Midhope Castle is a 16th century tower house style castle. The first reference to the castle is from 1458 in a document concerning a dispute between Henry Levingstone and John Martyne, Laird of Medhope, over a boundary. John Martyne remained laird until he died in 1478, and then the castle passed to Henry Levingstone.
In 1582, Midhope Castle passed to Alexander Drummond and his wife, Marjorie Bruce. Alexander rebuilt the West Tower and Bartizan turrets in 1587. Alexander Drummond was a servant of the Earl of Huntly. On August 7th, 1573, on behalf of the Earl, Drummond returned jewels belonging to Mary, Queen of Scots, to Regent Morton at Holyrood Palace.
In 1664, the castle took the shape we see today thanks to work by George Livingston, 3rd Earl of Linlithgow, who added the present doorway and lintel. In 1678 the castle was acquired by John Hope, who removed the entrance tower and heightened and extended the East Range. A new doorway was added, and a small courtyard. A 17th century arched gateway protects the courtyard.
In 1710, Sir Robert Sibbald described "Meidhope" as a "fine tower house with excellent gardens, one of the seats of the Earls of Hopetoun."
By 1926, Midhope Castle was described as deteriorating, including a fine oak staircase with twisted balusters "now sadly dilapidated" rising in the East Range from the 1st to 4th floors. Restoration work began in 1988, which included replacing the roof of the East Range and a new roof for the West Tower, and new window frames into existing window openings. Midhope Castle was chosen as a film location for the Outlander series in 2013.
As the fictitious Lallybroch, home of Jamie Fraser on the television show Outlander, Midhope Castle draws many visitors. Still, there are no on-site amenities like a gift shop or tourist facilities as it resides on a working farm. There is a porta-potty located in the parking lot. The site can occasionally be closed due to farming, filming for Outlander, or estate activities on the surrounding Hopetoun Estate. Be sure to check their website for dates open/closed to visitors.
The castle's interior is derelict,unsafe, and not open to the public. However, for Outlander fans, just walking outside the castle and imagining Jamie, Claire, and Jenny in the courtyard makes it worth a visit.
The castle comprises the five-story West Tower with two-story Bartizan turrets crowning three corners and the flanking four-story East Range. Walking to the castle from the parking lot, you can see a brick building along the road in the wooded area to the left. These are the remains of a 17th century dovecot.
The castle's exterior is intact, making for a picturesque setting and lovely pictures. However, do mind the private farm behind the castle during the visit. Group visits should be booked in advance via the website mentioned above.
An hour or two is all that is needed to visit Midhope Castle, or a bit longer if you plan to stay and picnic. To make a full day of visiting castles and if you want to make your day more Outlander-specific, Blackness Castle is just a few miles away on the Firth of Forth and doubled as Fort William in Outlander. Linlithgow Palace is also close enough to visit on the same day.