Access guide

Read our access guide and ask any member of staff for further advice when you arrive.

Parking

A limited number of accessible spaces on Castle Esplanade are available to Blue Badge holders on a first come, first served basis.

No parking is available from April to September, when the esplanade is closed for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Mobility vehicle

A mobility vehicle can take visitors unable to manage the steep slopes from the esplanade to Crown Square (and back again later). The service runs on a first come, first served basis so there may be a wait before the car is available – ask any staff member to arrange a lift for you. 

There may be a restricted service operating in peak summer months and very occasionally we are unable to provide the service at short notice due to factors outwith our control. Please contact us 24 hours prior to your visit to check availability of the mobility vehicle on +44 (0)131 225 9846 or email visitor information 

Manual wheelchairs are also available for use, subject to availability.

Approach to site

The castle is 110m from the furthest point of the esplanade

The esplanade:

  • is smooth tarmac
  • has a slope of 5 degrees

Ticket Office

The ticket office and Portcullis gift shop are on the right after entering the castle. Both have step-free access.

A member of staff is on the esplanade at all times to help visitors with disabilities cross the drawbridge.

Braille guidebooks can be borrowed from the ticket office.

Castle Grounds

All areas of the castle are accessed from a steep and curved central route that is about 350m long (from entering the castle to the top level at Crown Square).

The route:

  • has a slope of 5 degrees on average
  • is 15 degrees at its steepest point (approach to Foogs Gate)
  • is surfaced with cobbles, which can be uneven

The One o’Clock Gun is on the level, next to the Redcoat Café, but its exhibition is down 29 even straight stone steps, with handrail.

The courtyard of the National War Museum is down a cobbled ramp with a 12-degree slope. The museum has a level entrance and a wheelchair for loan to visitors. There is a lift to the two floors.

St Margaret’s Chapel and Mons Meg are further up the central route, through Foogs Gate. The area around the chapel and gun is cobbled. The chapel is entered by a small ramp and a door 81cm wide.

Access to the Honours of Scotland is via a ramp and then a lift to the first floor. There is a bronze replica of the Honours that can be touched and a Braille panel tells their history.

The Royal Palace and apartments have no wheelchair access.

The Great Hall is currently accessed by a small ramp.

The Scottish National War Memorial has a ramp entrance from Crown Square.

The Prisons of War exhibition has step-free access from Dury’s Battery.

Access to the vaults is down numerous short flights of steps, with handrails on both sides. There is step-free access to the lower part of the exhibition from Dury’s Battery.

Audio Guide

Audio guides are available for hire just past the castle gates on the right. Handsets use a push button system.

A summary of the National War Museum displays is included in the main audio tour of the castle (only available in English). There are transcripts and an induction loop.

Audio guides are available to hire in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish, subject to availability.

20% discount on audio guide hire for Historic Scotland members and Explorer Pass holders.

Cafes and Shops

The Redcoat Café has step-free access.

Access to The Tea Rooms is via three steps from Crown Square. Step-free access is also available.

The Portcullis Shop is on the right after entering the castle. It has step-free access but the approach is up a steep, cobbled hill.

The Whisky and Finest Food Shop is next to St Margaret’s Chapel and has a small threshold.

The Crown Gift Shop in Crown Square has five stone steps to enter.

Toilets

Adapted toilets are located in:

  • Ticketing area
  • Redcoat Cafe
  • The Tea Rooms

Dogs

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.

Pet dogs are not permitted at the castle.