8 beautiful castles near Edinburgh, Scotland

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Medieval castles abound in Scotland, especially in the countryside. Even near large cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow you can find very old castles and palaces, which makes them very easy to visit. In our four days in Scotland, we tried visiting all the castles close to Edinburgh. Here is my list of castles in the South East of Scotland.

1. Palace of Holyrood

This is the royal palace of the Queen of England in Scotland.  It has a beautiful location at the end of the famous Royal Mile.

Edinburgh, Scotland - The Royal Palace of Holyrood and the large Arthur's Seat hillside seen from Calton Hill.
The Royal Palace of Holyrood and the large Arthur’s Seat hillside seen from Calton Hill.
See my photos from Edinburgh, Scotland

2. Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is located at the other end of the Royal Mile opposite of the Palace of Holyrood on top of the hill overlooking the entire city of Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh, Scotland - The impressive Edinburgh Castle dates from the 12th century.
The impressive Edinburgh Castle dates from the 12th century.
See my photos from Edinburgh, Scotland

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh is the number one attracton in Edinburgh. If you are planning to visit this area you can read my walking tour of Edinburgh. You can also look for budget hotels in the Edinburgh area.

3. Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle sits on a volcanic mound overlooking the city of Stirling and the river Fife where the famous battle of the Stirling Bridge.

Stirling, Scotland - The beautiful Stirling Castle is the best place to start your walking tour of Stirling.
The beautiful Stirling Castle is the best place to start your walking tour of Stirling
See my photos from Stirling

Stirling is a great historical day trip from Edinburgh with great views of the beautiful countryside. Use my walking tour of Stirling for a beautiful slow tour of the city. If you plan staying in the area, you can search for budget hotels in Stirling.

4. St Andrews Castle

The ruins of St. Andrews Castle dominate the Scottish coast and the famous West Sands Beach.  A reminder of the tumultuous past of Scotland, St. Andrews Castle is part of a beautiful coastal walk along the rocky coast near St Andrews.

St Andrews, Scotland - The ruins of St Andrews Castle on the coast
The ruins of St Andrews Castle on the coast
See my photos from St Andrews

5. Falkland Palace

Falkland Palace is an imposing castle located in the small royal village of Falkland.  The seat of many Scottish kings, Falkland Palace is located in the middle of Fife.

The towers at the entrance of Falkland Palace
The towers at the entrance of Falkland Palace
See my photos from Falkland

Unfortunately for us, the palace was closed to visitors because it has been rented for some event. Falkland is a great day trip from Edinburgh.

6. Linlithgow Palace

The palace was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. Linlithgow Palace is located about 15 miles from Edinburgh and it is a very historical place being the place where Mary Queen of Scots and her father King James V of Scotland were born.

Linlithgow Castle is the place where Mary Queen of Scots and her father King James V of Scotland were born.
Linlithgow Palace is the place where Mary Queen of Scots and her father King James V of Scotland were born.
See my photos from Linlithgow

We came to Linlithgow on a sunny Sunday and we enjoyed joining the Sunday morning church service with the locals. The beautiful old church is located right next to the palace and it is woth visiting as well.

7. Dunfermline Palace

Dunfermline Palace is a ruined former Scottish royal palace and important tourist attraction in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. A favorite residence of many Scottish monarchs, Dumfermline Palace is the place where David II and James I of Scotland were both born.

St Dunfermline, Scotland - The old ruins of Dunfermline Castle
The old ruins of Dunfermline Palace with the towers of Dunfermline Abbey in the background.
See my photos from Dunfermline

We arrived in Dunfermline later in the afternoon and the Dungermline Abbey was closed to visitors. However, webdid enjoy a walk through the ruins and around the imposing Dunfermline Abbey.

8. Alloa Tower

Alloa Tower is the most famous landmark of the town.  It was build in the 15th century and despite extensive alterations both externally and internally, the Tower retains its original medieval wooden roof and battlements. It is one of the largest and earliest of Scottish tower houses.

Alloa, Scotland - Side view of the Allow Tower.
Side view of Allow Tower.
See my photos from Alloa

Alloa was a quick stop for us on our way back to Edinburgh. My son really liked the Alloa Tower maybe because it is a much smaller castle and he was quite small himself.

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