Crichton Castle
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Crichton Castle

Crichton Castle
4.5
Historic SitesArchitectural BuildingsCastles
Temporarily closedClosed until further notice
About
The grounds are accessible. This site is currently closed as a precautionary measure while we undertake site inspections. We apologise for any inconvenience. A large and sophisticated castle with a spectacular facade of faceted stonework in an Italian style added, following a visit to Italy, by the Earl of Bothwell between 1581 and 1591. Mary Queen of Scots attended a wedding here. This has a facade of faceted stonework in an Italian Renaissance style. The courtyard is fully accessible. Access to areas leading from there depends on the visitor's mobility as each room and cellar has up to three steps leading to it.
Duration: < 1 hour
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4.5
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AlexMacdd
Edinburgh, UK159 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Couples
As far as locations go the person who decided to build Crichton Castle (John de Crichton it turns out) certainly picked a good spot. The castle sits slightly up high just above the river Tyne and commands a stricking vision as you walk the short path up towards it (about 5-10mins walk, the last bit is quite steep but most should manage this), The views from the castle itself are also very impressive, so hopefully you get a nice day when there to see across the area.

The castle is owned by Historic Scotland so there is a small fee (£5) for entrance. There are several areas to look at and quite a few info boards up as well. You can find the graffiti left at the site by previous occupants, there is a small dungeon/hold and also the Italian inspired façade to the courtyard. There is also a small link between Crichton Castle and Game of Thrones in that it was Lord Crichton who was part involved in the Black Dinner at Edinburgh Castle that inspired similar events in the fictional novels.

In all a very interesting site to visit and the nearby Crichton village and surrounding countryside makes it an enjoyable drive.
Written 26 June 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sasalan999
Dunfermline, UK197 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016
This is not the easiest castle to find but is well worth the trouble. There is the added bonus of a Collegiate church and old graveyard just beside the car park area for the castle. There is a fair walk from here to the castle, perhaps five minutes although the path ( single track road) is very good...it does have a little steep section as you near the castle. The imposing exterior gives nothing away on the approach, but the internal architectural detail is as impressive as I've seen on any ruined castle and there are numerous stairwells, rooms, cellar sect to explore your way around also. This castle is only open during the summer season, probably as much to do with its remoteness as anything else so visit it soon, you won't be disappointed! Run by Historic Scotland. Note of caution, as far as I'm aware there are no toilet facilities here! Tip, if you want a good view of the front of the castle, there is a large Boulder on the opposite bank of the access road, climb up to it for great frontal view of the castle.
Written 25 July 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rantin rover
Biggar, UK9,002 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Solo
These are substantial ruins of a medieval castle in the countryside about 15 miles south of Edinburgh. For visitors looking for a “less restored” style of castle and somewhere less frequented this would be a big contrast to Edinburgh Castle. There are no artefacts such as furnishings, etc on display however the Castle was home to some interesting characters including the 4th Earl of Bothwell (James Hepburn) who is suspected of having murdered Lord Darnley before marrying his widow, Mary Queen of Scots, three months later.

Where Crichton Castle is located feels like a surprisingly isolated spot reached via the B6367, then down a single track road with few passing places for a mile or two. I was relieved that nothing came in the opposite direction travelling to and from the site since there are few options available. Parking is just beyond the Crichton Collegiate Church which is within sight of the Castle and worth a browse around too (it was founded by the Crichton family in 1449). From here you follow a track on foot for about a ½ mile or so until you reach the Castle which gives you a chance to appreciate the valley setting. As with any parking place keep valuables out of sight when leaving your car unattended - it may be a quiet place but at the end of my visit a couple of guys were hanging around in their car without any apparent intention of visiting the Castle or Church - maybe just a favourite spot!

For less able visitors there may be a chance to use the track to drive to the Castle entrance by prior arrangement but the terrain within the ruins would limit access to all but the courtyard.

The building is maintained by Historic Scotland and entry is free to Members, £4.50 for adults, £2.70 for a child and £3.60 concession. There were no staff around when I arrived and it was possible just to walk into the place as the doors were open. Eventually someone did appear and I obtained the guidebook for £2 with Members discount however by this time I’d used the interpretation boards to get a basic background to what I was looking around. There was no tour guide on duty on the day.

The Tower House to the right of the entrance is the oldest surviving section of the Castle from the late 12th century and access beyond the ground level here is restricted to a section of stone stairs which lead to the entry to the pit prison - a stinking hole for the less fortunate in its day and not too pleasant on the day I visited either. It’s not possible, perhaps just as well, to gain access and a torch would be required to see anything through the grill in place. It appears that at one time sections of the upper levels of the Tower may have been open to the public (there are railings in place) however this is not the case now.

