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Places to go in Edinburgh & Lothians


Borthwick Castle
Near Gorebridge, on minor road north of A7.
Masssive 8-storey keep began in 1420.  Still shows damage to parapet by Cromwell's cannon.  Now used as a hotel.  (NT 370 597)

Photograph by Duncan Fenton

Borthwick Castle

Cairnpapple Hill
Three miles north of Bathgate, near Torphichen off the A89, 65 NS 987 717 Tel: 01506 634622
One of the most important prehistoric monuments in Scotland, Cairnpapple was used as a burial and ceromonial site from about 3000 to 1400 BC. Good views of east-central Scotland may be had from the hill.
Open summer only
Photograph by Duncan Fenton
Cairnpapple Hill
Castlelaw Hill Fort
On Castle Knowe, about one mile north west of Glencorse, 66 NT 229 638
An Iron Age hill fort with a souterrain built in one of the ditches.
Chesters Hill Fort
One miole south of Drem, 66 NT 507 782.
One of the best-preserved examples in Scotland of an Iron Age fort defended by an elaborate system of ramparts and ditches.
Corstorphine Dovecot
In Dovecot Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh
A large circular 'beehive' dovecot in a good state of preservation with nesting boxes complete.
Craigmillar Castle
2.5m SE of Edinburgh off the A68.
Tel: 0131 661 4445

Built round an L-plan tower house of the early 15th century, Craigmillar was much expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is a handsome ruin, including a range of private rooms linked to the hall of the old tower. Mary Queen of Scots fled to Craigmillar after the murder of Rizzio and it was here that the plot was hatched for the murder of her husband Lord Darnley. This handsome structure with courtyard and gardens covers an area of one and a quarter acres.
Winter: closed Thursday afternoons and Fridays.
Craigmillar Castle
Crichton Castle
2.5m SSW of Pathhead off the A68, 66 NT 380 611
Tel: 01875 320017

A large and sophisticated castle with a spectacular facade of faceted stonework in an Italian style added, following a visit to Italy, by the Earl of Bothwell between 1581 and 1591. Mary Queen of Scots attended a wedding here.
Winter: closed
Crichton Castle
Dirleton Castle and Gardens
In Dirleton village 2m W of North Berwick on the A198.
Tel: 01620 850330.

A romantic castle often in the forefront of Scottish history since it was built in the 12th century. The renowned gardens, added in the 16th century, include an Arts and Crafts herbaceous border and Victorian garden.
Dirleton Castle and Gardens
Doonhill Homestead
2 miles south of Dunbar, off the A1, 67 NT 686 755
The site of a wooden hall of a 6th century British chief, and of an Anglian chief's hall which superseded it in the 7th century, revealed by aerial photography followed by excavation in the 1960s. A rare record of the Anglian occupation of south-east Scotland.
Dunbar Castle
North of A1087 on harbour.  Now very ruined, this was once a very important castle, given its strategic location.  (NT 678 794)

Photograph by Duncan Fenton

Dunbar Castle

Dunglass Collegiate Church
One mile north west of Cockburnspath, 67 NT 766 718
Founded in 1450 for a college of canons by Sir Alexander Hume. A handsome cross-shaped building with vaulted nave, choir and transepts, all with stone slab roofs.
Eagle Roack, Cramond
On the shore of the Forth about quarter of a mile west of Cramond, 66 NT 184 774
A much-defaced carving on natural rock, said to represent an eagle.
Edinburgh Castle
In Edinburgh.
Tel: 0131 225 9846

