Thursday, 24 January 2013

Edinburgh and Lothian Castles

The glorious city of Dùn Èideann—that’s Edinburgh in Scottish Gaelic—has a rich culture and history that is just waiting to be discovered. When planning your next break, forget the stress of air travel; just pack the car up and begin your journey to this fantastic historical city that is beaming with energy and intrigue. All you really need is a hotel; check out the
great offers on Edinburgh hotels and a list of great attractions such as this handy guide to castles in Edinburgh and the Lothian region.Edinburgh Castle

Who hasn’t heard of
Edinburgh Castle, the majestic backdrop for the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo? This iconic castle has a huge amount to offer, and is a must visit. The Great Hall features a magnificent medieval wooden roof supported by stone carvings and is surrounded by stained glass windows with coats of arms. This epic room also features a display of medieval weaponry including the notorious Lochaber axe. Another highlight worth checking out is the haunting Prison of War, where twenty one pirates from the Caribbean were imprisoned, some of which later hanged for their crimes. If you’re at Edinburgh Castle at one o’clock in the afternoon, you can’t miss out on the firing of the one o’clock gun, which is traditionally used as a time signal to ships in the area. Craigmillar Castle

This fantastically preserved medieval castle is located three miles away from the Edinburgh city centre, and is another great visit for castle lovers. The impressive four storey keep of the castle has walls up to 11 foot thick and features vaulted ceilings. The castle was a temporary home to Mary, Queen of Scots after she fell ill in 1566. During her stay, a plot was formed known as the Craigmillar Bond to kill her husband. The castle also features 15th century inner courtyard wall, a 16th century outer courtyard wall and a dovecote.
Tantallon Castle
Tantallon Castle is a truly immense 14th century fortress that overlooks the Firth of Forth (the estuary of the River Forth). Utilising the geography to its fullest extent, the main fortification of Tantallon Castle is a single huge curtain wall that seals off the coastal promontory. Although the tower house is not as large as that of Craigmillar Castle, the curtain wall itself is intricate enough with several chambers, arched ceilings and an incredible parapet walk. Dirleton Castle

This 13th century medieval fortress has an impressive bridge and drawbridge across a massive 49 foot ditch. The keep is mostly still intact, and the castle also features an adjacent 16th century house built by the Ruthvens. The Haliburtons also did some maintenance on the castle after it was heavily damaged during the Wars of Scottish Independence, although many of these additions only exist at basement level. The castle also has a 16th century pigeon house in the garden walls.

There’s plenty more castles and attractions to visit in and around Edinburgh, and the city itself has some great historic interests that are well worth investigating.

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