Castle, Canons and Cobbles!!
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Wheelchair
One of Scotland's famous landmarks, Edinburgh Castle is a popular place to visit. At the top of the Royal Mile, the Castle stands proudly. Some areas are surprisingly accessible - I didn't expect lifts in a Castle! But a few more touches would improve this even further.
Transport & Parking
There are some disabled parking bays at the castle esplanade. There are some disabled bays on streets nearby, but remember it is a city so these will be taken quickly. Public transport doesn't take you right to the Castle, but within a 5-10min walk there are buses, tram, and train (Waverley is the nearest train station)
Edinburgh castle is on a steep hill, much of which is cobbles. Usually there is a mobility vehicle which will take visitors with disabilities/mobility difficulties from the esplanade right to the top of the castle. Unfortunately when we went, this vehicle was away for repair. These things happen, but it does make reaching the castle in a wheelchair quite a challenge! When I asked at the ticket Booth if there was anything I should know about wheelchair access, I was told 'You've just got to push.' I felt an opportunity was missed to give more information, as actually, there were quite a few accessible facilities at the castle itself. When at the Castle, we were wandering around the courtyard area, looking at the different things signposted. We did assume we wouldn't be able to get into any of them. However, a member of staff saw us looking and called over to us. He said there was a lift to take people to see the Crown Jewels. He led us to a ramped entrance, and to a lift (enough room for a manual wheelchair and 3 of us standing). He accompanied us to the room and said he or a colleague, would remain at the door until we were ready to go back down. This was really helpful, and it was a pleasant surprise we could access this. He then listed several other areas of the castle which had lift access. I also noticed when at the crown jewels that several of the exhibits had signs written in braille. The castle is a very popular place. Even though we visited on a morning, mid-week, it was still very busy. If you don't like crowds, I would definitely recommend you go in low-season. The 'one o clock gun' is a highlight for many, but is a sudden loud noise, so be ready for that!
There are accessible toilets, but we didn't use these, so unable to comment.
This varied, I felt more information could have been given at the ticket booth at the esplanade, or more assistance offered since the mobility vehicle was out of use. However, in the castle itself staff approached us to ask if we would like to access areas, they were friendly and helpful.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
I think it would be helpful if there was a map or leaflet available at the esplanade (and on the website) which showed the wheelchair accessible areas, where the lifts are etc. We enjoyed hearing the one o' clock gun', it is loud even when you are expecting it!!