This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Long Cane, Powerchair, Hidden Impairment
Our visit, we were a group of folk out exploring the city, was on a cold and January afternoon. We were surprised at the number of areas within the castle that offered accessible features and made the visit fun for everyone. Approaching the Esplanade we didn't have to ask before a steward came over and asked if we were visiting and told us about the mobility vehicle. My pal decided to brave the slopes with his powerchair but it was great to have the option to get a lift up to the top and around the different sections of the castle. It was a great start to have such a nice welcome and this continued as we went about exploring.
Transport & Parking
You can get away from the fact that the castle is built at the top of hill. We decided to approach in stages as we were walking up the Royal Mile. A stop off to look at tartan scarves, get a coffee and take pictures of the views made it easier going than rolling up in one go. Once on the Esplanade we had the option to use the castle's mobility vehicle or take our time and walk up the cobbled route to the castle. Again this was broken into sections with a quick visit to the loos just inside the entrance, a meander in to the gift shop and then a walk up toward the one o'clock gun for some photographs.
It's hard to quantify but this review is mainly from my perspective and influenced by the experience of my companions. As a visually impaired person I enjoyed the visit. It was good how the staff were so helpful as they told us what there was to see and pointed out places for my pal who uses a wheelchair to go and have a look at. The tactile models of the 'Crown Jewels' were fabulous as you got a good sense of the size and form. Then to go in to see the real thing brought the experience alive. It was great that these were wheelchair accessible too - thanks again to the staff who told us about the access and took us up via the hidden lift. The Great Hall was another great experience with the sense of space and it was easy to imagine what it was like in years past. Seeing the big fire place, the old windows, and the various fighting implements was great. The National Monument was a little more sobering but was again accessible for wheelchair users. We ventured down a level into the National Museum which again was wheelchair accessible and the exhibitions easy to follow and enjoy. For us the highlight was going up to Mons Meg, a big cannon from the 1400's, and the amazing views across the city; all topped off with a great view of the firing of the one o'clock gun!
The accessible toilets in the museum and the main entrance were fine. Easy to find and with all the requisite facilities.
It was without doubt the friendliness and helpful tips and suggestions that made out visit. It is for this reason we decided to give the castle the rating we did. We were made to feel welcome and our experience of visiting made us want to come back again! and we will !!
Anything else you wish to tell us?
The castle seems like it is going to be a challenging place to visit as a disabled person. The reality for us was that it was much, much better than imagined. It was the small things that made the big difference like the tactile models, the audio guide, the mobility vehicle and the amazing staff.