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Castles to visit when staying in Edinburgh and The Lothians

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The Lothian region is located in the eastern area of Scotland central and is often broken up into three areas; East, West and Mid Lothian. The area is fortunate to be rich in heritage and boasts many significant castles. The main city in the region is Edinburgh (Scotland's capital) with Linlithgow, Livingston and Queensferry being the major towns of West Lothian and North Berwick, Haddington and Gullane being those of East Lothian. The region is easily accessible by road with the M8 connecting Glasgow to Edinburgh, the M9 connecting Edinburgh to Stirling, the M90 is the main route via the Forth Road Bridge to Perth, Dundee and the North, while the A1 is the main route south to England from Edinburgh which also services the East Lothian towns. Edinburgh also has a circular road called the City Bypass which makes travel around the City hassle free. Wherever you are in the Lothianís there are a plethora of castles to visit - some managed by The National Trust of Scotland, some by Historic Scotland and many privately-owned but open to the public.

There are many castles in the Lothian area that have historical significance, some with royal connections and many others with Scottish clan and family ties. Blackness Castle dates back to 1449. It is located near to the royal town of Linlithgow (a short drive off the M9 motorway in East Lothian) on the banks of the River Forth, in view of the docks at Rosyth. The castle came into royal hands in 1453 when the surrounding land was occupied by King James II. It spent much of the next century as a Royal Prison, housing many of the Kingís various enemies. Borthwick Castle was built in 1430 by Lord Borthwick and is located to the south of Edinburgh. The castle was home to the Borthwickís where lavish entertaining was often enjoyed by distinguished guests including Mary Queen of Scots on many occasions: it is also where she had her honeymoon with her third husband the Earl of Bothwell.

Perhaps the most famous of Scotlandís castles is Edinburgh Castle. This famous landmark has been sitting on an extinct volcano for over 3000 years. Archaeologists have found evidence of life as far back as 900 BC and the castle area was certainly a thriving settlement during the Roman occupation of Scotland during the 1st and 2nd centuries. Edinburgh Castle is located in the centre of the city close to the famous Princes Street and at the top of the Royal Mile, the historic Old Town. In the middle ages, the castle became the holder of the nation's crown jewels and State Records, the base for the Sheriff of Edinburgh, military garrison and storehouse. Today the castle is owned by Historic Scotland and is a thriving visitor attraction and also home to the famous Royal Military Tattoo, displayed each year throughout August. Edinburgh is an excellent base for your trip with easy access to many castles and other leisure activities.

Other castles that are worth a visit in the Lothian area include: Dalhousie Castle, 7 miles from Edinburgh and dating back to the 13th century, Dirleton Castle, famous for its wonderful gardens and built in the 13th century in East Lothian, Craigmillar Castle built by the Preston family in the 14th Century, Lauriston Castle which dates back to the 16th century, Linlithgow Palace dating back to the 12th century and located in West Lothian, Tantallon Castle on the banks of the River Forth dates back to the 14th century and was home for centuries to the Earls of Angus, one of the most powerful families in Scotland. The choice of Lothian castles to visit is huge and varied.



Castles in Scotland
Highland Castles  |  Lothian Castles

Scottish tourist information for autumn breaks

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