However, Edinburgh and the surrounding region are home to an astonishing amount of historical sites, particularly castles, perhaps more than anywhere else. This article discusses 10 of these breathtaking spots that are essential to any trip to the capital.
1. Craigmillar Castle
Although it is only three miles from its older relative, the surrounding area of Craigmillar Castle gives the impression that it is located deep within the Scottish Highlands. Due to its legendary history as Mary Queen of Scots’ refuge (and later prison), Craigmillar is a popular tourist destination. The maze-like structure’s majority has crumbled over time, but the 17-meter-tall tower house from the 12th century still stands tall and proud.
2. Craigcrook Castle
One of the best-kept castles in the nation, Craigcrook Castle is located a few miles west of Edinburgh. Amidst a long list of owners over the years, publisher Archibald Constable’s appointment as the castle’s caretaker is one that stands out.
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Hans Christian Anderson, and even Charles Dickens have all been guests at the mansion. It is simple to understand why Craigcrook attracted so many famous lovers. It was constructed in a bewildering variety of styles that blend into one gorgeous structure.
3. Lochend Castle
In reality, Lochend Castle is the result of combining the 19th-century construction of Lochend House with ancient medieval remains. While the history of the region can be traced over the ages, the castle itself is shrouded in secrecy because ancient texts only refer to it as “the old tower.” The mysterious castle continued to appear on maps after that and is still an interesting place to visit in the Edinburgh vicinity.
4. Crichton Castle
The remains of Crichton Castle, which stand by themselves on the River Tyne, depict the family’s descent into disgrace. Although the castle is bordered by rolling pastures, Scotland’s varied topography is highlighted by its close proximity to Edinburgh.
The aura hanging above Crichton Castle is unrepeatable, with a past that includes witchcraft charges and a feast that served as inspiration for Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding. Even the architecture is out of the ordinary, having an intriguing facade with Italian influences that is unique to Scotland.
5. Borthwick Castle
One of the biggest fortifications in Scotland, Borthwick Castle has two imposing twin towers. The lavishness of the castle, which was built by Sir William de Borthwick—who offered himself as a hostage in exchange for King James I—reflects the grandeur of his persona.
From their expulsion by Oliver Cromwell in 1650 until 1810, the Borthwick family maintained their residence in the stronghold. The castle, which is now a location for events, also hosts open days that you should take advantage of if you can.
6. Dalhousie Castle
As a vassal of the recently crowned King David, the English knight Simundus of Ramsey built a fortress on the Dalhousie estates in the middle of the 1100s. Dalhousie’s history is everything from tranquil, despite the fact that it is presently rented out as a picaresque venue and spa. The fort’s massive red stone walls, which were inhabited by both Edward I and Oliver Cromwell, have served as a home to the key figures in Scottish military history.
7. Lauriston Castle
Lauriston Castle makes up for its lack of a rich historical background with exquisite beauty. The public is welcome to visit the lovely gardens surrounding the castle, which has views of the Firth of Forth.
The not-so-secret Japanese Garden of Lauriston is tucked away within its expansive foliage. Although it may not be a typical Scottish experience, getting lost in the serene streams and eerie cherry blossom trees is an experience not to be missed.
8. Carlowrie Castle
Carlowrie Castle is very stunning. The castle is noteworthy as an exceptionally unusual example of renowned architect David Rhind’s style applied to a household project. It was constructed in a 19th-century imitation of Gothic architecture.
Isobel Wylie Hutchinson was born and raised in Carlowrie, and it is only recently that her contributions to botany and exploration are being recognized on par with those of her male contemporaries. Hutchinson spent a complete 93 years living in the Arctic Circle and beyond when she wasn’t on an adventure.
9. Blackness Castle
Following its appearance in the television series Outlander, Blackness Castle, another residence of the famed Crichton family, saw a boom in popularity. Blackness’ expansive, ship-like construction combines defence prowess with the splendour of affluent living to create an amazing stronghold that looks out to the First of Forth.
10. Rosslyn Castle
The chapel itself has witnessed its fair share of conspiracies. However, it may be most well-known for serving as a location for The Da Vinci Code. Rosslyn became associated with romanticism and artistic ideas following its destruction by Cromwell and subsequent overrun by nature; Alexander Nasmyth and Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns paid their visits. The recently renovated castle is open for visitation every day and is located 9 miles south of Edinburgh.