Blackness Castle

Blackness, United Kingdom

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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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Steffie Geary (16 days ago)
Amazing castle within driving distance from Edinburgh. Limited parking directly at the gate, however there is parking down the road. Staff was super friendly, we ended up having a lovely chat. There is a little gift shop. Interesting walk in and around the castle and the history is super interesting. Part of historic scotland.
Ricky fraser mackenzie hughes (16 days ago)
The ship that never sailed. Built by Sir George Crichton in the 15th century in the beautiful village of blackness. A really fantastic and beautiful castle that lies right on the firth of forth. Lots to explore and some really amazing views from the central tower. The cental courtyard has very atmosphere feel with lots of exposed stone and natural stone formations, take care in rain as these can be slippy. Although it's mostly a shell with lots of unfurnished rooms it has a really historic feel and it's been used by film and TV programmes such as outlander and Mary Queen of Scots. Overall superb and one of my favourite castles
Lakota Bratt (24 days ago)
Had a lovely time visiting and exploring the castle. It's a must-see for outlander fans. The view from the tower is quite beautiful. Be sure to watch your step constantly, I nearly tripped a few times. It was a lovely experience.
Pete Taylor (36 days ago)
Small castle with tidy lawns and great views across the River Forth. Didn't access the buildings as had our dog in tow. Dogs are allowed in the grounds, which is free to access. Small charge to go inside the castle buildings. Just off the John Muir way, so if you're walking that route, drop in to see this historic location.
Debra Doser (2 months ago)
This place is amazing, and I can see why it was so hard to take in battle. Best example of a heavily fortified castle. Is is famous for it being filmed in the series Outlander (Jamie's lashing scene). It also was a prison for a while for the Mary Queen of Scots.
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