The latest in our series on castles in Scotland travels to Midhope Castle, a historic monument that might not class as one of the country’s oldest or grandest but does rank as a star of the screen.
In the TV series Outlander, Midhope Castle becomes Lallybroch, the ancestral seat of Jamie Fraser. In our guide to Midhope Castle, we look at its history, quirks and how to plan your visit to Lallybroch.
A bit of Midhope Castle history
Like so many Scottish castles, Midhope began life as a tower house. The first reference to the castle dates from 1592 when it belonged to the Drummond family. Just a few decades later, the five-storey tower became the property of the Livingstones. George Livingstone, the 3rd Earl of Linlithgow, was responsible for many of the architectural changes that give the castle its unique shape today.
The Earldom of Hopetoun took over ownership in the 17th century and the castle remains in the family’s hands today. However, staying in a castle like Midhope lost its appeal to the nobility in favour of the far grander Hopetoun House on the same estate. Despite this, the castle remained inhabited until the mid-19th century, used as accommodation by farmworkers.
By the early 20th century, the castle had fallen into disrepair. Restoration work has taken place on the roofs and outside walls, but the interiors lie derelict and are closed to visitors.
Midhope Castle fast facts
The castle features in the first four of the Outlander series.
Why visit Midhope Castle
Although there’s nothing to see inside, this Scottish castle still offers plenty of reasons to visit. They include:
Stunning Scottish tower house architecture – don’t miss the bartizans on three corners of the tower and the steeply pitched roofs. View the castle in its full glory as you walk up the hill from the car park.
The double dovecot – built in 1695, this extraordinary construction houses over 2,000 nesting boxes, 993 on one side and 1,013 on the other.
Outlander ambience – fans of the TV series will instantly recognise the silhouette of the tower house and the courtyard has featured in any number of scenes. Soak up the ambience of the Scottish Highlands in the 18th century.
Nearby attractions – Midhope Castle is in West Lothian, just northeast of Linlithgow, home to another historic Scottish Palace. Edinburgh Castle, one of the most striking in the country, is also within easy reach.
Coastal location – the castle is just a stone’s throw from the Firth of Forth with its emblematic three bridges.
Midhope Castle fast facts
Virtually nothing remains of Midhope Castle’s richly decorated interiors. However, you can see a number of original ceiling lines at Abbey Strand Tearoom, outside Holyrood Palace, some of the finest castle accommodation in Scotland.
Midhope Castle opens daily from April to Christmas, but because it forms part of the Hopetoun Estate, a working farm, it may be closed on certain days. Check the website when you plan your visit. You also need to bear in mind that Midhope isn’t a visitor attraction and the following applies:
- There are no visitor amenities such as toilets or café onsite.
- You need a vehicle pass, available from the parking attendant or Hopetoun Farm Shop, to access the designated car park.
- The path to the Castle is pedestrian-only and up a hill.
- You can only visit the exterior and all access to the inside of the Castle (derelict) is prohibited.
Midhope Castle opens 1 April to 31 October from 9am to 5pm and from 1 November to 23 December from 9am to 3pm.
Midhope Castle fast facts
In 1851, Midhope Castle was home to 53 people from 9 families including gamekeepers, agriculture workers and paupers.
Stay in a castle near Midhope
Castle stays in Scotland come into their own at this 16th century fortified tower, built in much the same style at Midhope, but with interiors fit for a king, queen and 12 courtiers. Open fires and Scottish tartans and plaids give you a warm welcome while suits of armour, tapestries and four posters provide atmospheric historical touches. Add to these, the original Great Hall, vaulted rooms and garret suite and you could be on an Outlander set.
This luxury castle tower also has an enviable location, sitting on the North Berwick coast with its long sands, championship golf courses and panoramic views up and down the Forth. Yours too to enjoy are 20 acres of private land, all part of this five-star castle accommodation Scotland. Edinburgh sits a mere 24 miles away while Midhope Castle aka Lallybroch is just that little bit further. Book your castle stay now.
Enjoyed reading this? Read more in our Scottish Castles series:
1. Dunnottar Castle
2. Stirling Castle
3. Eilean Donan Castle
4. Urquhart Castle
5. Culzean Castle
6. Balmoral Castle
7. Glamis Castle
8. Crathes Castle
9. Floors Castle
10. Dunrobin Castle
11. 7 reasons to visit Stirling
12. Castles in Scotland – all you need to know
13. 14 Scottish castles with Royal connections
14. Fascinating facts about royal castles
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