Linlithgow Palace was home to numerous royal figures, including Mary Queen of Scots, so I was surprised that it wasn't in the Fodor's guidebook.
When we drove in, I somehow took a wrong turn onto a walking path instead of the parking lot. The old ladies walking nearby laughed at us, but we figured it out. No harm, no foul.
At only £5.50 per person, this castle was totally worth the price. It's a bit more ruined than many of the top tourist castles, which actually makes it more fun, like a maze. There's no reason to buy a guidebook of the castle, just explore on your own. Nesting pigeons fly out at you from random unexpected places. My wife learned that the hard way. The view from the top of the main tower is amazing. I was rather exhausted by the end of it, but really glad we went.
Linlithgow Palace is a well visited place and always has been.
It was build and restored and extended by famous kings and queens over the centuries, such like James IV, Mary Stuart, James I of England and Scotland.
When walking up the driveway towards the castle gate you will see famous royal name plates on the right side wall starting with Mary Stuart and ending with
Elizabeth II. Only a few spaces are left and lets see who else will be on the wall :-)
Passing the wonderful ornated gate with the emblems of various European garters on top of the entrance you will see the main entrance to the castle in front of you and the west entrance to St Michael's Kirk on your right. I have visited this a few times and sadly always missed the opening hours for the KIRK visit. I can imagine this Kirk to be wonderful and powerful inside. It is old and mystic.
I decided to walk around the castle first and enjoyed a brisk walk in the sunshine along the lake, taking pictures of the ruins and making friends with swans. They did not appear to be frightened by me at all, what I can't really say for myself when they came closer and closer!
The palace is a massive several storey ruin and well maintained. We all should be thankful to Historic Scotland to do a good job. Its structure and splendor amazes me. The shape is rectangular with towers on the east and the west side. The original gate was on the east and you still can see the remains. In the middle of the courtyard stands the symbolic fountain build by King James IV to have represented his power, given by the almighty, to the world and especially towards Henry VIII of England. In the 1500's James IV came up with the plan to build a newer and more powerful palace on top of a previous one, which was destroyed by fire that swept through the streets of Linlithgow. Somehow this tale reminds me of Emperor Nero and Rome!
The construction took a few years and soon the South, East and West wings were finished that contained the royal chambers, antechambers, kitchens and a chapel. In the 1620's the newer North side was completed after part of the of the previous building collapsed.
Visitors have access to the site all year around and the entry fee is £5.50 (if not a Historic Scotland member).
There are lots of events all year around. Last year I visited the Jousting event held in the gardens and they were amazing.
If you have time go and check it out. It will be an adventurous day for the whole family.
One of my favourite Castles in Scotland. Its a bit in ruins but still explorable which makes it feel a bit more fun. We are Historic Scotland members so I've been to this castle a few times now. Every time I'm still enchanted by it. The grounds are just grass but beautiful kept with paths that go around the loch thats there, and the fountain in the centre court has amazing sculptures! Each level and space has good signage with historical information.
They have different events there at times. This past summer we go to go when they were having a jousting competition! It was AMAZING! and their were actors dress up in medieval costumes and in character! I felt like I could have been in Robin Hood! So magical!
If you haven't been here you must! and If your visiting Scotland this is also a must !
Fantastic place. I have a fairly active imagination and really enjoyed the fact that the majority of the palace is open to exploration. I could imagine the additional floors and appreciate how large this palace would have been with all it's walls, floors, and ceilings intact.
Really enjoyed that it wasn't packed when I went but there was a steady amount of people streaming through even though it was typical breezy, rainy, and cold winter weather.
I visited Linlithgow Palace twice in one weekend so it probably should get 5*'s. A turbulent and bloody history fuelled by the story of Mary Queen of Scots, it is a ruin now but a particularly magnificent one.
Now owned by Historic Scotland, it played host to jousting over two weekends. The grounds are fabulous and after hitting it during our current heat wave, it was a fab place to spend a couple of afternoons. The grounds are well maintained, slopping grassy areas with a huge (and very clean looking) lake. Lots of swans and ducks in the lakes so fun if you have little ones. There are also benches dotted around at the far end under the trees if you want to rest weary legs and lots of bins of you decide to take a picnic.
The palace itself is a ruin but actually in good condition if this makes sense. You can still climb the stairs to various floors and little signs throughout in English, French and German tell you what each space is (grand hall, kitchen, royal bedroom). There are also fab little (secret) passages that run along side some of the rooms so you can imagine previous inhabitants moving between rooms whilst plotting intrigue.
The jousting was well organised - good fun with 'dashing' knights jousting as well as challenging each other to sword fights, with medieval actors in full costume with little tents dotted around showing lots of medieval crafts and trades. This event was organised by Historic Scotland and was £12 for adult entry but free if you were a member of Historic Scotland. There is normally an admission charge to enter the palace but this was included in the jousting ticket price so I'm not sure how much it is normally.
So, I would probably go back and explore more. The palace was really busy due to the jousting event but if this was a normal weekend, then it would be quieter and you'd have more time to explore all those hidden areas as there are a fair few.
