be arranged by staff at the castle entrance. The car has been adapted to allow physical distancing. It can accommodate most wheelchairs, motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters, but this is dependent on their dimensions. A face covering must be worn, maximum of 3 people per journey, and there may be a short wait between pickups to allow the vehicle to be sanitised
Two manual wheelchairs are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Upon entering the castle, there is a set of adapted toilets to your left, and the ticket office to your right – both reached over an uneven cobbled surface. An audio guide is available to hire from the ticket office. It is free to blind and partially sighted visitors, or can be downloaded and played on your own device. The handsets operate by a push button system.
- You enter the castle from a steep curved route. It is 15 degrees at its steepest point, the average is five degrees and it is approximately 350m from entering the castle to the top level at Crown Square. It is surfaced with cobbles, which can be uneven.
The Portcullis Gift Shop has step-free access but is accessed from the steep, cobbled hill.
- The One o’Clock Gun is on the level but cobbled area, next to the Redcoat Café. The gun makes a loud and sudden noise when it is fired. It is fired Monday to Saturday.
The Redcoat Café has step-free access. Seating will be available, but the doors and windows will be kept open for ventilation, so the space may be cool and draughty.
The café toilets will not be available at this time. Temporary portaloos will be provided, but the nearest accessible toilet is in Crown Square at the top of the castle (speak to staff for access).
- Hospital Square is reached down a cobbled ramp of 12 degrees. Visitors follow the one-way route back up the same cobbled slope.
- The route continues up the cobbled incline through Foog’s Gate. This is the steepest part of the castle route.
From here visitors can enter the Prisons of War vaults. The vaults are accessed via numerous short flights of steps, with handrails on both sides. The Prisons of War exhibition remains closed.
- Visitors will then enter Crown Square – a large, level, paved area.
The Great Hall and National War Memorial both have ramped access.
In the Palace Apartments, the Laich Hall and Antechamber are open. There is a short flight of stone steps with a handrail at both entry and exit (Mary Room and Birthing Room remain closed).
Adapted toilets are available in Crown Square – please ask a member of staff for assistance.
- The one-way route then leads to St Margaret's Chapel and Mons Meg. The surface around the Chapel and Mons Meg is cobbled. The Chapel has a small ramp up to a door 810mm wide.
The Whisky and Finest Food Shop is next to St Margaret’s Chapel and has a small threshold.
- Visitors then exit the castle via 70 stone steps with a handrail. Staff will be available to guide you back down through the castle if this exit is unsuitable for you.