Linlithgow Palace reopens following conservation repairs closure

06 June 2023
Linlithgow Palace (copyright Historic Environment Scotland)
Historic Environment Scotland has announced that Linlithgow Palace will reopen on 10 June, with visitors once again being able to explore the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.

Access restrictions were put in place at the start of last year as a safety precaution while HES, who manages the site, carried out high level masonry inspections. These inspections assess the impact of climate change on the condition of masonry at some historic sites at a high level, in combination with a number of other factors.

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These include the construction techniques used, both when built and subsequent repairs, as well as the geological vulnerability of specific stone types.

Heritage crime

At Linlithgow Palace, a number of areas have been the subject of conservation repair, however some minor access restrictions will remain in place while further work is ongoing.

While HES had initially planned to reopen the palace in May, the reopening was delayed due to a recent incident of heritage crime where walls, flagstones and the historic three-tiered courtyard fountain were defaced with graffiti. HES conservation teams have been working to address and mitigate the damage caused, including to the 16th-century fountain.

There will be some access restrictions in place at the North Quarter including the King’s Bed Chamber and the Court Kitchen. All other areas will reopen, including the Great Hall, Chapel Royal, the King’s Hall, the Museum, the Kitchen, Queen Margaret’s Bower, and more.

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The story of Linlithgow Palace

Initially a Roman settlement, there has been a royal residence where Linlithgow Palace now sits since the mid-1100s. The earliest residence was severely damaged by fire, and no visible features remain. After returning from captivity in England, James I began work on the new ‘pleasure palace’ to replace the previous residence. The palace was a welcome rest stop for royals between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle and was frequently in use. The elegant ruins seen today are the results of James I and his heirs’ work.

Linlithgow Palace © Historic Environment Scotland

Eagerly awaited

Craig Mearns, Director for Operations at HES, said: “We are very pleased to be able to re-open Linlithgow Palace to the public. Our teams have worked tirelessly not just to make it a safe and enjoyable place to visit, but also to address the damage that was done to the historic site this spring. That work is still on-going.

“We know that the local community and visitors alike have been eagerly awaiting the re-opening and, as a result of our planned and completed conservation work, this amazing site can be enjoyed by everyone once more.”

Also forthcoming will be a new audio guide for visitors, which - as well as featuring the royal history of the Palace - will also tell the lesser-known stories of the ordinary people who lived and worked there. This guide will be included in the ticket price.

Visit Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace will be open from 9.30am to 5.30pm every day. Last admission is at 4.45pm. Visitors are encouraged to book before visiting here.

Address: Linlithgow Palace, Kirkgate, Linlithgow EH49 7AL

Images © Historic Environment Scotland