Medieval Bothwell Castle owes its origins to Walter of Moray who acquired the lordship of Bothwell in 1242. He created the castle as a point of pride but never finished the entire plan, only the tower. However, it is still the largest 13th century castle in Scotland. Built in part of red sandstone it is situated on a high steep bank above the river Clyde in an excellent defensive position.
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The castle took part in the wars with England in the early 14th century. It suffered a number of sieges, with England gaining control in 1296, then Scotland taking it back in 1299. Another siege was in 1301 when the English again took control. It wasnít until 1314 that the castle was again in the hands of the Scottish. But by 1336 the English had regained it. In the same year, it once again reverted to the Scottish side. The Scottish, fearing permanent control by the English, took down much of the defensive walls.
After the wars with England were over, Bothwell passed, by marriage, to the Black Douglases in 1362. They rebuilt parts that were damaged by the wars and are responsible for much of the castle as seen today. The castle is rectangular in shape with the circular keep at the western end. Another tower and a great hall were at the other end of the castle. The cellars under the great hall can be viewed. The castle passed to the crown in 1455 when King James II came into its control.
Next to the castle is a semi-natural ancient woodland full of woodland flowers. There is access to the Clyde river walkway.
Approached from Uddingston, off the B7071 and off M74/A725 near Glasgow
Glasgow, Clyde and Ayrshire
Tel. 0 1698 816 894
Open: year round; April-end Sep, daily, 9:30am-6:30pm; Oct-March, Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm, closed Thu and Fri ; closed 25/26 Dec and 1/2 Jan
Historic Scotland property; parking; picnic area; shop
Photos courtesy Geograph British Isles as follows:
Bothwell castle porticullis and east interior by Elliott Simpson;
Exterior from River Clyde by J Laird;
Exterior by JThomas