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.



Your name


Blackness, United Kingdom
See all sites in Blackness


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


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gareth Baird (7 months ago)
An interesting way to spend an hour or so. The history is great but the views are amazing. There are a fair amount of stairs to navigate so make sure you are on top form. Our young kids had a blast. Picnic benches are available as are toilets and a gift shop. Parking is limited right next to the castle but there is more nearby.
Shox Wake (8 months ago)
A wonderful place with some rich history including an attack from Oliver Cromwell also has housed munitions in more recent times. It's architecture is quite breathtaking, with the thickness of the walls on some sides has to be seen to be understood totally. There is lots to see and the guides impart some really fascinating insights .
Amy Wadsworth (8 months ago)
We had such a lovely trip visiting Blackness Castle!!! It is really really dog friendly and our dogs were allowed to see the castle with us. The staff were absolutely incredible and couldn't do enough to make sure our visit was perfect including getting the dogs fresh water - Thank you!! Amazing views from the castle and limited people in the castle (pre-booked tickets) at once so felt really safe. Would definitely recommend :)
Nathan Martin (10 months ago)
Got there slightly earlier than their opening time, fully expecting to be asked to wait until 10:00, however they were more than happy to start and gave us a fantastic tour of the castle, with time to go and walk around ourselves without interruption, too. Just make sure you book ahead of your visit, as they didn't have room and were fully booked the first day we tried there.
Ali McGonigle (2 years ago)
Stunning place with lovely walks around it. Dog friendly cafes in the area too. Book in advance and enjoy the castle!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Redipuglia World War I Memorial

Redipuglia is the largest Italian Military Sacrarium. It rises up on the western front of the Monte Sei Busi, which, in the First World War was bitterly fought after because, although it was not very high, from its summit it allowed an ample range of access from the West to the first steps of the Karstic table area.

The monumental staircase on which the remains of one hundred thousand fallen soldiers are lined up and which has at its base the monolith of the Duke of Aosta, who was the commanding officer of the third Brigade, and gives an image of a military grouping in the field of a Great Unity with its Commanding Officer at the front. The mortal remains of 100,187 fallen soldiers lie here, 39,857 of them identified and 60,330 unknown.