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

Robert Shiver (5 months ago)
This has been one of my favorite castles!! Lots to see and explore! The views were awesome and I highly recommend coming here if you find yourself driving by!!
Annie Sobol (5 months ago)
Lovely restored castle by the southern shore with beautiful views of Firth of Forth. Also, a film location for the Outlander series - it stood in for Fort William in Series 1. Overall, a fabulous castle to walk around, also walk the upper level and spiral staircases ?
Stephen Hall (5 months ago)
We spent an afternoon here with our 9 year old and we were all fascinated by how interesting this place was. The design of the castle was what brought us to visiting. There were a lot of information boards which helped us envision what this castle was like during its use. The staff were very friendly and helpful. Tickets are to be booked in advance which allows you to park onsite. Dog friendly which is an added bonus! There is also a little souvenir shop which sold little keep sakes. Highly recommend to anyone who is in the area.
M Spooner (6 months ago)
The best of four castle we visited in two days. Very friendly staff, made to feel welcome. Castle is well preserved and lots of history. Because it's off the beaten track a bit, it was great to explore the whole castle and take in the atmosphere and history. Got some great photos too without loads of bright jacketed people in them :) Highly recommend a visit. No coach loads of people.
K Elf (7 months ago)
This is a fun and well intact castle to visit. This sits right on the coast and can be really windy and wet, but hey, then you know you're in Scotland! There are plenty of rooms to explore, including the pier that juts out from the castle.
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