Borthwick Castle photos, Edinburgh & Lothian venue, Historic Scottish Borders hotel building location

Borthwick Castle : Historic Scottish Building

Midlothian Accommodation, southern Scotland: Scottish Borders Architecture

post updated 16 December 2023 ; 23 September 2023

Contact +44 (0)1875 820514

Hotel address: Borthwick, Midlothian, South East Scotland, UK

Location: 12 miles south of Edinburgh, near Gorebridge, on minor road north off A7.

Borthwick Castle Midlothian

Damage to parapet by Cromwell’s cannon:
Borthwick Castle
Historic Scottish Borders hotel building photo © Adrian Welch

Borthwick Castle: Introduction

The building of this eight-storey keep was begun in 1420.

Borthwick Castle is a tall, 15th century castle on a north-facing slope in typical rolling Borders countryside. It is open for dining / functions as the Borthwick Castle Hotel, Midlothian.

This Historic Scottish Borders building is located down a narrow wood-line lane just east of Borthwick village. Borthwick itself is 12 miles south-east of Edinburgh on the A772 or the A7, two miles south east of Gorebridge.

Borthwick Castle History

This U-plan Castle was built by Sir James Borthwick (later Lord Borthwick)
around 1420 on the site of an earlier motte-type castle Lochorwart, granted to him by James I.

The harled, twin-towered keep stands in the north-west corner of a walled courtyard. Borthwick Castle once had typically Scottish round towers at the corners but only one remains. The Castle walls are up to 14 feet thick; there is a 12 foot gap between the twin towers – prisoners (apparently) were made to jump this gap blindfolded.

Borthwick is the tallest castle (110 ft) in Scotland. Borthwick’s history had to be mentioned in addition to the architecture. Mary, Queen of Scots visited the castle in 1567 with James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. The couple were besieged by a force who implicated Bothwell in the murder of Mary’s second husband, Lord Darnley. Bothwell slipped out, and Mary escaped next day dressed as a page-boy, but she was soon captured.

Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians attacked this Scottish Borders fortified building in 1650. The structure was damaged by cannon and abandoned. The fortification was restored between 1890 and 1914 and during the Second World War the Castle was used as a secret store for the nation’s Official Public Records.

The Castle became a conference centre before, like many in the UK, becoming a hotel – in 1973.

Midlothian Buildings

Buildings close by:

Crichton Castle, ruined building near the village of Crichton, Midlothian
Crichton Castle: 2 miles north-east

Dalhousie Castle, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, EH19 3JB, Scotland – eight miles southeast of Edinburgh.
Dalhousie Castle: 4 miles north-west

The hotel website is

Contact this Midlothian hotel – phone 01875 820514

South East Scotland Castle Buildings

Tantallon Castle
Tantallon Castle
photo © Adrian Welch

Scottish Castles in Edinburgh & Lothian

Edinburgh Tours

This historic Midlothian hotel property is open March to January. Please always check with the Hotel operators for current opening dates and times.

Castles in East Lothian

Historic Scottish Property Designs – key architectural selection below:

Lennoxlove House, south of Haddington, East Lothian
Lennoxlove House

Tantallon Castle, near North Berwick, East Lothian
Tantallon Castle

Dunbar Castle, East Lothian
Dunbar Castle

Historic Buildings in Eastern Scotland

Hailes Castle, east of Haddington, East Lothian
Hailes Castle

Edinburgh Castle, Old Town
Edinburgh Castle

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, Old Town, Edinburgh
Palace of Holyroodhouse

Craigmillar Castle, ruined medieval fort three miles south-east of the Scottish capital city centre
Craigmillar Castle

Historic Scottish Properties

Hill House, Helensburgh, northwest of Glasgow
Hill House

House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, south west of Glasgow city centre
House for an Art Lover

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