This most famous of castles dominates Scotland's capital and gives stunning views of the city and countryside. St Margaret's Chapel; the enormous 500-year-old siege cannon Mons Meg; the Great Hall; the royal palace and the Scottish National War Memorial are here together with the highly acclaimed "Honours of the Kingdom" exhibition which traces the history of Scotland's Crown Jewels and culminates in a visit to the Crown Room. The Vaults were where foreign prisoners-of-war were held, particularly those captured in the wars with France in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the grafitti scrawled by the prisoners can still be seen. Courtesy vehicle for disabled visitors (sponsored by the Bank of Scotland). Restaurant offering self and table service.
Open seven days a week, April to September 9.30 am to 6.00 pm. October to March 9.30 am to 5.00 pm. Last ticket sold 45 minutes before closing.
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Hailes Castle
One and a half miles south west of East Linton, 67 NT 574 757
A beautifully sited ruin incorporating a fortified manor of 13th century date, extended in the 14th and 15th centuries. There are two vaulted pit-prisons.
Photograph by Duncan Fenton
Hailes Castle
Holyrood Abbey
At the foot of the Canongate, Edinburgh, in the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The ruined nave of the 12th and 13th century abbey church, built for Augustinian canons. Abbey and palace administered by the Lord Chamberlain.
There is no free entry for Friends of Historic Scotland at this site.
Thanks to
Katie Erickson for providing this picture.
Holyrood Abbey
Holyrood Park
In Edinburgh, immediately to the east of Holyrood Palace and Abbey.
It has probably been a royal park since the Augustinian Abbey was founded in the early 12th century, and was formally enclosed in 1541 during James V's reign. Within the park is a wealth of archaeology, including the remains of four hill forts, other settlements and round them a fascinating landscape of prehistoric and early-medieval farming activity.
Lauderdale Aisle, St Mary's Church
In Haddington
The former sacristy of the great 15th century parish church, with splendid monument of early-17th century date, in marble, with alabaster effigies.

Photographs by Duncan Fenton

Lauderdale Aisle

Lauderdale Aisle

St Mary's Church

Linlithgow Palace
In Linlithgow off the M9.
Tel: 01506 842896

The magnificent ruin of a great Royal Palace set in its own park and beside Linlithgow Loch. Birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. All the Stewart kings lived here from James I (1406-37) and later it housed Cromwell, Bonnie Prince Charlie and, after Culloden, the Duke of Cumberland. Mary of Guise declared of Linlithgow she had "never seen such a princely palace".
Linlithgow Palace
Linlthgow doo-cot
The Ross Doocot, Learmonth Gardens, Linlithgow was built in the16th century by the Baron Ross of Halkhead, and can be seen opposite the Linlithgow Canal Centre. It is a circular beehive doo-cot built of rubble and has 370 nesting boxes. The doo-cot had 15,000 spent on it for repairs / restoration in 2010. Grid Ref NT00347701. Picture by Mark Bragg.

Ormiston Market Cross
In the village of Ormiston, two miles south of Tranent
Symbol of the right of the inhabitants to hold a market, this is a fine free standing 15th century cross on a modern base.
Preston Market Cross
Half a mile south of Prestonpans, 66 NT 391 740
The only surviving example of a market cross of its type on its original site. A beautiful piece of early 17th century design, with a cylindrical base surmounted by a cross-shaft headed by a unicorn.

Photographs by Duncan Fenton

Preston Tower. dates from 15th C with additions on top from 16th C.

Preston Market Cross
St Martin's Kirk, Haddington
On the eastern outskirts of Haddington.
The ruined nave of a Romanesque church, altered in the 13th century.
St. Mary's Church, Haddington.  dates from 14th c, but much restored
St Triduana's Chapel, Restarig Collegiate Church
Off Restalrig Road South, on the east side of Edinburgh.
The lower part of a chapel built by James III, housing the shrine of St Triduana, a Pictish saint. The Hexagonal vaulted chamber is unique.
Seton Collegiate Church
1m SE of Cockenzie off the A198, 66 NT 418 751
Tel: 01875 813334

The chancel and apse of this lovely building are 15th-century. The transepts and steeple were added by the widow of the Lord Seton who was killed at Flodden in 1513.
Winter: closed Tuesday afternoons and Wednesdays.
Seton Collegiate Church
Tantallon Castle
3m E of North Berwick off the A198 67 NT 595 850
Tel: 01620 892727

Set on the edge of the cliffs, looking out to the Bass Rock, this formidable castle was a stronghold of the Douglas family. It features earthwork defences and a massive 50ft-high 14th-century curtain wall with towers. Display includes replica guns.
Winter: open weekends only.
Tantallon Castle
Torphichen Preceptory
In Torphichen village
The tower and transepts of a church built by the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in the 13th century, much altered.
Open summer on Saturdays (11.00am to 5:00pm) and on Sundays and bank holidays (2.00pm to 5.00pm)

Photographs by Duncan Fenton

Torphichen Preceptory

One of 5 of Torphichen's 'Refuge Stones' marking the boundary of of the area surrounding the preceptory, where one could claim sanctuary, and therefore not be taken prisoner.

Redhouse Castle
1 mile south of Aberlady, south of B1377 NT 463770
16th C courtyard castle

Photographs by Duncan Fenton

Redhouse Castle


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