Lauriston Castle is a 16th-century tower house with 19th-century extensions overlooking the Firth of Forth. The castle stood on this site in medieval times but was almost totally destroyed in the raids on Edinburgh in 1544 by the earl of Hertford.

A tower house was re-built around 1590 by Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston, father of John Napier, for his younger son, also named Archibald. Later, it was the home of John Law (1671–1729), the economist, Right Hon. Andrew Lord Rutherfurd (1791–1854), and Thomas Macknight Crawfurd of Cartsburn and Lauriston Castle, 8th Baron of Cartsburn from 1871 to 1902. In 1827, Thomas Allan, a banker and mineralogist, commissioned William Burn (1789–1870) to extend the house in the Jacobean style.

William Robert Reid, proprietor of Morison & Co., an Edinburgh cabinetmaking business, acquired Lauriston Castle in 1902, installed modern plumbing and electricity, and he and his wife Margaret filled the house with a collection of fine furniture and artwork. The Reids, being childless, left their home to Scotland on the condition that it should be preserved unchanged. The City of Edinburgh has administered the house since Mrs Reid's death in 1926, which today offers a glimpse of Edwardian life in a Scottish country house.

In 1905, during one of its numerous refurbishments, a stone carving of an astrological horoscope was installed in the outer wall, on the southwest corner. The horoscope was reputedly done by John Napier for his brother. It can be seen in some pictures on the front wall, beneath the left-most stair tower, near the ground.

Lauriston Castle was originally a four-storey, stone L plan tower house, with a circular stair tower, with two storey angle turrets complete with gun loops. A Jacobean range was added in 1827, to convert it to a country manor. This was designed by the prominent architect William Burn.

The gardens at Lauriston include a notable Japanese garden of one hectare. The garden, built by Takashi Sawano, and dedicated as the Edinburgh-Kyoto Friendship Garden, opened in August 2002.

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Founded: c. 1590
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

David Cairns Pettigrew (2 years ago)
Always great views of sea Japanese garden Cafe and old house and gardens
Carlos Vicenty (2 years ago)
Lauriston Castle stole my heart, the tranquility of it's gardens and patios relaxed me big time.
Moira Fenning (2 years ago)
Beautiful grounds and spectacular views. The Kyoto Friendship Garden is a must. So peaceful
Drew McAdam (3 years ago)
Highly recommended. A very knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide who takes the tours , and a house full of surprises. This has become one of my favourite places - and that's not even including the amazing views over the Firth of Forth and the stunning Japanese Peace Garden.
Sorin Carbunaru (3 years ago)
Haven't been inside the castle, but the park around it is absolutely calm and gorgeous. And the outside of the castle is also beautiful. There were some older people playing croquet, and I found it very nice to watch.
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