Craigmillar Castle

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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.



Your name


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


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sandy Button (10 months ago)
What a beautiful treasure!! I was very impressed how well preserved this place is. Ticket was 7.50£ and you have plenty of time to explore by yourself. You need time to admire the endless views. Very friendly staff! There is a little shop at the entrance. Highly recommend!!!
Keri Smith (11 months ago)
This was amazing... lots to do for younger ones as well with a trail around the castle and also summer games out on the lawn. Full of history and well preserved. Lovely little shop that sells memorabilia and also cold drinks and snacks. Few benches to sit on as well just outside the castle. Small car park so would recommend getting there early or taking the bus and walking to it. Highly recommend a visit here though.
Michelle Leatham (12 months ago)
One of the more enjoyable castles we visited on our trip. We especially enjoyed coming up through the peaceful woods behind the back of the castle, walking through the stone fence and passing what was the P-shaped lake. The shape of the letter P for the Preston family who owned it at one time. We learned that because of the high taxes, the latest owner may have intentionally removed the roof and filled in the windows so there were fewer taxable living spaces. This is definitely a castle that you don't want to miss.
Lynn Smith (12 months ago)
I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this old castle. Some low points though were the unsupervised children running and jumping around the ruins which were slippery and it was also causing unnecessary damage to the castle ... their parents were there but not supervising. The views are amazing and I could not believe how close to the city this piece of history is.
it get (14 months ago)
Another castle in Edinburgh. Even though it’s not famous like Edinburgh castle, it’s still a good place to visit if you are a castle lover. Mary queen of Scotland was once imprisoned here, so there are many rooms here that are associated with her. It’s well preserved, so visitors can get to 80% of rooms in castle. Visitors can also have access to the highest place in the castle, where they can have a good view of their surroundings. I visited the day after the snow had stopped. The whole castle was covered with snow and had a quiet and mysterious beauty. Highly recommended.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Saint-Gervais Church

Saint-Gervais protestant church is built on the foundations of a 4th century sanctuary and a 10th century Romanesque church. During the Reformation, the church became a place of Protestant worship. The archaeological site can be visited which includes the remains of a Gallo-Roman temple and the first proof of human presence on Genevan soil.