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Blackness Castle, Linlithgow

Must see · Castle · Historic Site
Blackness Castle is a 15th-century fortress, near the village of Blackness, Scotland, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth.

It was built, probably on the site of an earlier fort, by Sir George Crichton in the 1440s. At this time, Blackness was the main port serving the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, one of the main residences of the Scottish monarch. The castle, together with the Crichton lands, passed to James II of Scotland in 1453, and the castle has been crown property ever since. It served as a state prison, holding such prisoners as Cardinal Beaton and the 6th Earl of Angus.
Strengthened by Sir James Hamilton of Finnart in the mid-16th century, the castle became one of the most advanced artillery fortifications of its time in Scotland. A century later, these defences were not enough to prevent Blackness falling to Oliver Cromwell's army in 1650. Some years after the siege, the castle was repaired, and again served as a prison and a minor garrison. In 1693, the spur protecting the gate was heightened, and the Stern Tower shortened as a base for three heavy guns. Barracks and officers' quarters were added in the 1870s, when the castle was used as an ammunition depot, until 1912. The castle was briefly reused by the army during World War I. It is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

Because of its site, jutting into the Forth, and its long, narrow shape, the castle has been characterised as "the ship that never sailed". The north and south towers are often named "stem" and "stern", with the central tower called the "main mast".
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808 reviews
  • Another great castle in Scotland, Blackness shot to fame with the Outlander series. It is still little known, and surprisingly well preserved. With its prow facing the sea, it does resemble a ship...  more »
  • Visited here with a baby, used a sling as it's not pushchair friendly. It's very pretty with amazing views of the Forth river and the bridges. Very interesting history, I particularly liked the past.....  more »
  • As a Historic Scotland member we have visited the castle in the past. The drive up to the castle was quite picturesque but we didn’t have the time to take photos last time so decided when in the area....  more »
  • Excellent castle sits outside Edinburgh near Linlithgow. Has views of river but is very historical and information boards throughout. To the front you can have picnic with a few picnic tables around. On clear days you can spot the three Bridges in the distance. Note not the most disabled friendly castle as cobblestone and uneven paths.
  • Why have we never came before? What a lovely castle. Price very reasonable and alot to see for the size of it. Very well maintained with stunning views esp from the Tower roof. Lovely picnic spot too.
  • Lovely preserved castle. Very dog friendly. Small car park but the staff were able to keep fitting visitors in. Lovely, friendly staff gave us a refund as I didn't realise that English Heritage members get in for free!
  • Visited on a lovely sunny day, which was perfect as it meant we could walk round the whole castle! The castle is in good shape, and we loved it. Highly recommended.
  • Recommend joining as this is the cheapest way to get to see more of our beautiful history. Pay monthly is a great option. Fantastic for the kids bring picnic too.

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