The United Kingdom consists of the isle of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain further comprises England, Scotland and Wales. Scotland is situated to the north of England and has its ceremonial capital in Edinburgh. There are various places of tourist interest in the city, such as the Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, Canton Hill and its churches. UK holidays can be planned by tourists to explore the city and its beautiful attractions.
The Edinburgh Castle is a prominent attraction, not only in Scotland but the entire United Kingdom. It is situated on the top of an extinct volcano, which is believed to have been inhabited since the Iron Age. Most of the structures inside the castle date from the 12th century onwards. The forecourt, at the base of the volcano, leads to the Gatehouse, which is the main entry. Following the paved road, visitors reach the Portcullis Gate, under the Argyle Tower. Moving further, a small flight of stairs leads to Argyle Battery, which is one of the several military structures inside the complex. Outside the building, is the One O’ Clock, which is fired at 1 pm every day and opposite to it is the Mons Meg cannon, which was given to King James II by the Philip of Burgundy in 1457. The western defences are reached by climbing steps, beside the Argyle building and then going right. To the left of these steps are the Governor House and National War Museum. Various weapons used by the Scottish armies are housed in the museum. Opposite the museum are barracks and the regimental museums. Behind the regimental museums are the Durys Battery and military prisons. The former houses the Prisons of War, where prisoners from France, Spain, US, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Denmark were kept.
A narrow road from the buildings leads to the Crown Square, which is surrounded by buildings like the Great Hall, Royal Palace and Scottish National War Memorial. The king administered his country from the Great Hall, where the guests honoured him and sang his praises. A rather sizeable collection of weapons and arms is on display here. The Scottish monarchs sometimes resided in the royal palace, which also provided refuge during times of turmoil. King James VI was borne by Queen Mary of Scots inside this building. Its first floor houses the royal crown, sceptre and the sword of the monarch, which are collectively known as Honours of Scotland. A boulder, known as the Stone of Destiny, atop which the coronations happened, is also part of the exhibits. The Scottish National War Memorial has stained glass paintings of WWI and sculptures symbolising courage, justice, peace and eternity of the human soul. Statues of animals representing various vices and virtues are worth seeing.
Coming out of the Crown Square and following the road through the Foogs Gate gets visitors to the chapel of St. Margaret, built in 1130 by David I. Weddings and baptisms are still held inside it. People then follow the road past the Forewall and the Half-Moon Batteries. The latter overlooks the main entry and was built to hurl cannonballs towards it in the event of an attempted invasion. A London tour can be modified to explore this medieval establishment, which dominates the Edinburgh skyline.