Linlithgow Palace is a magnificent historic site located in the town of Linlithgow, Scotland. The palace was built in the 15th century and served as a residence for the Scottish monarchs for over two centuries. It is a significant part of Scotland’s rich cultural heritage and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The palace was constructed on the site of an earlier castle and was designed to be a grand royal residence. It was the birthplace of several Scottish kings and queens, including Mary Queen of Scots. The palace is known for its stunning architecture, which combines Gothic and Renaissance styles. Visitors can admire the intricate stonework, ornate ceilings and grand halls that make up the palace. Today, the palace is a popular tourist destination and is open to the public for tours and events.

History of Linlithgow Palace

Early History

Linlithgow Palace is a magnificent royal palace located in Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland. The palace was originally built in the 15th century by James I of Scotland. The site of the palace was chosen because it was close to the royal hunting park of Linlithgow. The palace was built on the site of an earlier royal residence, which was destroyed by Edward I of England in 1302.

Stewart Kings and Queens

The palace was a favourite residence of the Stewart Kings and Queens, particularly James IV, who spent a great deal of money on the palace’s refurbishment. James V was born in the palace in 1512, and Mary Queen of Scots was born there in 1542. The palace was also the site of many important events in Scottish royal history, including the coronation of James II in 1437.

Decline and Closure

After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the palace fell into disuse and was eventually abandoned. During the Civil War, the palace was used as a garrison by the Royalists, but it was captured by the Covenanters in 1646. After the war, the palace was stripped of its roof and left to ruin. The palace was finally closed to the public in 1986 due to safety concerns.

Architecture and Features

The Great Hall

Linlithgow Palace’s Great Hall is a magnificent example of late medieval architecture. It is a vast space, measuring 129 feet long and 34 feet wide, with a soaring roof supported by stone pillars. The hall was used for feasts, dances, and other important events, and its walls are adorned with intricate carvings and paintings. Visitors can still see the remains of the fireplace, where a roaring fire would have kept guests warm during the winter months.

The Courtyard

The palace’s courtyard is a large, open space that was used for a variety of purposes. It was the site of jousting tournaments, markets, and other public events. The courtyard is surrounded by a series of buildings, including the palace’s kitchens, stables, and barracks. Visitors can also see the remains of the North Quarter, which was destroyed by fire in the 16th century.

The Fountain

The courtyard fountain is one of the palace’s most striking features. It was built in the 1530s and is made of stone and lead. The fountain is decorated with intricate carvings of animals, including lions, unicorns, and eagles. Visitors can still see water flowing from the fountain, which is supplied by a nearby spring.

The Royal Apartments

The palace’s Royal Apartments were the private chambers of the monarch and their family. They are located on the first floor of the palace and include a series of rooms, including a bedchamber, a dressing room, and a private chapel. The apartments are decorated with ornate carvings and paintings, and visitors can see the remains of the royal bed, which would have been draped with luxurious fabrics.

The Chapel Royal

The palace’s Chapel Royal is a beautiful example of medieval ecclesiastical architecture. It was used for religious services by the monarch and their family, and is decorated with intricate carvings and paintings. Visitors can still see the remains of the altar, which would have been adorned with gold and silver ornaments.

Visitor Information

Admission and Tickets

Linlithgow Palace is a popular visitor attraction and welcomes visitors of all ages. Admission tickets can be purchased on-site or online in advance. The admission price varies depending on the age and membership status of the visitor. Historic Scotland members enjoy free entry to the palace.

The admission prices for the palace are as follows:

  • Adult: £9.50
  • Concession: £7.50
  • Child (5-15 years): £5.70
  • Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): £24.70

Visitors can book tickets online through the official website or join now to become a Historic Scotland member and enjoy free entry to Linlithgow Palace and other historic sites.


Linlithgow Palace is accessible to visitors with disabilities. The first floor of the palace is accessible via a lift, and audio guides are available for visitors who are visually impaired. Carers accompanying visitors with disabilities are granted free admission.

Facilities and Services

Linlithgow Palace has a car park adjacent to the palace, with parking available for a fee. The palace also offers a range of facilities and services to enhance the visitor experience, including:

  • Audio guides: Available in multiple languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese.
  • Gift shop: Offering a range of souvenirs, gifts, and books related to the history of the palace and Scotland.
  • Cafe: Serving a selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks, and light meals.
  • Toilets: Located near the entrance and accessible to visitors with disabilities.

Linlithgow Palace in Popular Culture

Linlithgow Palace has been featured in various popular culture works, including movies, TV shows, and books.


Linlithgow Palace plays a significant role in the popular TV series Outlander, which is based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon. The palace doubles as Wentworth Prison, where one of the main characters, Jamie Fraser, is imprisoned and tortured. The show’s production team used the palace’s ruins to create an authentic and eerie atmosphere, which helped to bring the story to life.

Other Works

Apart from Outlander, Linlithgow Palace has also been featured in other movies and TV shows, including:

  • The Outcast (2015)
  • The Bruce (1996)
  • The Queen’s Sister (2005)
  • The Young Victoria (2009)

The palace’s impressive architecture and historical significance make it a popular filming location for period dramas and historical movies. Its stunning courtyards, towers, and gardens provide a beautiful backdrop for any production.

Location and Surroundings

Linlithgow Palace is situated in the town of Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland. The palace is located approximately 15 miles west of Edinburgh and 20 miles east of Stirling Castle. The palace is easily accessible by road via the M9 motorway, and there is also a train station in the town.

Linlithgow Loch

The palace is situated on the banks of Linlithgow Loch, a large freshwater loch that covers an area of approximately 109 acres. The loch is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and birdwatching, and there is a large park, Peel (Park), adjacent to the loch.

Town of Linlithgow

The town of Linlithgow is a historic royal burgh that dates back to the 12th century. The town is home to a number of historic buildings, including St. Michael’s Church and the Linlithgow Palace itself. The town is also known for its narrow streets, quaint shops, and traditional Scottish pubs.

The town is located in the heart of West Lothian, a region that is known for its rich history and natural beauty. The region is home to a number of historic sites and attractions, including Edinburgh Castle and Glasgow, both of which are easily accessible from Linlithgow.