The Halifax Citadel is one the most popular sites to visit in all of Nova Scotia. In one place, you'll have the chance to learn about the province's history and British roots. Perched above the harbor atop Citadel Hill Halifax, the fort has grown into a fascinating place to explore. Your guide for your visit will look the part of a British solider who once guarded this New World outpost. Leaving behind the sights and sounds of the modern city, you'll trade them for sound of rifles firing and bagpipes playing solemn tunes.
As soon as you arrive at Citadel Hill Halifax, you'll be greeted with amazing views of the harbor and the city. The National Historic Site is easy to access from the Halifax waterfront and the hotels near Halifax Citadel—all you have to do is head uphill and look for the Old Town Clock. Several highways lead right to Halifax and its popular attraction, which has onsite parking for a small fee if you are traveling with a rental car. Admission fees are required, too, and are discounted for kids, seniors, and groups.
In deciding when to go, it's important to know that the Halifax Citadel is open all year, but the services and costumed interpreters are available May through October. During the summer, many dedicated people work to tell the history of the Halifax Citadel. They take on the roles of the typical people who populated this naval outpost, including military personnel and their families. These folks go about the tasks of a typical day. As visitors wander around, they can see what the fort was like in another era. The garrison, schoolroom, and guardroom seem to continue as they always have.
If you have any questions about the things to do, the visitor center staff are willing and eager to give you some guidance. Taking in the exhibit Fortress Halifax-Warden of the North is an excellent way to get your footing. More exhibits are housed with the Army Museum, which displays an interesting collection of weapons and uniforms from British and Canadian military units.
If you choose one of the guided tours, which typically take an hour, the history of the Halifax Citadel will unfold in vivid detail. The well-trained docents know the story better than almost anybody. Taking in the multimedia shows also area good ways to hear this story of this outpost. The Tides of History movie details the city's role as a seaport, one of the most important for the British on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Another movie, A Harbour Worth Exploring, explains the importance of citadels in general and Citadel Hill in specific.
Throughout the history of the Halifax Citadel, noon has been marked with the firing of the rifle. Even today, this is one of the most dramatic events during the day. The Royal Artillery drills continue to amaze visitors with precision and pageantry.
The reenactors who take on the role of the 78th Highlanders capture the attention of visitors, especially with their Scottish Tartan kilts and feathered headwear. Members of this living history regiment are also available to lead ghost tours, provide narration on harbor cruises, and even host scotch tastings. A daylong package allows visitors to dress in costume and experience the world of the Victorian Army.
Visitors to the Halifax Citadel also have the chance to stop for a cup of coffee and do some shopping. The Cavalier Building is home to a little coffee bar that serves up hot drinks, tasty pastries, and light meals, all in a unique atmosphere. Purchases at the Regimental Shop help to support the programs that bring Citadel Hill back to life.