Rosslyn Castle

Roslin, near Edinburgh


Mainly built around 1450, Rosslyn Castle is situated on a truly dramatic site: a tree-covered spine of rock rising steeply from the River Esk, which surrounds it on three sides. Rosslyn is famous for three things - an ancient castle, its extraordinary chapel and a valley full of scenic romance. In the words of Sir Walter Scott, 'A morning of leisure can scarcely be anywhere more delightfully spent than in the woods of Rosslyn'.

Rosslyn Castle is currently closed for a major project of restoration and repair by Rosslyn Chapel Trust, to reintegrate the ruinous and habitable parts of the East Range, and secure its long-term future. This Landmark will be open again for bookings from 20 July 2024.

Please note: The current photos date from before restoration works began. New photos are coming soon.


  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • Electric Car Charging PointElectric Car Charging Point
  • CotCot
  • Mobile signalMobile signal
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower

Beds 2 Twin, 1 Double

4 nights from
£976 equivalent to £40.67 per person, per night

A dramatic Castle

Surrounded by the ancient woodland of Roslin Glen, it is easy to forget that this imposing Castle is only eight miles from the centre of Edinburgh. Dating back to 1622, the Castle is a now comfortable house with panelled rooms, an impressive moulded plaster ceiling and an open fire in the drawing room. Set among the 14th-century ruins of older fortifications, it still contains an element of drama - on one side a two storey building, on the other it drops five storeys, past the former kitchen, bakehouse and dungeon, down the side of the rock to reach the ground 60 feet below.

The Rosslyn estate 

Rosslyn Castle is the ancestral home of the St Clair family and as such contains many family portraits, photographs and belongings. The Rosslyn estate has been held by the St. Clair family since the Barony of Rosslyn was established in 1070 and its most famous landmark, Rosslyn Chapel, is just a few minutes’ walk away. Triumphantly restored in the 2000s, the Chapel has a state-of-the-art visitor centre that tells its story – from its 15th-century origins, through the Reformation to the Da Vinci Code and beyond.

Today, the Castle makes a perfect base for exploring Rosslyn Chapel, Glen and surrounding attractions of Midlothian. On the outskirts of Edinburgh, it is equally ideal for sampling the many delights  of Scotland’s historic capital, all year round. There are very good public transport links between the village of Roslin and the city centre.

The castle is re-opening for holidays in September 2024 after a major two-year restoration and repair project by the Rosslyn Chapel Trust. The ruinous Great Hall was roofed and transformed into an airy kitchen and living space, with a new bedroom in a connecting tower. The entire accommodation was refreshed and redecorated throughout. A favourite Landmark building has just got even better.

There has probably always been some form of fortification on the site of Rosslyn Castle, an almost insulated rock overhanging the glen of the Esk - certainly since at least the beginning of the 14th century, and maybe much earlier.

William de St Clair, who came from Normandy with William the Conqueror, obtained from Malcolm Canmore a great part of the lands of the barony of Roslin, and he may well have built some sort of edifice on his new possessions.

See all our Landmarks at Roslin 

‘The Castle is a marvellous base for the Edinburgh Festival.’

‘A wild and spectacular setting – it’s easy to see why Turner wanted to paint it.’

From the logbook

Floor Plans


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Map & local info

Rosslyn Castle has an enclosed garden as well as other outside space amongst the ruined walls. Roslin Glen has a web of footpaths down to the river and at the top of the Glen stands the remarkable Rosslyn Chapel. The Roslin Glen Walk is an excellent way to explore this area.

The city of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is just 7 miles away. The CastleZooNational Museum of ScotlandPalace of Holyroodhouse and The Georgian House are just some of the fantastic array of attractions to keep you entertained in this vibrant city. 

Portobello Beach, just outside Edinburgh, is a traditional seaside resort where you can stroll along the promenade, overlooking the sandy beach, or relax in the unique surroundings of the Turkish Baths.  

For more information on things to do during your stay at Rosslyn Castle, please see our Pinterest page. Discover local walks for dogs with our friends at, the dog walks community.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.


See all our Landmarks at Roslin

Clear directions
Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog.

    Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • Via an unmade road.
  • Edinburgh Waverley – 8 miles.
  • There is a parking area for three cars adjacent to the property. 
  • There are electric night storage heaters, an open fire in the sitting room and a wood burning stove in the dining room. Please be aware that, due to the nature of the building, it can feel cold especially during the winter.
  • Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker and microwave. Please note that the kitchen in this building is small and narrow.
  • There are three bathrooms.
  • There are stairs are steep, spiral and narrow.
  • There is a garden (not enclosed).
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

A fortification here since at least the 14th century

The present Castle dates from various periods having suffered a chequered history, but the earliest standing part is the remains of the tower by the present bridge, and this was probably built shortly after the Battle of Rosslyn in 1302. This crushing defeat of the English involved a small Scottish army fighting three battles against different English forces all on the same day; the first contest took place on the Bilston Burn, and the second and third between Dryden and Hawthornden. A brief account appears later in this album. Local names perpetuate the sites: Shin-bones Field, where bones have been found when ploughing; the ‘Hewings’, where there was great slaughter; and the ‘Killburn’, a stream that ran red for three days.

