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The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an integral part of the Edinburgh Festival, the worlds biggest yearly Arts & Festival Event held in August each year on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. The Tattoo originates from 1950, and has developed from a small program of half a dozen or so pieces to the spectacular and show stopping event of today. The audience consists of approximately a third English Visitors, a third Scottish and a third from other Countries.
ONLINE BUS TICKETS from only 0.99p via National Express Coaches - an excellent cheaper alternative, however, often fully booked during summer so again advance booking is highly recommended. Combinations of Bus and Coach cover 99.9% of areas you are likely to wish to visit.
Royal Regiment of Scotland Massed Pipes & Drums
Acts from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as the rest of the world
Massed Highland Dancers
The classic Lone Piper
From the date that Edinburgh Castle was built, its defence has been strengthened. It was the centre of many different military activities in Scotland. Edinburgh Castle is one of the few castles that have a military garrison for ceremonies. It is also the official headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the 52nd Infantry Brigade, and the home of the regimental museum of the Royal Scots and Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Edinburgh Castle has continued to have a very strong connection with the army, providing defence and protecting Scotland.
Din Eidyn was really two large hill forts created by a huge volcanic core. One of these hill forts is in middle of Holyrood Park; the Salisbury Crags, which were originally surrounded by small farms. The second hill fort lay to the west where Edinburgh Castle now sits.
James II was king of Scotland from 1437 to 1460. He was married in Holyrood Abbey, which was one of the main institutions of the kingdom of Scotland. Scottish historical research reveals that the first king of Scots, MacAlpine, founded this Scottish landmark in 843. James II’s son, James III, was nicknamed ‘Fiery Face’ because he had a prominent birthmark on his face. James had six sisters who he eventually sent to Europe to marry various royals there.
In 1449 a large gun was made for the Duke of Burgundy and tested at Mons. This was gifted to the king and queen of Scotland in 1457. The king was killed three years later at Roxburgh Castle but the gun, named ‘Mons Meg’, was kept in Edinburgh Castle. Mons Meg was used later in battles against the English and during various rebellions but it eventually became obsolete due its enormous weight. Mons Meg was restored and you can now see it when you visit the upper level of Edinburgh Castle. There are conflicting ideas about its origins but the main theory is that the Duke of Burgundy invented it and sent it along with other artillery to James II of Scotland as a present. The calibre of the gun is 56 centimetres and it was capable of firing a 180 kilogram ball around eight to ten times a day.
Mary Stuart, who became known as Queen of Scots, was beautiful and good hearted, and was one of the most fascinating queens of the 16th century. However, she was known for her lack of political experience and could not rule Scotland successfully. In 1565, Mary married for the second time, this time to Henry, Lord Darnley. They had their first child in Edinburgh Castle (Prince James) but the marriage soon turned sour, and ended in murder and scandal. The queen fled with her son to England in 1568 to get help from her cousin, Elizabeth, but she never saw her cousin and remained imprisoned for nine years.
At the age of forty four she was executed in 1587 by the English government. Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland, became the king of England after Elizabeth’s death. In 1571, Sir William Kirkcaldy was in Edinburgh Castle, where he spoke publicly in support of the exiled queen. But England sent a very large army, with plenty of artillery, led by Regent Morton, and after eleven days of bombardment and fighting, Edinburgh Castle’s rule collapsed. Kirkcaldy surrendered and was then executed. The castle was almost demolished with this heavy fighting but it was later rebuilt by Regent Morton.
William and his wife Mary, who was James VII’s eldest daughter gave their support to England. The Duke of Gordon who was a governor of Edinburgh Castle was a supporter of King James but in 1689, after a three month-long battle, Gordon finally surrendered Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Crown was offered to William and Mary.
For many years from 1707 the Crown and Sword were hidden away and people thought that they had been lost or even destroyed. However, Sir Walter Scott obtained permission from the Prince Regent to gain access the Scottish regalia in the castle. He eventually discovered it in a small, crown room, in an old oak chest, which was locked and hidden under linen cloths which had stayed intact for so many years. Since February the 4th 1818, they have been displayed in Edinburgh Castle and have been viewed by thousands of people who have travelled from all over the world just to see them.
