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Linlithgow is a historic town in West Lothian, Scotland. It lies around halfway between Edinburgh and Stirling.

Its main attraction is Linlithgow Palace; this castle is ruined but still has many rooms, passages and spiral staircases to explore. Its design is unusual for a Scottish castle, more elegant than the typical fortress style of Edinburgh Castle or Stirling Castle. Rather than sitting high on a rocky crag, the palace is a multi-storeyed building based around a central courtyard.

Linlithgow Palace was an important royal residence before the Union of the Crowns. The Palace was built as a fortress by Edward I of England, the "Hammer of the Scots", who fortified an existing manor house around 1300. After the Battle of Bannockburn, when Scotland won its independence, it returned to Scottish hands. But the building as it currently exists dates back to James I of Scotland, who in 1424 started work rebuilding it after a fire that destroyed most of the town. James III, IV and V added to it, giving the building a distinctive French influence.

Mary, Queen of Scots was born in the palace, and she visited on numerous occasions, before her captivity in England. The palace was neglected once her son James V of Scotland ascended to the English throne and became King James I of England. The palace was inhabited briefly by Bonnie Prince Charlie during the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, but was gutted in an accidental fire the following year, and has not been habitable since. It is now administered by Historic Scotland, and open to tourists, who can wander through its numerous chambers and view some historical artifacts from the time it was a royal residence - it was a favourite of mine as a child due to its size and many nooks and crannies.

Linlithgow lies on the Union Canal which runs from Edinburgh to Falkirk, where it joins the Forth and Clyde Canal, which crosses the country to the River Clyde. Much of this canal is now reopened for tourism, with narrowboat trips running up and down the canal from Linlithgow and footpaths running along the old canal towpaths. There is also the Canal Museum at Manse Road Basin.

Linlithgow Rose Football Club are the town's Juniors soccer or football team, and play at Prestonfield. Their local rivals are Bo'ness. There is also a rugby team, Linlithgow Rugby Football Club.

Linlithgow is easily accessible by train, lying on the main line from Glasgow Queen Street station to Edinburgh, and is also served by trains from Edinburgh to Dunblane. Travelling by road it is near to the M9, if travelling from Falkirk, Stirling and the North, or Edinburgh and the South-East. It is also not too far from the M8 if coming from Glasgow and the West of Scotland. Those exploring West Lothian might also check out the steam railway at Bo'ness, and Blackness castle at Blackness, a more traditionally grim Scottish fortification.



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