Linlithgow Palace stands beside Linlithgow Loch, midway between Edinburgh and Stirling. It was a favourite residence of the Stuart kings and the birthplace of James V and Mary Queen of Scots.
A royal manor house probably existed on the site from the mid 12th century when King David I founded the burgh. At the start of the 14th century it was held by the English and King Edward I had a castle built on the site. It was returned to the Scots after the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and was once more used as a royal manor. A fire in 1424 destroyed the town of Linlithgow along with the parish church and the manor house. King James I ordered the construction of a new palace and much of what he built still remains. Later kings continued to repair, amend and add to the building. The palace of James I had ranges on three sides of a square courtyard. This courtyard was enclosed by King James IV who added a new range on the previously open west side. During the reign of James V the main entrance to the palace was moved from the east to the south side. When King James VI came to power Linlithgow Palace had been neglected for many years and in 1607 the north range collapsed. Eleven years later the king finally started repair work and the whole north range was rebuilt in the Renaissance style.
In 1603, after the Union of the Crowns of Scotland and England, the royal court moved to London. King James VI never returned to Linlithgow and although it was visited by later kings, including Charles I and II, it had seen its best days and slowly fell into decay. In 1746 the troops of the duke of Cumberland's army, led by General Hawley, retreated to the palace following their defeat by the Jacobites at the nearby battle of Falkirk. When they left the palace they failed to put out the fires they had made to dry themselves and the building caught alight and burnt down. The palace was never restored.
- In Linlithgow off the M9. Exit M9 at junction 3 northbound or junction 4 southbound
- Linlithgow Palace, Kirkgate, Linlithgow, West Lothian, EH49 7AL
- Historic Scotland. Open to the public. Admission fee
- For further information visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
View Larger Map