The castle of Craigmillar is one of the most perfectly preserved castles in Scotland.
This site currently has access restrictions in place as a precautionary measure while we undertake high level masonry inspections. Find out more about our conservation work
Admire city views from the high ramparts of Edinburgh’s ‘other castle’, play hide-and-seek in its labyrinth of chambers or picnic in its courtyards.
Even today, the castle retains the character of a medieval stronghold.
Building began in the early 15th century, and over the next 250 years the castle became a comfortable residence surrounded by fine gardens and pastureland. The castles history is not only closely involved with the city of Edinburgh, but plays an important part in the story of Mary Queen of Scots who fled to Craigmillar Castle following the murder of Rizzio. It was in the castle where the plot was hatched to murder Marys husband, Lord Darnley.
Built round an L-plan tower house of the early 15th Century, Craigmillar was much expanded in the 15th and 16th Centuries. It is a handsome ruin, including a range of private rooms linked to the hall of the old tower.
At the castle entrance there are a pair of Yew (Taxus baccata) trees of considerable age and with important historical connection to Craigmillar Castle. The trees were planted to create an entrance feature to the castle. They have interesting twisting. Historically they are believed to have provided wood for bows and arrows.
Edinburgh Council is working to promote these "Heritage Trees" to the people of Edinburgh and visitors.
While some areas may be closed, we will have additional interpretation available on-site so you don't miss out. This may include QR codes so make sure your mobile can read these when visiting.
Some areas/facilities will remain closed for now, we have a phased approach to re-opening while we work to make them safe.
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Very occasionally the property has to close at short notice due to adverse weather conditions or other reasons out with our control. Please check the Historic Scotland closures page for any unexpected site closures https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/check-for-closures/. You can also follow closure tweets from @welovehistory using #hsclosure. Alternatively please call the site before setting off to check they are open.