TOURISTS visiting Edinburgh should avoid the long queues at Edinburgh Castle and head to a different city fortress instead according to the New York Times.
An article published in the prestigious newspaper’s travel blog, entitled “36 Hours in Edinburgh”, tells readers to skip the famous landmark in favour of a trip to Craigmillar Castle.
The writer explains that although Edinburgh Castle is often seen as the city’s “biggest draw”, queues can be so long, it makes a trip to the Royal Mile fortress a painful experience.
The piece suggests that visitors to the Scottish capital head south-east to the city’s ‘other castle’ and avoid being forced to elbow past the crowds in the city centre.
Craigmillar Castle, situated 5km from central Edinburgh, is best associated with Mary Queen of Scots, who moved their following the birth of her son, the future James VI.
Although the castle is partially in ruins, tickets are just £5.50, exactly a third of the price of entry to Edinburgh Castle.
The New York Times article explains: “Edinburgh Castle is perhaps the city’s biggest draw, and even on a weekday ticket lines can be long.
“Instead of elbowing your way past the crowds, head southeast to Craigmillar Castle: just three miles from the city center but surrounded by grassy fields and refreshingly low on visitors (admission, £5.50; taxi, around £10).
“A beautifully preserved castle whose original incarnation was built in the 1300s, it grew over the centuries with each resident family making changes.
“Ramparts and arrow-slit windows offer fabulous views all the way to Edinburgh Castle.”
Historic Environment Scotland said that although they appreciated the New York Times’ praise for Craigmillar, they would encourage tourists to visit both castles.
A spokesman for the organisation said: “It’s great that Craigmillar Castle’s praises are being sung by the likes of the New York Times.
“The feedback we get from visitors to the 700 year old castle is always the same: that it’s a ‘magical’ place, which offers a unique countryside retreat feel, even though it’s just a few miles from Edinburgh town centre.
“Of course, we’d always encourage visitors to the city to explore both of its castles and whilst in Edinburgh they may also want to visit other great sites such as Holyrood Abbey, Trinity House Maritime Museum, and even Holyrood Park.”
Edinburgh Castle is currently ranked third on TripAdvisor for things to do in Edinburgh.
It’s regularly voted amongst the top visitor attractions in the United Kingdom and welcomes well over one million visitors annually.