Borthwick Castle

Borthwick Castle

Photo Credit: will_hybrid
(Creative Commons)
Borthwick Castle, built in 1430, is located some 15 miles south of Edinburgh in the the village of Borthwick. It's one of the best examples of Scottish castles still surviving today, being large and - following reconstruction work by Helen Bailey in the 1970s - pretty much intact. As well as a hotel it's also used today as a restaurant and wedding venue.

Since the 1970s it has been run as the Borthwick Castle Hotel and has become a popular venue for parties and weddings. The Great Hall can cater for banquets or intimate dinners. There are only few rooms, each with there own special character. Many of the luxury rooms have four poster (canopy) beds and it's even possible to sleep in the room once occupied by Mary Queen of Scots.


Borthwick Castle's main claim to fame is its association with Mary Queen of Scots. She knew the 6th Lord Borthwick well and visited the castle at least twice. One the second occasion Mary and her third husband the Earl of Bothwell were there when the castle was surrounded by a force led by James Stewart of Moray. Mary only escaped by disguising herself as a pageboy and escaping through a window in the Great Hall. There is no record to suggest she used the name "Bob".


Borthwick Castle is widely believed to be haunted. Many people have reported spooky presences, especially in the Great Hall and the Red Room. At one point a priest was employed to attempt an exorcism, however this appears to have been unsuccessful.

Given the apparent supernatural activity in the Great Hall, some people have suggested that the ghost could have been that of Mary herself. That seems unlikely to me, not least because the Red Room was not Mary's.

Another suggestion is that the ghost is that of a young servant girl bore an illegitimate Borthwick son in the Red Room. The servant girl and her baby were put to the sword to hide the scandal.

There is also the possibility that the Bothwick's chancellor haunts the castle. The chancellor was found to be embezzling from his employers and unceremoniously burned. Perhaps his crispy corpse still walks the castle.

The Red Room is one of the most popular rooms with the guests of Borthwick Castle, living or otherwise.

This site is not associated with or endorsed by Borthwick Castle Hotel. Contact the hotel for room availabity, rates and booking.