Oliver Cromwell executed the King of England and Scotland, Charles I; the English crown had already been destroyed by Cromwell and he was desperate to get hold of the Scottish Crown Jewels and then destroy them. The king ordered the Earl Marischall to hide the Honours of Scotland at Dunnottar Castle which is the Scottish seat of the Marischall family.
The history of the Crown dates from earlier than 1540 and it was worn at the coronation of Charles II in 1651. The sword with long blade (one metre) was presented by Pope Julius II to James IV in 1507. The Stone of Destiny (the symbol of Scotland’s nationhood, which was used as a coronation stone for all Scottish kings) was eventually returned to Scotland after 700 years, after Edward I took it to England in 1296. Now it sits with the Crown Jewels on display in Edinburgh Castle.
In 1660 the Honours were given to King Charles II so that he could place them in Edinburgh Castle. The regalia were also occasionally placed in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh when the sovereign was not present in order to signify the passing of various acts and laws. In 1707 the Scottish Parliament was dissolved and the Crown was locked away in the crown room in Edinburgh Castle for a very long time. The emblems were hidden for 111 years, until 1818.
Then Dunnottar was under siege, and after eight months fighting a fearsome foe, the castle finally fell. During that time the crown, sceptre and the sword were taken to the seaward side of the castle and delivered to church at Kinneff, a village several miles to the south. They were kept hidden under the minister’s bed until he buried them securely in the church. The jewels were wrapped in linen cloths and were buried at night under the clay floor of the church by the minister, Rev. James, and his wife. The jewels were taken out every three months to air and also to make sure that no damage had been done by the damp; they remained hidden for nine years and certainly did not fall in to English army hands.
Scotland was formed by many wonderful men and women, with many kings, heroes, poets and writers advancing Scotland’s cause. Sir Walter Scott (15 August 1771 to 21st September 1832) is one of the most important figures in Scottish history, and his vivid imagination has helped to popularise and promote Scotland as a top tourist destination. He was a novelist and poet, and was very popular all over the world; he had many readers in Europe, Australia and North America, and his novels and poetry are still very popular to this day. His most famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley and The Heart of Midlothian. Sir Scott was generous and modest, and was very proud of his Scottish identity. He was famous on a grand scale, which helped him to purchase his retreat in Abbotsford, where tourists are welcome to visit.
The Scots have always battled for their identity and their country, but they eventually lost Scotland as a federal state. However, they did manage to retain control of some systems, such as the legal system, the church, education and also the privilege of retaining the Scottish royal burghs. In parliament, the debate was long and heated, but in January 1707 the union passed the Treaty of Westminster with a vote of 110 to 67 (it was possible that some Members of Parliament had been bribed). This resulted in the end of the Scottish Parliament, in March 1707. The Union of the Parliaments provided Scotland with 45 MPs and 16 representative peers in Westminster, London. England and Wales had 513 MPs and 190 peers. In 1999 the first Scottish Parliament was held after nearly 300 years, in Edinburgh. Scotland is extremely proud that it has managed to regain some power and a degree of independence, although it still has formal connections to Westminster.
Edinburgh Castle is arguably the most spectacular castle in Scotland, particularly in terms of location, history and appearance. The castle dominates the city and has uninterrupted spectacular views all round Edinburgh. The castle’s origins date from over a thousand years. The Castle Rock is one of Edinburgh’s highest hills, and it now consists of many unique ancient buildings and narrow cobbled streets which wind down its length. The Crown of Scotland, in the crown room, makes the castle one of the best and most unique places to visit in Scotland. Certainly the beauty of the volcanic rock, the sea and the coast made this unassailable hill the perfect place for the Scots to build their main castle, somewhere they could feel safe and protected due to the great wall and loch defences around the castle. For many years, Edinburgh consisted only of the castle; it was not until much later that the first town houses were built in the Lawnmarket, just in front of the castle. Over the years, more and more beautiful tall tenements were built along the Royal Mile, progressing ever downwards towards Holyrood Palace. These tenements formed what is known as the Old Town. The Royal Mile is a straight, cobbled road from the castle to the palace. It is around a mile long and connects the two royal buildings at the top and bottom of the hill, hence the name. Over the years, the Canongate and the other houses around the Royal Mile were included as part of the Old Town of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Castle has a long history of being built, destroyed and re-built over centuries of battles between Scotland and England. The Crown was preserved due to a few lucky escapes, and the Scots worked hard to regain and rebuild their castle, restoring it to its original status and ensuring that its history is protected forever.
