As much as Edinburgh is a great city with so much to see and do, sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city and see a bit of the countryside. The small town of Linlithgow is only about 15 minutes in the train from Haymarket train station and is a great place to visit for a day out.
A brief history
Its biggest appeal is Linlithgow Palace, the home of many of Scotland’s Kings over the century, and birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542) and now open to the public as a visitor attraction. A Royal building has stood on the site since the 12th century and it featured prominently in the Wars of Independence. A fire in 1424 gave an opportunity to rebuild and create a full scale palace when it became a principal residence of the Royal House of Stewart. Despite being born here, Mary, Queen of Scots spent very little time here, but apparently it was one of her last stops before she was captured and imprisoned at Loch Leven Castle.
The Palace received a much needed “facelift” in 1618 by King James VI (son of Mary, Queen of Scots), however over the years battles and fires have taken their toll on the building. The Palace has never really recovered from a great fire in 1746.
Linlithgow Palace today
Although now a ruin, the Palace has been preserved and maintained since the 19th century and is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. There’s still lots to see. When you approach you’ll notice the plaques on the wall which give the names of all the British monarchs since Mary, Queen of Scots.
Once inside there’s even more to see and explore. Highlights include a three-tiered fountain in the Palace courtyard (which dates from 1538) from which wine is said to have flowed during times of celebrations! The Great Hall is also worth exploring. Although the roof has now gone, you can still imagine what it was like. The huge room has a large stone fireplace and would have been extremely grand during the time of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Only one of the towers are Linlithgow Palace are still fully intact and it is a bit of a climb but the views from the top are definitely worth it! On a clear, sunny day you’ll get a panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding countryside (you can practically see for miles – which the pictures below hopefully show!).
Children are also catered for at the Palace. They’re asked to complete a Children’s Quiz which leads them around the Palace. When finished they’re given a sticker. Quite a nice way to get them to look around and to look at the Palace in detail.
Outside the town centre
Of course, there’s some lovely countryside around Linlithgow too if you fancy a stroll. The two pictures below were taken just out of the town on Preston Road which goes past the Union Canal and eventually leads to the path going to Beecraigs Country Park.
Linlithgow is great for a day out for all the family – when you’re finished at the Palace, the town itself has a number of cafes and restaurants where you can rest up and have a bite to eat. There are also a number of independent shops which are worth exploring when you’re here before jumping on a train back to Edinburgh.