Edinburgh is known as the “Athens of the North” and is full of historical sites and beautiful architecture. The city's historic sites date back over 1,000 years, which means there are tons of castles to visit in Edinburgh and you will certainly need a rental car in Edinburgh to drive around all of them!
Here are some of our favorites:
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most important historic sites in Scotland. It's also home to the Scottish crown jewels, which are displayed at the Tower of London when they're not in use by monarchs. The castle has been occupied since prehistoric times and was a royal residence until 1603; its position atop a volcanic plug made it an ideal site for defense. Oliver Cromwell's army besieged Edinburgh Castle in 1650 during its occupation by Scottish forces during their civil war against King Charles I (who was executed).
The Balfours of Burleigh built this 16th-century tower house in 1544. It was originally called the 'Castle of Burleigh' but later became known as Lauriston Castle after the area where it stood. The castle has been owned by Historic Scotland since 1984 and is open to visitors year-round (except Christmas Day).
The building is notable for its fine architecture and interior design which includes a walled garden, courtyard and formal gardens with box hedging surrounding an 18th century greenhouse (which houses tropical plants).
A short drive from the city centre, Craigmillar Castle is a medieval fortress built in 1450. It was used as a prison during the Jacobite rebellion and now serves as a museum and garden. The castle grounds are open to visitors year-round for free, but you'll need to pay for admission if you want to explore inside.
The walled garden at Craigmillar Castle is particularly beautiful--it features ornamental trees like weeping willows and Japanese maples alongside wildflowers like foxgloves, irises, peonies and roses (the latter of which bloom in summer). In addition to being home to many different kinds of plants natively found throughout Scotland such as heathers or ferns; this garden also boasts some exotic varieties brought over by past owners including bamboo trees!
The Georgian House
The Georgian House is a museum of Georgian life, located on the Royal Mile. It's a restored Georgian townhouse that shows you what life was like for people living in Edinburgh during the 18th century. The house has two floors and each room has been decorated to reflect an aspect of 18th-century life: there's a kitchen, parlour and dining room downstairs; upstairs there are bedrooms and bathrooms (you get to see how they would have looked). There are also plenty of interactive exhibits including an old spinning wheel where you can try your hand at spinning wool!
It's definitely worth visiting if you want to learn more about Edinburgh's history - but if not then there are lots of other things nearby too so feel free just walk around before going inside!
Gladstone's Land is a 17th-century tenement building located in Edinburgh's Old Town. The building was built in 1645 and was renovated in the late 19th century by architect Hippolyte Blanc, who added the decorative facade that you see today. It is a category A listed building, meaning it has been designated as being of national importance and therefore protected from alteration or demolition without permission from Scottish ministers.
The Canongate Tolbooth is a historic building located in Edinburgh. It was built in 1688 and served as a prison until 1817. The structure includes an old courtroom, jail cells and even a torture chamber! Today, visitors can see exhibits that tell the story of this historic place. You can also take guided tours led by costumed interpreters who will share their knowledge about life during those times with you.
The architecture of this building is quite unique because it has two towers that look like they were added later than the rest of the structure--they were actually not part of its original design! These towers give it an interesting appearance from afar; however when you get closer it becomes clear how symmetrical everything else is within its walls (and why).
St Giles' Cathedral
St Giles' Cathedral is a popular tourist attraction in Edinburgh. It was once the site of a church founded by King Malcolm Canmore in 1060, but it wasn't until 1243 that St Giles became the cathedral for Scotland. The building itself is worth seeing, with its distinctive Scottish Baronial style and Romanesque arches on its facade. Inside are several interesting features including stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes, a high altar made from oak wood taken from old ships that sunk off Leith Harbour in 1592 (the oldest piece of woodwork still standing in any Scottish church), and even an iron cage where criminals were once held before trial!
St Giles' Cathedral offers several services including weddings; there are daily tours available as well as guided tours during certain times throughout each week (check their website for more information).
Rosslyn Chapel is a 15th century chapel located in Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. It's known for its many examples of medieval stonemasonry and heraldic carvings.
The chapel was constructed as a family mausoleum for the Sinclairs of Roslin. In 1446 William Sinclair (2nd Earl of Orkney) started building this magnificent structure but he died before it could be completed by his son William Sinclair (3rd Earl). In 1507 James IV visited Rosslyn Castle with his wife Margaret Tudor while they were on their way back from France after their marriage anniversary celebrations at Stirling Castle earlier that year; this visit was commemorated by placing an inscription above one doorway stating "This house was built by William 4th Earl".
There are lots of lovely castles to visit in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle is the most popular castle in Edinburgh. It's also the oldest, dating back to the 12th century. The castle was built by King David I of Scotland and has been continuously occupied ever since. The castle has played an important role in Scottish history, and today it serves as a military base for the British Army, who have been using it since 1707. There are many other castles worth visiting in Edinburgh as well!