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

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Julien Coullet (5 months ago)
Lovely place, in a great scenery. Easy to access and to visit, but small parking lot.
Cassie Reynolds-Araji (5 months ago)
Stunning grounds and a good price for the amount of history and significance here. Really enjoyed and will be back with others in the future.
Taylor Davison (5 months ago)
Fantastic castle to visit and fun to see which parts have been used in recent films/TV shows
Imladris (13 months ago)
Magical ?
Jeremy Davis (13 months ago)
Of the castles I visited, this one was my favorite. It's a feature-rich castle where it's missing all that could decompose, but the stone is all still there, meaning there's a lot to walk around in and look at / out from.
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