Dirleton Castle © Kenny Lam
Edinburgh Castle, one of Scotland's most iconic visitor attractions, sits on its own volcanic rock at the top of the Royal Mile.
There’s much to see and admire at Edinburgh Castle, a mighty fortification and favoured residence of Scotland’s kings and queens. Make sure you look out for the Royal Palace, created in 1617 in honour of James VI, the Crown Room where the Scottish Crown Jewels are kept, and the Stone of Destiny where previous Scottish Monarchs were crowned.
Listen out at 1pm as the One O'clock Gun is fired almost daily and has been since 1861.
Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh, is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles and was a retreat from a difficult life for Mary Queen of Scots.
Built around 1400, the medieval castle lies 3 miles south east of Edinburgh city centre. Craigmillar Castle has a tower house, courtyard and gardens and offers stunning views out across the city and countryside.
In 1566, Mary Queen of Scots sought the peace and quiet of Craigmillar after the murder of her private secretary.
Lauriston Castle, north west of the city centre, was built around 1590 for Sir Archibald Napier and stands in 30 acres of peaceful grounds overlooking the Firth of Forth.
The last owners Mr and Mrs Reid decorated and furnished the house between 1902 and 1926 in an Edwardian style and simplified the beautiful Victorian gardens.
See inside the castle or enjoy a woodland walk with a visit to the award-winning Japanese garden.
The magnificent Tantallon Castle was a seat of the Douglas Earls of Angus, one of the most powerful baronial families in Scotland.
Perched on the cliffs high above the sea in East Lothian, it would have been a stern test to conquer. In fact, it endured frequent sieges - but now has a more peaceful existence, having recently been used as a location for the children’s TV series, Shoebox Zoo.
Crichton Castle is a large and sophisticated castle built in a commanding position in a tranquil valley of the River Tyne south of the city of Edinburgh. Built between the 14th and 16th centuries, the courtyard includes a spectacular façade of faceted stonework in Italian style. Mary Queen of Scots spent several nights at Crichton Castle for the marriage of her half brother.
Built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons, Blackness Castle was never destined to be a peaceful lordly residence. Thrusting out into the Firth of Forth like a ship setting sail, the castle is in complete contrast to its near neighbour Linlithgow Palace and was more likely to hold prisoners than a royal banquet.
See the tower prison for those who upset the reigning sovereign and enjoy the sweeping views down the Firth of Forth from one of the towers. You’ll soon understand why this port castle was an excellent place to prepare for invasion, hold foreign prisoners as soon as they arrived and store ammunition as it entered the country.
East of Edinburgh in East Lothian lies the pretty and charming Dirleton Castle, which has an architectural history spanning around 700 years. Make sure you visit the gardens while here which were first cultivated in the 16th century and are now featured in the Guinness Book of Records due to the world’s longest herbaceous border.
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Edinburgh and the Lothians sits on the eastern side of Scotland's central belt, in the heart of the country.