Edinburgh Castle set for one-off stint as nightclub venue

It has been a fixture on the Edinburgh skyline since the 12th century - but has rarely opened its gates to the public after dark.

But that is about to change when Edinburgh Castle is transformed into a vast neon-lit nightclub for an “exclusive after hours carnival.”

The attraction is to close down early for a three-hour adults-only party, dubbed “Knight at the Castle,” next Friday night, which will see DJs, pop and rock bands, and magicians performing.

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Historic sites around the castle, including Crown Square, the Royal Apartments, the Redcoat Cafe and the Queen Anne Tea Rooms will be transformed by special lighting effects for the £15-a-head bash.

Knight at the Castle will be adults-only.

The last entry for visitors to the castle on 5 October will be 3pm and the attraction will be cleared at 4pm to allow the event, which will run from 6.30-10.30pm to be set up.

Street food stalls and pop-up bars will be serving everything from pizza slices and “posh hot dogs” to prosecco and craft beer at the castle, which will be divided into five zones lit in different neon colours.

Five Edinburgh Napier University students have helped design the event for Historic Environment Scotland, which runs the castle. Up to 1500 ticket-holders will get the chance to “dress up for a selfie,” inspect the Scottish Crown Jewels, and take part in an escape room challenge from the castle’s military prison.

Among the acts lined up to appear are rising pop star Be Charlotte, who performed at V&A Dundee’s opening celebrations in her home city, Glasgow indie-band West Princes and Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Sophie Penman, who won a new talent contest to earn a slot to appear at the event. It has been funded to the tune of £25,000 by EventScotland to mark the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People.

Historic Scotland senior event coordinator Craig Fletcher said: “We’re looking forward to opening up one of Scotland’s most iconic heritage sites to celebrate the Year of Young People in style.

Knight at the Castle offers the chance to experience the historic fort in a completely new way.

Guests will encounter a special festival atmosphere featuring a creative programme inspired by a unique mash-up of the neon theme and the castle’s rich history.”

Terry Levinthal, director of heritage group the Cockburn Association, said Knight at the Castle had echoes of similar events at the National Museum.

He added: “Enhancing the appeal to wider audiences of our heritage sites is important for their continued relevance and sustainability.”