Edinburgh Castle is a complex building, including an impressive 15th century stone enclosure, the 12th century chapel and the old state rooms where James VI was born. King James III strengthened the north side of the castle’s defences by flooding the north valley in order to create a big loch. Over the years the loch was filled with dirt, waste and sewage until it was finally drained in 1760, to create Princes Street Gardens. The formation of Edinburgh’s New Town began when people realised that the Old Town was hugely overcrowded; most of Edinburgh’s finest residents upped sticks to the New Town, leaving the congested tenements and dirty streets of the Old Town to the poor people of Edinburgh.
Amongst the most famous buildings in Edinburgh Castle are the Crown Square, Queen Ann Building, the Palace, the Scottish National War Memorial, the Great Hall, the French Prisons, the Services Museum, the New Barracks, the hospital, the gatehouse, St. Margaret’s Chapel, Foog’s Gate, the Vaults, and the Governor’s House. You can also see Mons Meg, the famous gun that fires the one o’clock salute every day, and many other interesting things.
Crown Square is the main courtyard of Edinburgh Castle, which was built on the south face of the Castle Rock and dates from the 15th century. Its original name was the Palace Yard, but it was renamed when the Crown Jewels of Scotland were discovered here in 1818.
The Queen Ann Building, whose French-type look was inspired by the French invasion in 1708, provided the headquarters for officers, and was also used as accommodation for the schoolmaster and the chaplain. This building was occasionally used during its history as a kitchen to serve the Great Hall and the Gunhouse. It was rebuilt in 1933 as a naval and military museum.
The Royal Palace is the official seat of Scotland’s kings and queens. On June 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to King James VI in a small chamber room here. The palace was destroyed during the Lang Seige but in 1617 it was refurbished and remodelled inside and out, giving it the appearance you see today. The Palace was the home of the Regalia of Scotland for many centuries and these can be viewed with the Stone of Destiny, which was returned from England to Edinburgh Castle in 1996.
The Scottish National War Memorial was used in 1540 as an ammunition house. It was demolished in 1755 to make room for the North Barracks, and then some improvements were made in 1863 by Robert Billings, giving the building a very picturesque appearance. After the army left the building in 1923, it was adapted as a National Shrine. It was opened by the Prince of Wales in July 1927 as a Scottish memorial for those who died in the World War I and it also commemorates the dead of World War II.
The Great Hall was built in 1513, just before the death of King James IV, and was used for the state assembly in Edinburgh Castle. Cromwell converted the Great Hall into soldiers’ barracks in 1650, altering it to accommodate 312 men in 1737. It was then converted into a hospital in 1799, and it remained as such until 1887, when the Great Hall was restored to original glory by architect Hippolyte Blanc.
The Vaults are the old buildings at the south side of Edinburgh Castle, built during the 15th century with the same layout as Crown Square; they were also used for many purposes, including stores, an arsenal, barracks for soldiers, a bake house and a civil military prison.
No visit to Scotland is complete with out a trip to Edinburgh Castle, where you can see gorgeous views of the city in every direction and beyond. There is a lovely coffee shop in the castle, where you can relax and enjoy the history and the views. Edinburgh Castle will give you the opportunity to observe the ancient buildings and understand the history of Scotland, a nation fiercely proud of its land and people. The Scots managed to build a spectacular castle, the likes of which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. From the north of Edinburgh Castle you can see the famous Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street, George Street, the West End, the Georgian town houses of the New Town, over to the sea and beyond, to the Kingdom of Fife.
The French Prisons were so-named because a number of French staff were brought to Edinburgh Castle’s Vaults in April 1757. Many other French soldiers were captured later on during the Seven Years War and the number of prisoners held under the Great Hall rose to over five hundred. During the Napoleonic War, Edinburgh Castle was used as a war prison. There were various nationalities amongst Edinburgh Castle’s prisoners, including men from Holland, Germany, America, Spain, Italy and France. The castle prison was vastly overcrowded.
The new barracks, opposite the regimental museum of the Royal Scots in Edinburgh Castle, was built as a replacement the Great Hall which was being used as a barracks. The new barracks were built in 1796 and provided accommodation for six hundred infantrymen. It is still used for military purposes and is not open to visitors.
