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Blackness Castle

Near South Queensferry

The Ship that Never Sailed

Please note there is currently no visitor access to the top room of the Mid Tower.

Blackness Castle, the ship that never sailed, is one of Scotland’s most impressive strongholds. Over the years, it’s served as a royal castle, prison, armaments depot and film location for Hamlet and Ivanhoe.

It’s known as the ship that never sailed because, from the sea, it resembles a giant stone ship that has run aground. Rather fitting for a castle on the main port serving the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow.

Built in the 15th century by the powerful Crichton family, Blackness is a formidable fortress and, unlike many of the other grand residences in the area, has never really been a peaceful family home.

By the mid-15th century, while the Crichton family lived there, it was already serving as a state prison and has a legacy of violent conflict. The King's Master of the Works (who developed the fortifications) was executed for treason and the castle was taken and surrendered many times.

Visit to see the dark uneven bedrock courtyard, the parapet walks and the towers. In reference to the ship-like shape, the South Tower is known as Stern Tower, the central tower as the Mast Tower and the North Tower as the Stem Tower. From the roof of the Mast Tower, you’ll really feel the elements as you enjoy the fantastic views of the River Forth and the surrounding area. Do be aware that there’s some uneven ground and lots of steps to climb! After all that exertion, the Lobster Pot is a local pub offering good coffee, food and liquid refreshments. 

Fans of Outlander will recognise the castle as Fort William in seasons one and two. Other screen appearances include the film Mary Queen of Scots and the Netflix film about Robert the Bruce, King Outlaw.

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Visiting Blackness Castle

Useful information
  • Distance from South Queensferry: 15 min (7.6 mi) via A904
  • The nearby Linlithgow, with Linlithgow Palace, restored Burgh Halls, the museum and canal centre is a lovely wee place to explore if you are making a day of it
Visit Blackness Castle Website >
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Forth Bridges Trail

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About the Bridges

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More See & Do

Near South Queensferry
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