The only access to the Castle was then, as it is now, along a one arched bridge across a deep gully. Originally the gap would have been crossed by a drawbridge between ashlar piers of which only the one to the south remains. The entrance was defended by a gate of great strength, the remains of which are just visible today; it is shown in the pre 1700 drawings. But as the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland (1871) points out, 'though highly pleasant and romantic, (the site) is very ill chosen for a fortalice; for while it finely overlooks the sylvan stream below, it is itself commanded by heights which press closely on its precincts, and look almost right down upon the tops of its chimneys'.

The rounded keep on the south-west corner was added about 1400 by Henry St Clair, the second Prince of Orkney. His son, Sir William, considerably enlarged and strengthened the castle. It was this Sir William who had travelled extensively in France and this probably explains the strong French influence in the design, such as the curious round buttresses which are similar to the Chateau of Guillard on the Seine. He was also responsible for the justly famous Rosslyn Chapel, begun in 1446, and described as a ‘Bible in stone’, renowned for its richly carved interior. At this time, the St Clair family was wealthy enough to dine from gold and silver ware. When Sir William’s wife, Lady Elizabeth, undertook to visit the family house in Edinburgh, she had an escort of 200 men on horseback. Sir William was so rich and powerful that he could even mint his own coins.

No sooner had the works been completed than a fire destroyed part of them in 1447, caused by a lady in waiting looking for a dog under a bed and setting the bedclothes alight with her candle. The fire spread rapidly, ravaging a large part of the Castle. According to legend, this event was heralded by a mysterious warning. Edward St Clair of Dryden, riding hounds to meet Sir William, met a great company of rats. Amongst these, being led by the rest, was an old blind rat with a straw in its mouth.

This damage was repaired, and remained intact for nearly a century, until in 1544, the Castle was set on fire again, this time by the English under the Earl of Hertford, instructed by Henry VIII to 'put all to fire and sword' in Scotland. Edinburgh, Leith and Craigmillar Castles all suffered the same fate as Rosslyn. But the Castle was repaired again and from 1580 more buildings along the south-east side of the courtyard were erected by another Sir William including the clock tower and the great hall, underneath which three lower floors go down a further 50 feet to the solid rock. The fine moulded fireplace in the now ruinous hall bears a shield with the arms and initials of Sir William and his wife, Jean Edmonston and the date 1597.

The vaults below the present Landmark, provided the kitchens, bakery and store rooms for Sir William’s more domestic quarters. They are described in the Gazetteer - 'a descent of a great number of stone-stairs conducts through part of the existing structure to the bottom, and leads into a large kitchen, whence a door opens into a once famous garden'. These 'lower apartments are ill-lighted and confined, and possess far more of the coldness and gloom of a prison than the comfort and convenience of a modern residence'.

In 1622, the date over the front door and on the sitting room ceiling, Sir William’s son, yet another William, completed the Castle by finishing the range his father had begun, adding confident Renaissance detailing and fine plaster ceilings. Alas, this was to be short lived. In 1650, after the disaster at the Battle of Dunbar, Cromwell’s troops under the command of General Monk, besieged the Castle with four cannon, a mortar, and 600 troops. The walls were battered down and the Castle sacked and slighted, leaving only what stands today. Monk displayed his contempt for idolatry and pomp by stabling his horses in the chapel.

'Haggard and utterly dilapidated'

The Castle never recovered, and by 1788 the remains were described as 'haggard and utterly dilapidated'. The Gazetteer described them thus in 1871 - 'the mere wreck of a great pile riding on a little sea of forest, and not far from contact with commanding rocks, - a rueful apology for the once grand fabric'. The combination of decayed Castle, ornate chapel and dramatic scenery fired the romantic imagination throughout the 19th century, and Rosslyn became an essential stop on any Scottish itinerary. Turner came here to paint, and Dorothy Wordsworth was to write 'I never passed through a more delicious dell than the glen of Rosslyn'.

For much of the 20th century the Castle was occupied by a tenant, but when Miss Leech died in 1980, it fell victim to vandals who used the panelling for firewood. When the current 7th Earl of Rosslyn inherited it on his father’s death in 1977, a rescue package was drawn up.

A short history of Rosslyn Castle



On behalf of Lord Rosslyn

The restoration of Rossyln Castle was completed in 1984 and the first Landmarkers stayed in the summer of 1985. Unusually for us, the Landmark Trust does not own or lease Rosslyn Castle, but let it on behalf of Lord Rosslyn. This experiment proved to be a great success and in 2002 Collegehill House, which was built as an inn and stands next to the chapel a five minute walk away, became a Landmark in its own right.

2024 restoration works

In 2023-4, the Castle underwent a major project of restoration and repair by Rosslyn Chapel Trust. This restored the ruinous parts of the East Range and brought them back into use  The main part of the project was re-roofing the Great Hall, which is now a new kitchen and living space, with an additional bedroom in the connecting Tower. The works also repaired important historic masonry externally and the three levels of below-ground vaults. A new sustainable heating system has been installed, and the energy efficiency of the whole building has been upgraded. The whole building has been refreshed and redecorated.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.