Melville Castle

Lasswade Edinburgh Scotland

From: 690 to: 2440 / week.
Night : 99

Melville Castle

Castle - Lasswade

Melville Castle
Midlothian, near Edinburgh, Scotland

Castle weddings for up to 110 guests (up to 250 in a marquee). Sleeps up to 72 guests in 33 rooms.

Just seven miles outside of Edinburgh and with seven public rooms of various styles and capacities, Melville Castle lends itself beautifully to ceremonies in the elegant ballroom for up to 100 guests, or choose one of several alternatives for a more intimate ceremony. The castle can hold 80 guests for the wedding breakfast with an option for an additional 40 evening guests to join the celebrations


The castle has played host to weddings of all shapes and sizes, from the grandest of society weddings, to smaller and more intimate affairs. The staff at the castle want to ensure that every moment of your special day is a memorable one; that’s why the dedicated wedding coordinators are there to assist with every detail.

Set in an idyllic country estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Melville Castle is a unique and enchanting location for weddings, receptions and civil partnerships.

Nestled within 54 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and woodland on the banks of the river Esk, Melville Castle is also home to an excellent Brasserie restaurant, where wedding guests can enjoy an extensive range of menus created by the castle’s team of chefs, using the finest, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.

Whether it’s your reception, ceremony or both, they’ll make sure your day is as individual, exciting and memorable as you have always dreamed.


Melville Castle is located just 20 minutes from Edinburgh Airport and seven miles from the city centre. It has four main meeting rooms and additional break-out rooms set within tranquil surroundings. With 32 en-suite bedrooms, free Wi-Fi, car parking for 80 cars and helicopter landing facilities, the castle is an ideal location for hosting a memorable conference, corporate event or product launch.

A marquee is available for larger events, dinners and ceremonies and if you wish to incorporate whisky tastings, catering demonstrations or any alternative activities, the events team will be more than happy to arrange these for you.