The Scottish United Services Museum building is an old structure near the Crown Square which was refurbished in Spring 2000. It has collections and stories of many different aspects of Scottish military history over the centuries.
The Ordnance Store and Hospital is located at the west side of the Edinburgh Castle. It consists of two store rooms and a courtyard which was used for military arms and was the main gunpowder magazine. It was designed by William Skinner in 1753. The building was demolished in 1897 and then redesigned as a hospital for the army, which was in Great Hall before this hospital was opened.
The Reservoirs were big tanks full of water which were used by the people living in Edinburgh Castle. These tanks were very important during fights and sieges like the Lang Siege in 1571. The tanks collapsed during bombardment, which cut the water supply during the war, when Sir William Kirkcaldy eventually surrendered to Regent Morton after three years’ resistance.
St. Margaret’s Chapel dates from 1124 and is the oldest building now standing in Edinburgh Castle’s grounds. It is in excellent condition and was built to commemorate Queen Margaret, who was the mother of King David and who died in the castle in 1093. The chapel was regularly used for prayer by the royals up until the 16th century, when it was used to store gunpowder during the wars. It was totally restored to its former glory in 1845, and the stained glass windows you see today were designed in 1922 by Douglas Strachan.
Mons Meg was a huge gun used during the reign of King James II in 1457. The name comes from Belgium, which was called Mons in days of old. It is six tons, with a muzzle-loading cannon which fires stone balls of 150kg, with a range of two miles. Its weight makes it impractical to move around in battle, so by 1650 it was replaced and stored in Edinburgh Castle. It was fired during Mary, Queen of Scots marriage celebration. Mons Meg was last fired on October 1681 to celebrate the birthday of the Duke of Albany and York, and later King James VII. In 1754 it was taken to the Tower of London but in 1829 was returned to Edinburgh Castle and placed near St. Margaret’s Chapel.
The one o’clock gun is fired every day at one o’clock (except Sunday) from Edinburgh Castle. The original idea of the gun was to help the sailing ships in the Forth to check their clocks and reset their chronometers. In 1861 Captain Wauchope invented the time ball which can be seen on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, which works alongside the gun. At one o’clock, the ball drops which gives another signal to the sailors. The 18 pound muzzle-loading cannon was replaced with a 25 pound Howitzer in 1953 and is fired from the north face of the Edinburgh Castle. The gun is still in action and it is a very popular tourist attraction.
Edinburgh Castle is an enormous building. The current structure dates from medieval times but the location was inhabited from many years BC. It stands high above the city of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Castle was a military base, the scene of many battles for Scottish identity and independence. For many centuries, the castle was a seat of kings and queens, and many Scottish army divisions have made their headquarters in the castle, all of which makes its history so rich and varied. It is worth spending a day in the castle to get a real feel for its history and also to enjoy the amazing views of Edinburgh. Archaeologists suggest that the first inhabitant of the Castle Rock was Bronze Age man, around 1000BC. This confirms the importance of the location of Edinburgh Castle and the fact that it was a strategic place from which leaders could command and defend their people. History proves this again, as in the Middle Ages this area became the place where this incredible castle was created. This huge fortification included royal accommodation, and it became the permanent residence of many Scottish kings and queens. Over many centuries Edinburgh Castle was often under siege; it almost collapsed and was re-built many times during battles between the English and Scottish armies. The variety of architecture and the age of each building serve to tell the story of the constant battles and struggles over the centuries.
Another important part of the castle’s history is the construction of the esplanade in front of the castle in 1753. It was created for ceremonial parades, and, sixty years later, the grounds of the esplanade were broadened and walls and rails were added, to make it a place for castle functions and to mark the end of fortification. The castle has not had a garrison since 1914 and is still heavily guarded by Scottish soldiers, as it is home to the Honours of Scotland. The Edinburgh Tattoo is a full ceremonial military occasion, which is performed every year during August on the castle esplanade. Thousands of people from all over the world come to see the show and enjoy the historical Tattoo in this stunning medieval setting. The show is known worldwide and it is something to behold, performed in the open air on the esplanade, come rain or shine. It is a truly memorable occasion and only helps to drive home the point that Scotland really is the best.
