The Castle Gardens are on a steep hill directly under Edinburgh Castle to the South of the West Princes Street Garden. It is bounded by the railway line in the North and The Mound to the East.
This central public park on the steep North face of Edinburgh Castle tends to get a lot less visitors than Princes Street Gardens - and it's not just because the garden is sometimes closed for safety reasons due to subsidence or rock falls from the castle rock.
It's partly due to the fact that the access points are not that obvious unless you are already know about them and you arrive when the park is open. The gates into the park are frequently closed off for events like the Edinburgh Military Tattoo or Hogmanay.
You can access Castle Garden by a bridge behind the Ross Band Stand across the railway in West Princes Street Garden. The path uphill joins with a second path that traverses East-West to a gate halfway up the Mound. Or you can continue up the steeper portion of the path to the Castle Esplanade. This zig-zagging path is a short but strenuous hike and can get muddy at points after wet weather.
On a good day there are excellent views North to the Firth of Forth and Fife. Unlike the neighbouring Princes Street Gardens, the Castle Garden has a rough, unkempt character, with its long wild grass, thick nettle patches, and wild rabbits. There's a small stand of trees near the Mound end, planted as a millennium forest scheme, marked by a faded and barely legible plaque.
Access points (gates may be locked for safety reasons)
- West side of The Mound (about halfway up)
- Princes Street Gardens bridge behind the Ross Band Stand (aka Ross Theatre)
- Princes Street Gardens at far South West end
- Gate at Edinburgh Castle esplanade