The ruins of Linlithgow Palace are set in a parkland beside a loch in the town of Linlithgow, a quarter of an hour train ride from Edinburgh, or if going by car off the M9.
Linlithgow Palace is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots in 1542 and her father, James V, who was born in 1512. All of the Stewart kings lived here and numerous renovations to its grand facades and chambers were carried out as each monarch sought to create the ideal modern palace.
A royal manor had been on the site of the Palace since the 12th century. It was transformed by the English into a modern secure stronghold around 1302 before returning to Scottish hands in 1314.
A fire in 1424 destroyed the stronghold and burgh of Linlithgow, and James I then started building the structure we have today. Under James IV it developed into a courtyard palace, while James V and James VI made major contributions to what had become the finest palace of the Stewart kings.
The King's Fountain, probably Britain's oldest working fountain, was among the most elaborate of its time. It flows out of eight spouts which are set into carved figures of mythical beasts including a griffin and a giant. It suffered repeated damage over the centuries including from Covenanters who saw it as a symbol of the Popish splendour. Restoration work, which began in 2003, was carried out by Historic Scotland using traditional stone and the skills of some of the UK's finest stonemasons.
The park and loch was nature's larder for Linlithgow Palace. The loch is now a Site of Special Scientific for its wildfowl population. The Linlithgow Peel Ranger Service offer guided walks around the loch and park.
Usual ticket prices are £5.20 for adults, £4.20 concessions and £2.60 for children.