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The magnificent Edinburgh Castle is prominently perched on the Castle Hill in the city centre. You can’t miss this one. It’s Edinburgh’s most popular tourist attraction that dates back as early as the 6th century. At one glance, I thought it was daunting to walk up to the Castle Hill.  Nothing of that sort. The Castle is situated at the upper end of the Royal Mile where we enjoyed The Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival in Edinburgh that takes place in August each year.

Our STA Topdeck itinerary gave us the freedom to roam the city till evening when we gathered for an optional Scottish Ceilidh night to have dinner that served haggis (!) while enjoying traditional Scottish music and dances.

The entrance fee to Edinburgh Castle costs £13.00/adult. To beat the very long queue at the ticket counter, you are encouraged to book the ticket online at their official website. (www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk)

Situated on an extinct volcanic plug,  Edinburgh Castle offers a breathtaking panoramic spectacle of the city and further afield.

The historic building with the distinctive crown spire is the famous St Giles’ Cathedral on Royal Mile. It houses a collection of beautiful stained glass windows among other memorials. The photo was taken with a 200mm telephoto lens.

Photo of the sea view shot with a 200mm telephoto lens from Edinburgh Castle.

The Edinburgh Castle Pet Cemetery is a small burial ground for soldiers’ dogs since 1840.

Rising above the horizon, Arthur’s seat unveils another lofty perspective of the historic cityscape and is a popular walk for tourists. The blue seats near the entrance of the Edinburgh Castle are for the spectators who attend The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo that’s part of the annual Edinburgh Festival in August.

One of the many cannons at the Castle.

Built around 1130, St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest Romanesque architecture in Edinburgh Castle. Though it’s very small, the chapel is one of the main highlights of the Castle.

A stained window in St Margaret’s Chapel.

Temporary on duty at the guard post.

As one of the top ten highlights at Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish National War Memorial commemorates the militants who perished in the First World War. Among the main attractions are the Royal Palace, the Prisons of War and the Crown Room where visitors have to join the long queue to see the precious crown, sceptre and sword of the ancient kingdom. You can easily spend at least half a day at the Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh at night. The glowing green tower is Edinburgh Castle.

We joined Topdeck for the optional Scottish Ceilidh dinner – Jamie’s Scottish Evening at The King James Thistle Hotel – where we had a sumptuous traditional Scottish three course meal and haggis tasting while enjoying the Scottish dances and music.

The bagpiper, musicians and dancers wearing kilts showcased the traditional Scottish performances and impressed us all during the Ceilidh dinner.

The performer blowing a bagpipe.

The male dancer in tartan kilt.

The host introduced the infamous haggis to the diners who were mostly tourists. The traditional Scottish dish contains sheep innards blended with condiments such as oatmeal, onion and spices all prepared in a casing that can be a sheep’s stomach and allow to simmer for hours. When he cut open the casing, the haggis oozed out.

Love it or hate it. Haggis is an acquired taste and remains a popular Scottish food among curious tourists like us who might be intimidated by its ingredients. My verdict: haggis has a peppery flavour and it tastes like sausages. Did I chow down the whole scoop of haggis? Filled with the thought that I was eating sheep’s organs, nope!

Next, we travelled deep into the Scottish Highlands in search for the Loch Ness Monster.

Read all posts related to my Topdeck UK trip and Cardiff, Wales.