Borthwick Castle is one of the largest and best-preserved surviving medieval Scottish fortifications. It is located twelve miles south-east of Edinburgh, to the east of the village of Borthwick, on a site protected on three sides by a steep fall in the ground.
It has been lovingly and superbly refurbished, retaining every bit of its medieval grandeur and atmosphere, but now with the modern comforts of a sumptuous home from home.
There are twelve uniquely designed bedchambers with lavish bathrooms, magnificent yet intimate dining and lounge areas, roaring fires, breathtaking views and spiral staircases inviting exploration and adventure.
Edinburgh is Scotland's compact, hilly capital. It has a medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town with gardens and neoclassical buildings. Looming over the city is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish rulers. Arthur’s Seat is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park with sweeping views, and Calton Hill is topped with monuments and memorials.
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HIRE THE WHOLE CASTLE
For corporate gatherings and family celebrations.
One of Scotland’s finest and most lavish wedding venues,
LICENSED FOR ALL CEREMONIES
Access is via original Medieval spiral stone staircases.
“THE FINEST KEEP IN SCOTLAND”
Borthwick Castle is one of the finest and best preserved 15th century keeps in Scotland.
An imposing fortress composed of a massive double tower surrounded by an embattled wall, it is much admired for the beauty of its proportions as well as the solidity and accuracy of its masonry.
It is the culmination of a rich 600 year history which starts with its creator, Sir William de Borthwick, and continues through some of the most dramatic episodes in Scotland’s past.
The castle sits on a knoll – the ‘Mote of Lochwart’ – at the centre of a small but well cultivated valley, well positioned to guard the road south to the Borders from Edinburgh.
IN THE BEGINNING: 1430
The Castle was built in 1430 by the Nobleman Sir William de Borthwick. He had volunteered to be a substitute hostage in the ransom of James I of Scotland in 1425, and was accordingly given by him a special licence to build “a castle or fortalice, to surround the same with walls and ditches, and to defend it with gates of brass or iron; and also, to place upon the summit defensive ornaments, by which is meant battlements and turrets.”
Having purchased the lands from Sir William Hay of Yester, Sir William de Borthwick built the tower to an impressive scale: 74 feet in length, 68 in breadth, and in height, from the area to the battlements, 90 feet. A contemporary source describes “a great and strong tower within and without, and of great height, the wall thereof being above 15 feet in thickness towards the foundation.”
The walls are of hewn stone, and the knoll on which the castle is situated, is surrounded by an outer court, enclosed and fortified by a strong outer wall. A small river called the Gore – a tributary of the South Esk – surrounds the Castle, contributing to its romantic appearance.
The entrance from the outer court to the keep would have been by stone ramp, linked with the gate of the tower by a drawbridge – a means of interior defence peculiar to castles of the 15th century. The battlements of Borthwick Castle also command some of the most beautiful views
in the area.
The interior of Borthwick Castle has seen little structural alteration over the years. The Great Hall is on the first storey and is 40 feet long, with a music gallery perched above and a lofty roof. The roof and walls would once have been adorned with colourful paintings and motifs, with inscriptions including “ye tempil of honour” and storeys including a small room that is believed to have been the bedchamber of its most famous resident, Mary, Queen of Scots.