Colourful drawing of Edinburgh Castle with laser lights and a dragon breathing on the castle

Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery


24 & 25 November. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 21-23 & 27-30 December. 2 & 3 January


4.30pm to 9pm (last entry between 7.30pm & 7.45pm)

Enjoy the Defender of the Nation illuminated in a spectacular after-dark trail.

Prepare to see Edinburgh Castle transform this festive season as Castle of Light returns for a fourth fantastic year. Delve into “Magic and Mystery”, as a tapestry of all-new projections dances across the walls. Let immersive illuminations and enchanting installations guide you through the castle grounds in a sea of twinkling lights and colourful displays. Enjoy spending time with friends and family as you experience unmissable moments, extraordinary lighting displays, and discover some mysteries along the way. Conjure a charming start to your festivities with a magical night at the castle!

Tickets must be booked in advance. The event takes place outdoors and there is no visitor access to interior areas of the castle, excluding an indoor catering area.


You must book your tickets online in advance. 

Pick your time slot when buying tickets (last entry between 7.30pm and 7.45pm). The event closes at 9pm.

10% discount on tickets for Historic Scotland Members' (valid membership card required on arrival). Not a Member? Join now to enjoy the benefits.


  • Adult (16-64yrs) £22.00
  • Concession (65yrs+) £16.00
  • Child (7-15yrs) £12.00 *
  • Family (1 adult and 2 children) £40.00
  • Family (2 adults and 2 children) £58.00
  • Family (2 adults and 3 children) £68.00

Access night - Sunday 3 December

On Sunday 3 December, we’ll have help on hand to make Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery a fantastic experience for visitors with specific access needs.

BSL Tours with Interpreter - 5.15pm & 6.45pm

Guided by Deaf tour guide John Hay, accompanied by English interpreter Paula Marshall, enjoy a BSL tour of Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery. Tours will take place at 5.15pm and 6.45pm on Sunday 3 December.

Autism accessible time slot - 7pm

In partnership with Scottish Autism, our Autism accessible time slot provides a quieter experience of the Castle of Light: Magic and Mystery. A limited number of noise cancelling headphones will be available to borrow. The time slot is at 7pm on Sunday 3 December.

Places will be limited across all time slots on Sunday 3 December so that the castle is quieter on that night, and our staff will provide support to visitors with Dementia and visitors with Autism. Torches are advised to bring along.

Please purchase tickets, including carer tickets, as normal online ensuring you select the appropriate dates and times on Sunday 3 December. 

Stay updated

Keep up to date and be the first to hear about all of our exciting events news by signing up to our Historic Scotland newsletter

Event dates

To allow for the event, the castle will close at the earlier time of 4pm (last entry at 2.30pm) on the following dates:

  • 24 November 2023
  • 25 November 2023
  • 1 December 2023
  • 2 December 2023
  • 3 December 2023
  • 8 December 2023
  • 9 December 2023
  • 10 December 2023
  • 15 December 2023
  • 16 December 2023
  • 17 December 2023
  • 21 December 2023
  • 22 December 2023
  • 23 December 2023
  • 27 December 2023
  • 28 December 2023
  • 29 December 2023
  • 30 December 2023
  • 2 January 2024
  • 3 January 2024


Where can I buy tickets from?

Tickets can be purchased online in advance at Tickets will not be available to purchase in person at the castle. Without tickets or other relevant proof of purchase you will not be permitted access to the event.

Do I have to book in advance?

All tickets must be booked online in advance. Entry will be managed by timeslots each with capacity limits. Once these are full, we will not be able to accommodate additional visitors.  

Can I buy tickets at the castle?

No, all tickets must be booked online in advance. 

I’m a member, do I get a discount?

Yes, members receive a discount across all ticket categories. Please select the ‘Buy Historic Scotland Member tickets’ button on the website. Member discounted tickets should only be bought for valid members.  If you are attending with non-members, then a full price ticket should be purchased for them.  Membership cards will be checked on the night against tickets purchased.

I’m a member now, but may not be in November/December/January, can I still buy discounted tickets?

A valid membership card is required when you attend the event so you must be a member when the event is occurring. Membership cards will be checked on arrival at the event.

I’m a life member, can I buy my guests a discounted ticket?

Life members are entitled to bring an additional 2 adults; or 6 children; or 1 adult and 3 children per membership card, when visiting our sites. This is extended to the discount for this event. You should purchase discounted member tickets for the guests that are included within your guest allowance. Membership cards will be checked on the night against tickets purchased.

I’m a member, but can I buy member and non-member tickets at the same time? 

Yes, non-member tickets can be booked alongside member tickets, in the same transaction. Please visit to book your tickets. A valid membership card is required for members tickets, membership cards will be checked on arrival at the event.  

