Guthrie Castle is one of the most popular castles in Scotland. It is a Category B listed building and is owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
The castle was built by William, Earl of Morton, to protect Edinburgh from invasion from the south. Guthrie Castle features a tower house with three storeys and an attic floor which was originally used as living quarters, with additional accommodation in an adjacent keeper’s house. The tower house has six rooms on each level, including two large square rooms at ground level on either side of a wide spiral staircase leading to the upper floors. There is also access to an extra storey found at roof level providing a lookout vantage point overlooking Edinburgh .
The keepers house was built in 1556 as a separate building, however it is now linked to the tower by a stone archway with timber floors and roof. This combination of buildings has mostly been preserved in its original state.
The Castle has two courtyards, the larger of which is within the tower house complex and measures 7 metres across at its widest point. Originally, this courtyard was entered by an archway from the west wall of the keepers house and had a second opening on its east side directly into the adjoining stable block. The entrance archway to this courtyard has been blocked up and covered over so that it is invisible from both within and without the castle giving the impression of a single walled enclosure. The smaller courtyard lies just to the south of the castle and is linked to it by a modern bridge.
The castle is situated close to the southern edge of a ridge. It therefore commands over impressive views looking southwards towards Edinburgh. The view also includes Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags, which lie some two kilometres distant to the east. The crags are clearly visible from the keepers house, which has a large sash window with a clear view across them.
There are no records of how extensive the original gardens were, however there is a strong possibility that they stretched down into a valley on the southern side of the castle giving it an even better vantage point over Edinburgh. The castle has been restored to its former appearance in the nineteenth century and is very atmospheric. The courtyard is not open to the public, however there is access to a small exhibition in the keeper’s house and tours of the tower are available by prior arrangement.
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