drum tower
L-plan castle
15th century


EH19 3JB
NT 320 636
nr Bonnyrigg
8m from Edinburgh


privately owned
luxury hotel


Dalhousie site
Clan Ramsay


Dalhousie Castle

We considered for a few minutes staying here at Dalhousie Castle and enjoying a spa-day. Near the end of the trip, we tend to slow down. Then we looked up the rates for the available rooms; nothing but suites left, and after a brief moment of sticker shock, we decided against it. This is a huge venue for weddings, and they have some really neat activities (falconry, anyone?).

looking at the "back" of the castle from the grounds

15th Century plus

This is a large castle, and incorporates building from many different periods into a much-altered mansion (now a private hotel). The courtyard is 13th century, with corner towers and a moat), a 16th century L-plan tower is buried deep within the newer additions.

The original earth and timer castle was replaced by a stone courtyard, and this was rebuilt in the 15th centruy. The main tower house was 18.5m x 10.3m, with a large wing. It has three cellars in the main block and the wing has a separate cellar.

Of that 16th century castle, the entrance ad the large round tower survive. There are slots for a drawbridge and a bottle dungeon in the basement from this era as well. The castle was expanded in the 17th century, and the interior was reconfigured once again in the 1820s. .

the impressive front entrance and drum tower


William Ramsey of Dalhousie is logged as owning the lands here in 1296, which probably contained an earth and timber castle. Edward I of England stayed there, on his way to fight William Wallace at Falkirk in 1296.

The Ramseys played a part in the wars of independence, and in 1342, Alexander Ramsey was starved to death by a rival in Hermitage Castle.

The castle remained in the family, and in 1400 it was held against Henry IV of Engliand--the last time an English monarch actually beiseged a Scottish castle in person.

In 1633, William Ramsey was made Earl of Dalhousie, and embarked on a remodelling and enlarging program at the castle. The castle was briefly under the control of Cromwell in th 1650s, but returned to the Ramseys. The 8th, 9th, and 10th Earls continued the building program, including roofing over the courtyard to make the main entrance hall.

The Ramsay's lived in the castle until about 1900 and then moved to Brechin Castle, although they retained ownershpi of the castle here until 1977.. Dalhousie, still in good repair, was a schoolhouse betwee 1925 and 1950 and was turne dinto a luxury hotel in 1974.

the drum tower and extended wing from the 16th century