Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore.

The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle’s days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland’s capital city.

At the core lies the original, late-14th-century tower house, among the first of this form of castle built in Scotland. It stands 17m high to the battlements, has walls almost 3m thick, and holds a warren of rooms, including a fine great hall on the first floor.

‘Queen Mary’s Room’, also on the first floor, is where Mary is said to have slept when staying at Craigmillar. However, it is more likely she occupied a multi-roomed apartment elsewhere in the courtyard, probably in the east range.

Sir Simon Preston was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, whom she appointed as Provost of Edinburgh. In this capacity, he was her host for her first night as a prisoner, at his townhouse in the High Street, on 15 June 1567. She was taken to Lochleven Castle the following day.

The west range was rebuilt after 1660 as a family residence for the Gilmour family.

The 15th-century courtyard wall is well preserved, complete with gunholes shaped like inverted keyholes. Ancillary buildings lie within it, including a private family chapel.

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Details

Founded: c. 1375-1425
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Amanda Williams (20 months ago)
This was my debut castle and it was absolutely stunning! It has easy access to get to the castle and is a little more out of the way instead of right in the center of Edinburgh, which I think only adds to the feeling that it gives off! Many of the rooms are labeled with what purpose they think it may have served and there are several plaques with more information on who may have frequented the place and historical events that happened here.
Elizabeth Arnold (20 months ago)
Fab place to visit! Steeped in history & intrigue. We visited today when the weather wasn't as bright and still the castle looked beautiful. We will absolutely be back again!
Andrew S (21 months ago)
Surprisingly large and interesting castle on the edge of Edinburgh. Great 'explorer pack' for children and a room in the castle with medieval style children's games. Lax prison with toilet and window tho, not down to the standard of most Scottish castles!
Iain Hoey (21 months ago)
Very nice castle, loads of places for the kids to run around and have fun. Some games too in one of the rooms. Offers a nice view of Edinburgh from the south. Car park is very small and tight though.
Becoming The Real Me (21 months ago)
It doesn't look much from the road, but wow! It was amazing! Our group had 3 adults and 2 teenagers, everyone of us loved it. It was huge, loads of stairs and rooms to explore, we went all the way to the top and we could see Edinburgh Castle, the Scots Monument and Arthur's Seat. Awesome, best day of my holiday!
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