Linlithgow Palace is a beautiful ruins set in a small town in central Scotland. Currently it has open hours and admission fees, but I visit a couple years back and it wasn't open for viewing, but the grounds were free to wander and the window-holes free to poke your nose into.
Beautifully situated along a pretty lake (full of swans and such), this palace is full of history and sadness. I'd like to take another visit!
Located in a small but surprsingly fascinating town, Linlithgow Palace is a brooding, creepy and imposing ruined palace that sticks up from the middle of the town. It's fairly important to Scotch history, as various important people who had their heads cut off spent much of their time here pre-decapitation.
It is a ruin, so don't expect too much to do, but it's a great focal point in a town that hosts many intersting nooks and crannies.
When tourists, particularly the North American kind, visit Scotland they generally want to see a little bit of history, and down a few whiskys while they're at it.
Edinburgh, of course, is the natural choice. But then again, said tourists will probably meet half of their countrymen and women navigating the castle and the city centre there.
This is why, whenever I am charged with showing someone around, I ensure our journey from Glasgow to Edinburgh is punctuated with a stop here. Now run by Historic Scotland, the palace cuts a truly stunning figure by Linlithgow Loch and provides an inexpensive and quiet way to savour some of the most historical spots in the country. You'll realise within seconds of disembarking at Linlithgow Station that Mary Queen of Scots was born and brought up here.
The town itself has a beautiful High Street with plenty of bars and restaurants, meaning Lilithgow is an ideal sight-seeing and refuelling stop at lunch-time.
Most visited castle/palace in Central Scotland with fly fishing on Linlithgow Loch and during peak tourism season people in period fancy dress wandering its corridors and central courtyard. Partially ruined with missing upper levels and nearby St Michael's Church still holding services with stained glass windows. Hosts occasional pretend heraldic jousts and dog shows in grounds. Take bread to feed ducks, swans and geese.
Worth the walk down to waterside with children's play park and nearby pubs such as Three Sisters and Italian Bar Leo to east and Golden Chippie and ice cream shops to west.
Free entry with Historic Scotland pass.
A lovely ruin sitting atop a local high point overlooking Linlithgow Loch.
Plenty of history and beautiful presentation. Lovely to walk around in the evenings before a meal in town.
The Palace itself is now a ruin, but it still gives you an impression of what it was like to live there. A good range of rooms, over a number of floors, are accessible and there are interpretation signs with (hand-drawn) illustrations to give an idea of the room in use. My little one loved exploring all the corridors and rooms and climbing the circular staircases to the tops of the towers, several of which are in tact.
There's a small shop and a warm, dry room with seating and a toilet next to it. Very useful on colder days. Adjacent are loch-side walks, boating in the summer and a good children's play park.
Linlithgow Palace is one of my favourite historical sites in central Scotland. It's a late medieval/renaissance romantic ruin, at the heart of scenic Linlithgow.
After a fire in 1424 burnt down the old fort, James I decided to rebuild as part of his great castle construction projects that he was using to reinforce his reign. The castle which while defensive, was basically more of a pleasure palace for the monarch and their court, was built up over the succeeding Stuart reigns. One of the great things about the Palace is that by looking from the East Range around in a clockwise direction you can see the succession of of styles as the Palace grew. The palace is famous for a few reasons. This is where Margaret Tudor awaited the news of her husband's fate at the battle of Flodden, and of course where Mary Queen of Scots was born in 1542. A less well known fact is that this is where Scotland's "three estaits" (basically its parliament) met to elect the first Stuart king Robert I, beginning a dynasty that would last through the Union of the Crowns and the English Civil War and beyond.
One of the highlights of the Palace is a recently restored fountain, built by Mary's father James V, in a very beautiful renaissance style. It's highly symbolic and the many figures represent the social structure of the day and the alliance between Scotland and France in the face of a common enemy down south.
Robert Burns described Linlithgow Palace as "fine but melancholy". I'm not so sure about the latter but there is something poetic about it. It is a ruin, but you can still get a great sense for the time, especially in the Great Hall which at its time was supposed to be one of the finest in Europe.
A great day out if you are at all interested in history, architecture, or Scotland's heritage in general. The kids seems to love it and it makes a good family day out, especially as its not quite so crowded as the likes of Edinburgh Castle. The nearby lawn and Linlithgow Loch make a great picnic spot on a sunny day, or otherwise there are many family friendly pubs and restaurants in the town centre.
I'd been meaning to visit Linlithgow for years, forgetting every time until I passed it again on the train to Edinburgh. I finally got off and am glad I did.
The ruins at Linlithgow are the shell of a marvellous Renaissance palace. Unlike the more complete castle at Stirling (stirlingcastle.gov.uk/ho… ), where the style and glamour of the period was imposed on a heavy Medieval castle, the Linlithgow Palace really does give you a sense of the rebirth of art and architecture in the 15th century. (And if you can take the train between Edinburgh and Glasgow and visit both on the same day, the impact of this contrast is striking.) The absence of roof aside, the wide windows and narrow walls create light airy spaces and it is easy to picture the ghosts of the Stewart court strolling gracefully in the long galleries or by the carved fountain.
