Linlithgow Palace Ruins in West Lothian, Scotland

The ruins of Linlithgow Palace are located in West Lothian, Scotland, approximately 15 miles west of Edinburgh.  During the 15th and 16th centuries the palace was one of the primary residence locations for Scottish monarchs.

Linlithgow Palace

Prior to construction of the palace, the hillside was utilized for a stately manor home that had been built in the 12th century but replaced by a British occupier military fortification beginning in 1302.  Six score and two years later a great fire destroyed much of the town of Linlithgow.  King James I decided to rebuild what would be a grand royal palace along with the Church of St. Michael upon that hill.

Linlithgow Palace
There were many additions and improvements added to the Palace by James III, James IV and James V, who was born in the palace in 1512.  Three decades later saw the birth of Mary, Queen of Scots, in what had been, at one time, quite a stately and magnificent residence.  Mary is said to have stayed at Linlithgow Palace at various times during her reign from 1542-1567.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth of England in 1603, the island came under the Union of Crowns, where James VI, King of Scots, ascended to the thrones of England and Ireland.

Linlithgow Palace fountainAfterwards, the palace was little used and fell into disrepair with the north wall having collapsed in 1607.  James VI ordered rebuilding, which began in 1618 and lasted for four years.  However, King Charles I was the last royal monarch to stay at the palace, taking lodging there for one day in 1633.

The grand building lay barren for decades until 1746 when most of the structures were burned by the Duke of Cumberland, who was leading the fight against the Jacobite uprising.

Linlithgow Palace great hallMore decades passed, until the early 19th century when conservation began and management came under the control of Historic Scotland.  The site is currently open year round.  Almost everything that remains is accessible to enter or see.  There are some fantastic views from the top of the towers.

Any time one is visiting Edinburgh, it is well worth the time to manage a trip to Linlithgow Palace, if only to learn more of its historic nature.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Palace of Holyroodhouse aka Holyrood Palace – Edinburgh, Scotland

Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, opposite Edinburgh Castle, sits the official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom, the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Palace of Holyrood HouseThe Palace was constructed by James IV, King of Scots, in the early 16th century, adjacent to Holyrood Abbey, which dates back to 1128. In 1650 fire destroyed the east range of the Palace and in 1671 complete reconstruction began, completed in 1679. The Baroque design of architect Sir William Bruce comprises four wings formed around a central courtyard, the quadrangle.

Palace of Holyrood HouseThe Palace has been the official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom since its founding, though there have been periods when the Palace was not utilized by the Crown, primarily when in disrepair. Queen Elizabeth II spends one week each year at Holyrood, during the summer, where she holds court and attends to her official duties.

Palace of Holyrood HouseThe Keeper of Holyrood House is viewed as an important role, so much so, that in 1646 King Charles I conferred the title 1st Duke of Hamilton, which is heritable. Descendents of the 1st Duke have retained this ever since.

Palace of Holyrood HouseThe Historic Apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots, are open to the public, although there is no photography allowed there, nor anywhere else inside. Despite the no photography restriction the Palace is certainly worth a visit, especially for history buffs. For paranormals, purportedly the naked ghost of Agnes Sampson (Bald Agnes), who was stripped and tortured in 1591 following her arrest and charge of witchcraft, roams the halls at Holyrood.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Edinburgh Castle – Scotland

At one end of The Royal Mile, perched atop volcanic Castle Rock offering a commanding view of the city below, sits Edinburgh Castle, with early location references dating back to the Iron Age, when warriors defended a hill fort, approximately the 9th Century BC. Documented reference to a name dates from the 2nd Century AD, when the Romans referred to the site as “Alauna” (rock place), and around 600 AD there is mention of Din Eidyn, or “the stronghold of Eidyn.”
Edinburgh Castle Coat of Arms
There is a long and rich history associated with Alauna aka Castle Rock and the bastion crowning the skyline, with references to a “Castle of Maidens,” circa 1093, a name used until the 16th Century. There had been a royal residence on the site for about 500 years, since David I reigned (circa 1124), until the 17th century when the castle became a military fortress with a large garrison.

The castle has been involved in many of Scotland’s struggles and has been successfully defended, as well as overcome and defeated. Few of the buildings present today pre-date the 16th century Lang Siege, when military bombardment destroyed most of the fortifications, with the oldest being a chapel, which dates from the early 12th Century. Historically, Edinburgh Castle is literally a treasure.
Edinburgh Castle
After a healthy upward-incline hike to the castle’s entrance and strolling through the grounds of the fortress, one can see that it is a large citadel, but the enormity of its size is only fully appreciated when viewed from the north, along Princes Street, taking in the whole of Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle is the most popular tourist attraction in Scotland, with over 1.3 million visitors logged during 2011. When in the United Kingdom, a trip to this very notable and celebrated stronghold is well worth the visit.

Over For Now.

Main Street One