Linlithgow Palace – Wow

Linlithgow

North side of the palace facing the loch

So looking through my options in my Historic Scotland book, I decide to try and get to the castles closest to me first and slowly work outwards.  So next on the stop – Linlithgow Palace – 24 kilometres from Edinburgh.  Wow.  Totally blew me away.  This is the birth place of Mary Queen of Scots.

The Palace's original entrance

The Palace’s original entrance

A fascinating place that takes a couple of hours to go through to make sure you have seen all the rooms on all the levels that are available.

It actually was initially started in 1302 as a ‘Peel’, an English fort to be used as a military base securing supply routes between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.

Looking down into the centre square from the highest point you can see two of the four sides and the beautiful fountain

Looking down into the centre square from the highest point you can see two of the four sides and the beautiful fountain

After the great fire of Linthigow town in 1424, King James I began rebuilding creating a palace for Scottish royalty, which was used extensively until 1603.

A number of changes were made to the Palace over the centuries and despite it not being heavily used after 1603, it still was maintained and renovated up until approximately 1633 but for the most part was left to its own devices.

An aerial view of the elaborate fountain

An aerial view of the elaborate fountain

The beautiful fountain in the centre of the courtyard was added by James V who was born there in 1512.  It is said that the fountain was made to flow with wine in honour of Bonnie Prince Charlie who was the last to visit there in 1745 on his march south.

Although parts of the building had already fallen into disrepair and the roof of the great hall was already gone, it was not until 1746 when the Duke of

Gorgeous fireplace in the great hall

Gorgeous fireplace in the great hall

Cumberland’s army destroyed most of the Palace’s buildings by burning.  What a shame.

As it is laid out now, there are 5 spiral staircases linking the various rooms and floors and it is a wonderful adventure to go up and down them all as they take you to different levels, apartments and latrines (one on every floor).

Inside the courtyard - three of the stair towers can be seen

Inside the courtyard – three of the stair towers can be seen

You do get a little disoriented a lost forgetting where you had last been.

round and round you go on these stairs

round and round you go on these stairs

My favourite part was wondering through the old royal apartments and trying to imagine and envision what they looked like in the heyday, and running up and down the spiral staircases  to be able to visit one another in their separate apartments.

What used to be the King and Queen's apartments - of course their was a floor between them

What used to be the King and Queen’s apartments – of course their was a floor between them

I also was pretty impressed with the number of latrines – basically just separate rooms on each level to the side with a large sitting hole where the waste would all just drop down.  At some castles I have been to, these openings just extend to outside the castle where one might assume the waste drops to a water source.  I could not quite figure out here where the waste went as the Palace was not surrounded by water but sat on a hill overlooking the loch.  Perhaps there was some system in place which took the waste to the loch at that time.

A view of the loch from atop the castle

A view of the loch from atop the castle

I highly recommend visiting this Palace.  It absolutely captured my imagination and then afterwards you can go for an enjoyable walk around the loch and through the small village.  I imagine in the summer time on a sunny day this is a glorious place to be.