Located some 15 miles (24 km) west of Edinburgh in the county of West Lothian, Scotland, The ruins of Linlithgow Palace overlook the deep blue waters of Linlithgow Loch. The palace has a long and fascinating history and was once the main home of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Construction probably started on the site during the 12th century with the creation of a royal manor which was replaced by a fortification known as ‘The Peel’ during 14th century. This was an English structure created by the men of the Edward I.
A terribly fire swept through Linlithgow in 1424 and may have damaged the palace too. Shortly after this event King James I started the rebuilding of the Palace as a grand residence for Scottish royalty as well as restoring of the Church of St Michael just south of the palace. Over the next 100 years the palace was extended to create the formal courtyard structure that can still be seen today. Over time, the palace was used less and less by the Scottish monarchy and the maintenance of the structure was allowed to lapse. On the 6th September 1607 the old North range collapsed but reconstruction was carried out on the instructions of King James who had it rebuilt between 1618 and 1622. This new part of the building was later used in 1648as the residence of the Earl of Linlithgow.
On hundred years would pass before disaster would strike. In 1746, during the Jacobite Rising, the building was gutted by fire after accidentally being set ablaze by Hanoverian survivors of the Battle of Falkirk Muir.
The palace has been actively conserved since the early 19th century and is today managed and maintained by Historic Scotland.
Linlithgow Palace was for long period deeply associated with Scottish royalty. James V was born in the palace during April 1512 and Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at the Palace in December 1542.
The palace is said to be haunted by the spectre of Mary of Guise, mother to Mary, Queen of Scots. and by Mary, Queen of scots herself. However, given that Mary, Queen of Scots is said to haunt over 50 buildings in Scotland in would seem that her ghost is kept on a tight schedule.
Legend also tells of The Blue Lady – so named after the colour of her silk dress – who is seen to walk from the palace to the nearby parish church of St Michael. It is said that as she reaches the church she mysteriously vanishes. Most of these sightings have occurred during April and September at around nine o’clock in the morning.
St Margaret’s Bower can be found above the north-west turnpike stair and is thought to be haunted by a White Lady. Some people believe she is the ghost of Margaret Tudor, the consort of James IV, while others claim that she is the wraith of Mary of Guise, the second wife of James V.
ARTS AND CULTURE
A Strathspey for bagpipes was composed in honour of Linlithgow Palace and it was recently used as a film location for the hit TV series Outlander where it portrayed as Wentworth Prison.
A mile long network of well-made stone tunnels was recently discovered beneath Park Farm just a few miles from the palace. There is some unresolved speculation that they may have been part of an elaborate escape route from the castle leading a religious community of Monks who farmed the land.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Carfraemill, Oxton, Lauder
Borders, Scotland, TD2 6RA
+44 (0)1578 750 697
- Address: Linlithgow Palace, Kirkgate, Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland, EH49 7AL
- GPS: 55.97859775027718,-3.6008280515670776
- Phone: +44 (0) 1506 842 896
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: EH49 7AL
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: Good
- Visibility from Road: Fair
- Website: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/linlithgow-palace/