It was strongly advised that we prioritize a stop at Craigmillar Castle during our visit to Edinburgh, the city's lesser-known castle (read: not Edinburgh Castle) that is located outside its old walls. The castle is considered one of the most perfectly preserved medieval castles in Scotland, though now in ruins, and has ties to the story of Mary Queen of Scots.

The castle was built by Sir Simon Preston of Craigmillar in the early 15 century and famously served as a safe haven for Mary Queen of Scots after the death of her secretary in 1556. It was sold to Sir John Gilmour in 1660 and abandoned a century later.

Despite only being in Edinburgh a few days, we spent an entire morning here exploring the castle ruins, climbing the old staircases, walking along the tower house wall, and peering out of windows to beautiful views of the city and Holyrood Park. We saw the great hall, the prison, the many fireplaces, and the pond shaped like the letter "P". These details allowed us to easily envision how this space was used by the Preston family centuries ago. It was well worth the visit.

Visitors can reach Craigmillar Castle via taxi or the city bus, direct from the Old Town, North Bridge (Line 7) to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. If arriving by bus, take the footpath from the Infirmary up to the castle. Watch for traffic.


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