Blackness Castle is a 15th-century fortress on the south shore of the Firth of Forth. It was built, probably on the site of an earlier fort, by Sir George Crichton in the 1440s. At this time, Blackness was the main port serving the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, one of the main residences of the Scottish monarch. The castle, together with the Crichton lands, passed to James II of Scotland in 1453, and the castle has been crown property ever since. It served as a state prison, holding such prisoners as Cardinal Beaton and the 6th Earl of Angus.

Strengthened by Sir James Hamilton of Finnart in the mid-16th century, the castle became one of the most advanced artillery fortifications of its time in Scotland. A century later, these defences were not enough to prevent Blackness falling to Oliver Cromwell's army in 1650. Some years after the siege, the castle was repaired, and again served as a prison and a minor garrison. In 1693, the spur protecting the gate was heightened, and the Stern Tower shortened as a base for three heavy guns. Barracks and officers' quarters were added in the 1870s, when the castle was used as an ammunition depot, until 1912. The castle was briefly reused by the army during World War I. It is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, in the care of Historic Scotland.

The castle stands on a rocky spit in the Firth of Forth, and is oriented north-south. The castle comprises a curtain wall, with integrated north and south towers, and a separate central tower in the courtyard. To the south-west, a defensive spur forms the main entrance, while a water gate to the north-west gives access to the 19th-century pier. Outside the walls are 19th-century soldiers' barracks and officers' quarters. The castle is said in popular legend to have a ley tunnel linking it with the House of the Binns, which lies about 3.1 km to the south.

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Blackness, United Kingdom
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Founded: 1440s
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ali McGonigle (9 months ago)
Stunning place with lovely walks around it. Dog friendly cafes in the area too. Book in advance and enjoy the castle!
Alastair Mitchell (9 months ago)
A great place to visit and explore with the family. The only down side was that our visit fell within the covid19 restrictions, which took away slightly from our enjoyment. That said the staff were excellent!
Katie Dubarry (9 months ago)
Lovely place to visit. Very interesting architecture and history. The views over the Forth are stunning. We visited during COVID19 restrictions and were very happy with the precautions put in place. One way system around the main tower and Castle Wall, which gives great views. There were very few people on site, and pinch points are manned to make sure people pass through without overcrowding.
Laura Brown (10 months ago)
Visited Blackness Castle yesterday and I have to say my family and I were very impressed, we were pleasantly surprised that all areas were open and able to explore (with face masks in enclosed areas and one way systems) We had a fantastic time and staff were extremely friendly and highlighted the guidelines to us on arrival, then left us to enjoy our visit. Great views, plenty to explore and good historical information. We had recently visited Stirling Castle and we were extremely disappointed by the amount of closures in the castle due to “Covid 19” however what I’m finding hard to wrap my head around is how Blackness Castle has managed to keep all areas open to view and follow Government Guidelines... yet Stirling Castle is pretty much closed apart from the open grounds and 2 empty halls?? (And still charging full price) Hopefully other sites that have “area closures” can take a note of how Blackness Castle are dealing with our current situation and we can continue to enjoy/explore our beautiful countries historic sites safely but fully :-)
iain cameron (10 months ago)
Interesting historical building. Quite difficult to walk around when wet.
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