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Scotland > Scottish Borders and the Lothians LINLITHGOW PALACE



Postcode: EH49 7AL

Lat/Long:  55.9787N 3.6009W

Notes:  Castle is in Linlithgow and is well sign posted.  Ample car parking exists in the immediate vicinity of the palace.


The extensive remains of a medieval palace set in scenic grounds in vicinity of a loch. The high walls offer spectacular views over the surrounding area.  

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Castle is owned and managed by Historic Scotland.


1. The word ‘Linlithgow’ means ‘the loch in the damp hollow’.

2.  The Roman occupation of Linlithgow dates from the time of Antoninus Pius and therefore it is possible this site was used as either a temporary or permanent base for building/sustaining the forces engaged on the Antonine Wall.

3. Master James of St George was Edward I's chief architect who devised and built the great castles that dominate North Wales. He was still working for Edward during the Wars of Independence but the bankrupt English king could no longer afford such luxury constructions as were seen in Wales (for example at Conwy or Beaumaris).  Instead the defensives at Linlithgow and Selkirk were wooden constructions; doubtless something of a disappointment for Master James.  

4.  Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at Linlithgow palace.

Situated on the road between Edinburgh and Stirling, the Linlithgow site has been occupied since Roman times.  Held as a key supply base by Edward I during the Wars of Independence and by Cromwell during his invasion of Scotland, it has for most of its medieval history been a retreat for Scottish monarchs.


Linlithgow has been the site of a settlement since Roman times largely due to its position on the main route from Edinburgh to Stirling. Roman era occupation has been dated to circa-the time of Antoninus Pius (mid-second century AD). More recently a castle, or more likely a defended manor house, existed on the site in the twelfth century.

In 1296, during the Wars of Independence, Edward I, used Linlithgow as a base of operations and, in 1298, he marched from here to engage and defeat William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk. He returned in 1301 and 1304 when Linlithgow was again used as a supply depot; in the latter case to support his assault on Stirling Castle with shot for the giant Trebuchets being moved from here.

In 1424 the town and castle were severely damaged by a fire which required an extensive rebuilding programme. This was initiated by James I with splendour and comfort outweighing defensive thoughts; the splendid design made Linlithgow a popular retreat for Scottish royalty.  

In 1603, after the union of the crowns of England and Scotland, Linlithgow fell into decline and disuse as the Stuart monarchs spent most of their time south of the border. However less than 50 years later Linlithgow was in military use again: in 1650 Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland and lodged here during his campaign concurrently making modifications for the installation of artillery.

In 1746, as the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie retreated north, a Government army headed by William, Duke of Cumberland lodged here. On their departure, either through accident or deliberate arson, the palace was gutted by fire.

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