At its highest, the palace is six-storeys and has lovely views out over the loch and town: It is surprisingly taller than it appears to be from the gatehouse, I think due to being built on uneven ground. You can sit sheltered at the top of one of the towers and contemplate, or just wait until your heart stops thumbing after climbing the nerve-racking final flights of stairs to get there!
In a covered gallery on the lower floor there is a small display of objects found during excavations and there's good information about each of the rooms on wall plaques, but mostly I loved this place for its quite dreamy under-statedness, which allowed you to use your imagination as you wandered the rooms. It probably helped that it was still out-of-season when I went, so there were just a few other visitors and none of the costumed guides other reviewers mentioned. It also probably helped that I visited on a clear, dry day but unfortunately it can be difficult to plan for that in Scotland.
If you are someone who needs lots of interpretation when visiting a historic site, maps and books are available from the wee shop and I've heard the young Summer guides are great. But if you are of a romantic bent, I'd definitely recommend visiting on a quiet Spring afternoon. Go with a partner or otherwise a group of friends because I'll bet all those nooks and galleys would lend themselves to a great game of hide & seek ;-)
This is a lovely site to visit in Scotland. I thought that the palace itself was amazing and I liked that we could climb to the top of the tower and have a view of the inside. I can only imagine what it would be if there hadn't been a fire! This is a must see if you are in the area. Check out the history before you go so you know who was married...lived...died and well killed here over the years (and that's a lot of years).
Attractive large character dwelling.
Complete with very attractive views and open outlook/roof.
Requires some renovation
This is a fantastic castle that is not too far from edinburgh - there isnt much parking room - we went when there was a wedding on at the church last time and we got the last space so get there early. There is so much to look around here and it is easy to find yourself getting lost so a guide book is a good idea - Go into the courtyard and decide on a corner to start from and you will end up at a completley opposite side
I always make sure I get to the north west tower - there is a little information plaque on the side of this one so you know your on the right one
Go up to the top where there is queen margarets bower where she waited in vain for james to come home from battle
Not recommended if your not good with hights you step out on top of the tower and there is nothing there but a little waist high rail with a twist around the corner and a fre steps up then you have to walk around the edge to get to the door
Im not afraid of heights but I get a little nervous doing this bit and i have yet to persudae anyone else to come up with me
The view is worth it though as it is really lovely up there and very peaceful though a little sad
The gallery is fun to walk along and look down into the great hall and as always kitchens with enormous fireplaces
It is free entry for historic scotland and free for english heritage (unless first year then half price)
give yourslef a few hours to look around properly and enjoy it
Linlithgow palace sits atop a hill next to Linlithgow Loch. Well known for being the birthplace of Mary Queen Of Scots. It is a lovely old palace but is a bit run down compared to some castles in Scotland.
You are free to roam about almost all of it and explore as you wish. There are information plaques in a lot of places to help you understand what rooms were used for and provide historical information.
You can climb up to the top and are treated to great views once you get there. On my last visit I did not do this because my 2 and a half year old daughter was with me and I remember it being quite open.
I prefer to park at the loch when I go and walk round the waters edge to get to the palace. The carpark here is really small however and it can be hard to get a space. There is a bigger car park at the railway station which is a short walk from the palace and the last time I used that there was no charge.
The loch is home to swans, ducks and geese. It is also well stocked with fish and there are rowing boats for hire.
Lovely setting and worth a visit.
Excellent day out in a palace ruin, lots of history, lots of spiral staircases, and lots of hiding places for the kids. Free guided tours by local children in historical costumes during the summer holidays (don't forget to give them a tip.) There is also a very pleasant walk round the loch starting from the palace which takes about an hour.
Wednesday evenings in the summer there is scottish dancing in the courtyard.
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo will be coming to the palace on August 13th 2009. It will be a one-hour version of the full tattoo, and should be a great setting, with the ruined palace & loch in the background. Parking is likely to be difficult, so probably worth arriving early, or coming by train.
Linlithgow Palace is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. What was once one of Scotland's grandest royal residences was destroyed by fire in 1424. What remains today are empty remains requiring visitors to imagine what it was like previously. With only information leaflets to go on, no audio or guided tours provided, today's modern visitor could perhaps find it hardpushed to understand the significance of the place. Those interested in seeing Mary Stuart Queen of Scots bloodline (traced all the way to today's Queen Elizabeth II) can see it on the wall leading up to the palace.
Linlithgow Palace is the birth place of Mary Queen of Scots. located in the centre of town surrounded by the peel a large lawned area great for picnics you also have the loch so if you like to fish or just feed the ducks it is great for young and old. the palace itself has a lot of interesting facts and history attached it is also very picturesque so remember that camera.
linlithgow palace is one of the few places left untouched by the cash hungry tourist trap merchants, its a ruin. there is a very small gift shop. it doesn't cost a small fortune to get in. there are many signs around the palace describing the uses of the rooms, and various features, (try climbing to the very top of the tower to read the inscriptions on the walls) marvel at the amazing views from the parapits. run around like a looney in the surrounding park. and if you've any energy left hire a rowing boat and go out around the loch. now thats what i call a day out! and you'll sleep like a log...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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