I have an English Heritage/Cadw/Manx National Heritage membership would I get a discount?

No, the discount you receive only applies to regular day tickets and not to the Castle of Light.

I’m bringing a group, is there a group discount? 

There is no group discount for this event. Regular admission rates apply. 

I require a helper/carer to assist me, are they free of charge? 

We recognise that some visitors require extra assistance and therefore we offer free entry to carers accompanying visitors with disabilities. No ID will be required. Advanced booking is required. Up to 2 carer tickets can be added per booking online. 

How will I receive my tickets? 

When purchasing tickets, you will be given two delivery options: print at home/mobile ticket or collect on arrival. For print at home/mobile tickets, your tickets will be attached in your email confirmation in a PDF document. For collect on arrival, you can collect your tickets at the Prepaid Ticket Collection machines on the castle esplanade using your order confirmation number.

Can I get my tickets posted to me? 

No, we are unable to post tickets. Tickets can either be emailed to you or collected on the evening. 

I have not received an email confirmation, is this normal? 

No, your email confirmation should arrive shortly after booking. If you have not received this, please check your junk folder in the first instance. If you have not received this, please contact with details of your booking and they will investigate and get back to you as soon as possible. 

I am on the ticket page for Castle of Light but can’t see the ticket options, what do I do? 

If the web page is not displaying correctly, we advise you to clear the cache/cookies on your browser then close the browser and reopen it. The ticketing page should now load correctly. 

What does my ticket time mean? 

The time on your ticket is the 15-minute arrival slot you have chosen. Please arrive within your allocated timeslot.

Should I arrive in advance of my timeslot? 

No, please arrive only within your allocated 15-minute timeslot.  

I have tickets for Edinburgh Castle during the day, will this permit me entry to the Castle of Light? 

No, the Castle of Light is a separate event and tickets for this event would need to be purchased separately. 

I am visiting Edinburgh Castle during the day, do I need to leave before entering Castle of Light? 

Yes, you will need to leave the castle before entering for Castle of Light in the evening. This is so that only ticket holders for Castle of Light have entry and it allows the team to set up for the evening ahead. 

I have deleted my email confirmation in error, can I get it resent? 

If you cannot find the email confirmation, please email with your booking details. 

Can I show my email confirmation/tickets on my phone? 

Yes. If when booking your ticket you have selected ‘print at home/mobile ticket’ as the delivery option, then you will be able to show your tickets on your phone when you arrive at the castle. 

Is there a waiting list if the tickets are all sold out? 

Due to the volume of enquiries we receive we are unable to operate a waiting list. If we receive any returned tickets these will immediately go back onto our website for purchasing therefore we recommend checking back on the website on occasion. 

What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the event get cancelled?

In the event of severe weather, such as strong winds or snow, the event may be cancelled. Please see below for more information if the event has been cancelled.

No refunds will be offered if the weather is inclement (such as rain) but Castle of Light can go ahead - this is an outdoor, all-weather event. Tickets cannot be rearranged in the event of inclement weather.

What will happen if the event is cancelled? 

The castle will close and Castle of Light will be cancelled for the evening if the weather presents a hazard and a risk to visitors, such as high winds or snow. We recommend that you check the HES website for closures and our Twitter account (#HSclosure) from 1pm on the day you have booked Castle of Light tickets for, especially if severe weather is forecast, as a closure notice will be posted here first. 

Customers will be notified with as much notice and information as possible via email on the day of the event if it is cancelled. An email will be sent to the email address used to book the tickets with details on the re-booking process. We may also send an SMS text message (if you have provided us with a valid mobile phone number). It is the responsibility of ticket holders to check their emails and/or texts before arriving at the Castle of Light to check for any updates. Please ensure the email and mobile number entered at the time of booking is correct.

If I am unable to attend, can I get a refund?

All tickets purchased are non-refundable as per our terms and conditions however if tickets are available for different dates then we can alter your existing booking. Please contact with your booking details or complete the ticket amendment form found on your confirmation email. 

I have booked for the wrong day – can I transfer to another date?

If we have availability then yes we can alter the date of your tickets, please contact with your booking details or complete the ticket amendment form found on your confirmation email. 

Can I park at the castle?

There are no parking facilities available at the castle with the exception of blue badge disabled parking. Castle of Light customers should make use of the public parking facilities in Edinburgh including the nearby NCP Castle Terrace Carpark. 

Is there Drop Off/Pick Up or taxi access available?

The nearest location suitable for drop off is at the Hub Roundabout which will then require a 2-minute walk uphill to the entrance. 

I am a Blue Badge Holder, will there be Blue Badge Parking?