Edinburgh Castle waits in the glowering evening for the nightfall, when the esplanade is transformed by lights for this historical show. The esplanade provides a dazzling stage for the most spectacular performances in front of the Castle and Lawnmarket. The Capital of Scotland is lit up on these summer nights, and the beautiful sound of the Scottish bagpipes, accompanied by the stunning backdrop of the mighty medieval castle, will make you feel that there is nowhere else like this on Earth. Throughout the show you will begin to understand why the Scots are so proud of their country; the crowd of thousands will clap, smile and marvel at how great it feels to be part of Scotland’s best show.
Edinburgh Castle’s gun is also a big part of its incredible history. On St. Andrew’s Day, the 30th of November, Edinburgh’s residents will hear the gun fire at exactly one o’clock. The 105millimeter gun was fired for years by the most famous staff member, Thomas McKay, affectionately known as ‘Tam the Gun’, and then by Commander Hughie Monro. The army replaced the 25 pounder gun for a 105 millimetre light gun, which came into service in 1974. This gun is one of the best British army guns, who use it for defence, and it has been sold to thirteen countries worldwide. This gun is now in action in Edinburgh Castle, and residents and tourists alike enjoy hearing it every day at one o’clock. There is a ceremonial gun exhibition under Mills Mount, which will reveal more about the story of the big gun.
Being to the far north, Roman imperialism, Anglo-Saxon invasion, feudalism often exhausted much of its power before reaching Scotland, and with increasing resistance from the natural elements and with successors puring into England, the waves of invasion often faded away never reaching the north of Scotland at all.
In days of olde, alliances were often formed the accident of Dynastys. This produced the Union of Crowns in 1603 and a Scottish King ascended the English throne moving inevitably towards the parliamentary Union of 1707.
Scotland, has to her merit, as the lesser of the nations, preserved her Nationality throughout the ages, and only recently has a Scottish Party become the predominant force in Scottish Politics, as well as a Scottish Prime Minister.
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In Scotland Bed & Breakfasts (B&B) usually have less than four rooms for accommodation and Guest Houses at least four rooms. This is the basic difference between a Guest House and a Bed and Breakfast, although B&B\\\\\\\'s usually have less stringent official requirements from the Scottish Tourist Board. Additionally Bed & Breakfast accommodation may be run part-time by the owner who may have another job and use the B&B as a second source of income. Guest Houses on the other hand tend to be full-time managed. Their are significantly more Guest Houses than Bed and Breakfasts in Scotland. Self-Catering is usually either a room(s) in an apartment shared or a complete apartment for rental, sometimes with separate facilities but frequently en-suite. Prices naturally vary greatly but expect to pay significantly more for accommodation during the summer season, sometimes as much as 50% extra. And advance booking is strongly recommended as popular tourist destinations are often full by Mid-March for the summer holiday months with the Edinburgh Festival, the Military Tattoo and holidays such as Hogmanay, Christmas and New Year.
The Scottish Tourist Board actually defines establishments as follows: Bed & Breakfast Private Accommodation for six paying guests or less and run by the owner. Guest House A more commercial variant than a B&B with accommodation for at least six guests coupled with breakfast and other meals often provided or available. Farmhouse A Guesthouse or B&B provided on a fully working smallholding or farm. Inn Accommodation (usually a guesthouse) that is fully-licenced, although this term is more popular in North America than Scotland.
Accommodation Prices for B&B\\\\\\\'S, Guesthouses and Self-Catering are the starting prices, per night (or usually with self-catering per week) and are usually low-season prices. During the Edinburgh Festival, Summer months and during Holiday periods prices may rise particularly in Edinburgh accommodation and other Scottish Cities. Usually on checking-in you are charged in advance for your stay. All B&B\\\\\\\'s, Guesthouses and Self-Catering take cash, and in almost all cases Credit/Debit Card. It is highly recommended that you inform the establishment of your arrival time, especially when arriving at unusual hours such as early morning or late evening.
Please note many Guesthouses and B&B\\\\\\\'s in the Highlands and Islands are closed during the Winter Season and may not open until March 2010.
If you expect to travel by public transport during your stay try and book advance tickets as trains and coaches are often full during the high season - especially those departing from Edinburgh and Glasgow to the Highlands and Islands. Air Travel between the UK major cities such as London is cheap and frequent with carriers such as easyJet and Ryan Air. Advisable to Book online early as often