Alongside the Tower on the north facing side are remnants of a small kitchen but more impressive is the 5th Earl of Bothwell’s lodgings added in the 14th century which are decorated with many features. Most notable of these is on the face of the courtyard interior which is covered with diamond shaped studs carved into the sandstone replicating the exterior of the Palazzo Dei Diamanti in Ferrara, Italy. The Earl travelled in Italy and probably saw the latter and wished to have his home styled similarly. This feature is apparently unique in Scotland. The section also has an arcade with columns and it is still possible to see the initials of Francis Stewart (the 5th Earl) and his wife, Margaret Douglas, carved above some of the pillars. The stairs leading to the upper levels are straight rather than the usual spiralling type seen elsewhere in the Castle and other castles in Scotland at that time and therefore another unusual feature. Gazing above, the remnants of the decorative ceiling and other stone carved decorative features can also be seen and a few of those sections which have previously fallen are displayed under the arches at ground level near the well. From the upper level windows you can look back along the path towards the Crichton Church. The views in general from the Castle and the surrounds are picturesque.

The west side of the Castle contains the kitchens added around 1440 and the south west tower can be climbed via a very steep spiral stairway to provide views over the courtyard and the southern Great Hall with it’s remaining fireplace suspended half way up the wall (the floor having collapsed). The stairs only go so far before they are blocked-off presumably for safety reasons - you can see when walking up that light appears between some of the steps overhead - obviously well worn. Only the birds occupy the higher levels judging by the mess.

On the outside of the Castle there is what is thought to have been a stable block which resembles a chapel. If you venture onto the hillside above this you get a view into the upper section of the building and of course into the Castle itself. The quarry which provided the sandstone to build the Castle is sited here too. I ventured down a rough path into the valley however I’m not sure where this eventually leads - it didn’t provide an alternative angle on the Castle although perhaps if I’d followed it far enough it may have led out onto the hillside opposite the west walls.

In summary there are plenty of the ruins left to provide some exploring including up to higher levels and the history relates to many of the high ranking characters in Scotland in medieval times.

There are no toilets or refreshment facilities at the site - Pathhead is approximately 2 miles away where you would presumably get both.
Written 17 June 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Longbeans612
Edinburgh, UK134 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020 • Family
Great wee place to bring a picnic or your chips and have a small walk around. Not a lot to see and a bit of a walk to get up to the castle but really enjoy it every time I go.
Written 14 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kim A
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018
We took the borders railway to Gorebridge and walked to Crichton castle, it was a little over 3 miles of rolling hills and farmland. The castle has an interesting history and is well maintained. The nearby church is also very old and worth seeing.
Written 2 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Liz47936
Edinburgh, UK104 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Family
This is a beautiful place and the ruins are very interesting to explore. Good information boards and the diamond wall really is extraordinary. Well worth visiting.
Written 25 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tony H
Progreso, Mexico402 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Couples
Another, under the care of the Historic Scotland and well off the beaten track. Even our GPS did not get us there. We were told “you have reached your destination”, when we could look off to the right of the car, through a fence, down a rolling field and up a hill to see the castle standing off in the distance.

When we did arrive, it was to another Historic Scotland site. Typical of these sights it was a well-preserved ruin, rich in history and completely free of other people. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to explore the castle and barn but, the real experience for us was the church. The church is closed to the public but, the castle keeper was kind enough to call the person who had the keys and this person opened the church for us to explore. This turned out to be one of our best vacation days ever.

The castle is great to see but, would not make out top 10 list. The private tour of the church however bumped this experience way up on our list of favorites from our vacation.

I have separately reviewed the church – as Crichton Collegiate Church.
Written 28 June 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Matthew H
Dalkeith, UK4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018
Visited with my wife and kids and we all had a great time. Firstly, the location is quite stunning. It feels really isolated from the modern world and, with the exception of a distant farmhouse, the surrounding countryside is completely unspoiled giving you real sense of connection with the past. The castle and its history is well presented and we all enjoyed exploring all the nooks and crannies. Great afternoon out!
Written 28 April 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

padprod
Manchester, UK276 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Solo
Crichton castle is accessed via a single tracked tarmac road from the village. There is parking by the church and at the path entrance. The castle itself is a 10 minute walk from the car park. I think because of this it doesn't get as busy as some of the other castles.
Attendant was friendly enough, and was left to wander the ruins. It comprises mainly of the tower house, great hall block and kitchens. Of particular note are the stunning diamond facades. The adjacent stable building is also worth a look. Stunning views around the countryside, this is well worth a visit if the weather is good. Allow around an hour or so for the visit.
Written 28 August 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kimiha01
San Francisco, CA43 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Friends
We were married in August 2014 at Crichton Church, a short walk down a path from the Castle. After the ceremony, everyone had refreshments and walked down to the castle before heading to our reception. It's a beautiful ruin, full of artistic detail and a perfect backdrop for an intimate event. Although it's open to the public, there wasn't anyone around and we had the place to ourselves. Really beautiful and bucolic countryside. There is a fee to go inside but you can wander around and there is much to see for free!
Written 9 September 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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