We are only able to accommodate a limited number of spaces on the Castle Esplanade for Blue Badges and these will be allocated on a first come first served basis. If you would like to request a space please contact 0131 225 9846 option 3 during working hours or email Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.

What should I wear?

Castle of Light takes place outdoors and you may need to queue on busy days. Please wear appropriate  clothing and footwear for the time of year.   

Are there toilets at the castle?

Signage will direct you to the public toilets in:

  • The ticketing area
  • The Tea Rooms

All toilets are accessible to visitors with disabilities. 

Can I take a rucksack/suitcase?

For ease of movement, visitor safety and general security, suitcases and large rucksacks over 30L are not permitted in the castle. Please note we are unable to store luggage, prams, pushchairs or other personal items for visitors.

Can I take a pram/buggy with me as I have small children?

Yes, however please be aware the route does include stairs, some uneven terrain and cobbles.  

Are dogs allowed at Castle of Light?

No, dogs and other animals are not allowed at the Castle of Light. We do however allow assistance dogs. 

Are assistance dogs allowed at Castle of Light?

Yes, guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, assistance and emotional support dogs are all permitted. They must be accompanied by the appropriate harnesses and paperwork. Assistance dogs in training are also welcome.

How long does the event last?

The event can last as long as you like however we suggest that you allow at least 1 hour to see everything in the trail. The event finishes at 9pm. 

What time does the event start?

The event includes timed entry slots from 4.30pm to 7.30pm. Last entry is between 7.30pm and 7.45pm. Please arrive during your allocated timeslot.

What time does the event finish?

The castle must be clear of visitors for 9pm, last entry for the event is between 7.30pm and 7.45pm. We recommend allowing at least 1 hour to experience the full spectacle however you can leave earlier/later if you wish.

Are there any times that are not attended by children?

There are no specific times that are solely for adults, however to assist with your planning, our later entry times are slightly less popular with families.

Is the route dark or covered?

The route is open to the elements and there is low lighting in some areas. There will be comfort facilities and indoor spaces available, including our Redcoat Café and the Great Hall.

Who is Castle of Light suitable for?

Castle of Light is suitable for all ages. Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Will there be strobe lighting?

Please note the event may have strobe lighting and there will some fast moving lighting effects and images.

For any other general enquiries please email

Will there be food or drink available at Castle of Light?

There will be food and drink available to purchase on the castle esplanade as well as inside the Redcoat Café as you follow the event route. 

Is alcohol permitted at the Castle of Light?

You are only permitted to drink alcohol sold by our caterers once at Edinburgh Castle. Any alcohol brought onto the castle grounds will breach our licensing agreement and will be confiscated.

What shopping facilities will be there?

Both our Portcullis Gift Shop and our Whisky and Finest Foods shop will also be open. Both will have an array of gifts to make the perfect present for your friends and family - or to treat yourself!

What access provisions will be available?

On Sunday 3 December, we will have some additional measures in place to make Castle of Light a fantastic experience for our visitors with additional access needs. We will be running a reduced capacity across all time slots on this evening making for a quieter event for all, and our staff will be given training in advance so they can better assist visitors with dementia.

On Sunday 3 December there will also be specified slots for BSL Interpretation and an Autism friendly time slot.



How accessible is the castle?

Please note the suggested route of the event does include stairs, some uneven terrain, cobbles and low lighting in some areas. However, there are alternative options available. Unfortunately, the Edinburgh Castle mobility vehicle will not be available at this event.

There are a limited number of manual wheelchairs available on a first come, first served basis.

Can I bring my mobility scooter?

Mobility scooters are welcome on site but please note there are cobbles and no charging facilities. The route has a slope of 5 degrees on average and 15 degrees at its steepest point.

Are disabled toilets available?

All toilets are accessible to visitors with disabilities. 

I am a Blue Badge Holder, can I get parking?

We are only able to accommodate a limited number of spaces on the Castle Esplanade for Blue Badges and these will be allocated on a first come first served basis. If you would like to request a space please contact 0131 225 9846 (select option 3) during working hours or email Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.

Do you have wheelchairs or mobility scooters on site for public use?

There are a limited number of manual wheelchairs available on a first come, first served basis.

Can I take photographs?

Yes we encourage visitors to take photos of the event and share the experience via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Remember to use #CastleOfLight.  

I am a professional photographer/videographer, can I attend?

There are no shows that are solely for photographers/videographers. If you would like to film or photograph the event in a professional capacity please contact to start an application. Please note that we will not permit tripods or monopods and we ask that your proposal is respectful to other visitors.

Can I use a drone to film/photograph the Castle of Light?

Unfortunately we cannot allow any drones to be used at the event.



Castle of Light event team

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (except UK public holidays)