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

Andrew Gleave (7 months ago)
Good place to go for a walk round the grounds. Castle itself unfortunately closed, but still worth a trip. Great rose garden and Japanese garden. Coffee shop is incredible too! Amazing cakes!
Natalie Hancox (9 months ago)
I love Lauriston, its a great garden for walking with small children and dogs (although be mindful of the croquet lawn with dogs). It's well kept and although it can be busy there are nice, quiet tracks around the perimeter of the grounds for off-lead walking with the dog. Also they have a Mimi's cafe which is a lovely treat on a sunny day.
juan ma diaz (13 months ago)
A great small state in the city. Beautiful house and gardens. Also a delightful Japanese garden. I visited this place in Spring, summer and autumn, every time surprised by how the garden glows. There is also a small coffee shop with great cakes and ice-creams
Sarah Corbett (15 months ago)
Always worth the trip for us. The castle itself is not open to the public often but we were lucky enough to get a tour once and it was fascinating. Usually we cycle over and treat ourselves to tea and cake in the courtyard. What could be better?
Irene Watson (19 months ago)
Lovely visit to the gardens,castle not open to public yet. Gorgeous Japanese garden,fantastic views across the Forth to Fife. . Small car park,free. Takeaway cafe with outdoor tables--no toilet facilities open as yet. Great for picnics plenty open space for kids to run around.
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