Property Features

Melville Castle's History

Earliest records indicate that in 1155, in the reign of King Malcolm IV, Malleville was an estate in the ownership of an Anglo-Norman Baron called Galfrid de Malle, who was Sheriff of Edinburgh and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. The estate remained in his family until the time of King Robert II in 1371 when, through marriage, it passed to Sir John Ross of Halkhead. The castle continued as the seat of that branch of the Ross family for many generations. In 1542, owing to the death of her father, King James V, Mary Stuart became Queen of Scotland, when she was only six days old. Because of political and religious unrest in Scotland, she was to spend her early years in France with her mother Marie de Guise, adopting much of French culture, and controversially, the Roman Catholic faith. In 1561, after the death of her husband King Francis II, Marie Stuart exchanged the culture and splendour of the French court and returned to Scotland, a nineteen year old widow. Though the Scottish Royal Court was established in Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, the Queen settled her French retinue a few miles to the south, in an area which is known, even today, as Little France. In 1565, after four years of widowhood and against the earnest pleadings of her advisors, she chose to marry her Catholic cousin Lord Darnley; a disaster from which her later problems sprang. Her future life was to be etched in blood. The Queen, a fine horsewoman, became a frequent visitor to the nearby Melville Castle, invariably in the company of her Italian secretary and close companion, Seigneur David Rizzio. This close friendship caused jealousy and hatred among the mainly Protestant Scottish Nobles. In an attempt to raise Rizzio’s standing, the Queen tried to persuade Lord Ross to give the Lordship of Melville to Rizzio. Though it was not to be, Rizzio nevertheless took apartments in the castle. The castle became known to the local people as Rizzio's house. This further incensed the Nobles. On one of the Queen's visits, he planted a tree as a token of his love for her. The tree, a majestic Spanish Chestnut (castanea sativa), survives to this day, some 450 years later. The Queen responded by planting 5 oak trees along the drive, which also survive to this day. Such blatant displays of love, however, were to be Rizzio’s downfall. The Scottish Nobles persuaded Lord Darnley that Rizzio was the Queen's lover and, in 1566, they forced their way into her apartments in Holyrood Palace and murdered him before the Queen's eyes. He was to suffer many stab wounds. A few years later, Lord Darnley was himself to be strangled by the order of the Earl of Bothwell, Mary’s new suitor. Mary was accused of complicity in the murder and was held in captivity by the Scottish Lords. She was later to escape and seek sanctury in England, where she was eventually to be betrayed, imprisoned and beheaded by her cousin, Elizabeth of England. The trees, however, remain enduring symbols of the Queen and Rizzio’s ill-fated affection for each other. In 1762, Sir David Rannie purchased the estate. He had acquired a vast fortune after 30 years of trading with the East India Company in Eastern seas based on Calcutta. His return to Scotland was short-lived, as after 5 years he died, leaving his two young daughters prey to the landed gentry. The shrewd Henry Dundas, a lawyer, and son of the neighbouring estate of Arniston, was 24 when he married the 14 year old Elizabeth, acquiring both her estate and her fortune. He was clever and industrious with consuming ambition. His service as a Member of Parliament in London, under Prime Minister Pitt, was to be rewarded by an appointment as the first Viscount Melville. He also held the most prestigious and powerful position in Scotland of Lord Advocate. This is commemorated in a marble statue in the Advocates Hall in Edinburgh. His new found wealth allowed him to commission James Playfair, the renowned Scottish architect of the time, to design a new castle and, in 1786, the old Medieval edifice was demolished and the new castle was built on its footprint. This building, an impressive castellated mansion with its spacious pillared entrance hall, elegant staircase and fine reception rooms, was created principally for entertaining on a grand scale. In 1791, at the time of the French revolution and Britain’s war with France, Lord Melville was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for War. He now wielded enormous power throughout Britain and its dominions. His preoccupation in state matters, however, resulted in a rash investment and the loss of all of Elizabeth’s fortune in the crash of the Ayrshire Bank. This misadventure resulted in an impoverished Countess and a mortgaged Melville Castle. His successful political career, however, continued with his appointment as First Lord of the Admiralty, but these various government appointments meant that he was required to spend long months in London, whereupon his long suffering wife, her fortune lost, eloped into the arms of another. In 1822, in anticipation of George IV’s visit to Scotland, an impressive fluted stone column 135ft high was erected in the gardens of St. Andrews Square to bear the figure of the King. However, the Edinburgh dignitaries, momentarily displeased with the King, surmounted the column with the figure of Lord Melville. The King was required to make do with a less prominent position in Hanover Street and a modest pedestal of only 15 feet. Lord Melville also had sight of the plans for the New Town and, to the dismay of the officials, he acquired the principal site in St Andrews Square and built the finest classical mansion house in the city. The church originally intended for the site had to be relocated to George Street. It is known as Saint Andrews ‘the round church which leaves no corner for the devil.’ In 1828, King George IV again visited Scotland as a guest of the Duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith Palace. Whether aware of his displacement from St. Andrews Square, the King visited Melville Castle. For this, a special carriage way, now Melville Gate Road, was created between the two mansions. A grand review of the Midlothian Yeomanry, of which Lord Melville was Colonel, took place on the south lawn. For this occasion Lord Melville arranged a lavish banquet and among the distinguished personages gathered to meet the King was Sir Walter Scott, who lived nearby and was a frequent visitor to the castle. It is recorded that a sumptuous meal was enjoyed by the guests and the members of the Yeomanry, who were amply provided for. The estate workers also enjoyed a feast and there was still enough food remaining for the poor of the district to be fed. In 1842, on the occasion of her first tour of Scotland, 23 year old Queen Victoria was a guest at the castle and was enamoured by the beautiful and tranquil character of the estate. Walter Scott was also inspired to write of ‘Melville’s Beechy Grove’ in his work ‘Grey Brother’. The castle remained in the hands of the Dundas family for some generations and, after the Second World War, the Ninth Lord Melville moved to a smaller house on the estate and the castle was temporarily leased as an army rehabilitation centre and later as an hotel. In the late 1980’s, the castle, estate and the adjoining farms were sold. The castle, however, suffered badly from neglect and the ensuing dry rot brought it to dereliction and eventual closure. In 1993, after being open to the weather and with the roof and floors collapsing, it was acquired by the Hay Trust and, over a period of 8 years, it underwent extensive restoration and refurbishment to become again the fine and elegant building you see today. It remains in the ownership of the Trust and was opened as an hotel in June 2003. During renovation, an apparition, shrouded and featureless, but unmistakably female in form and deportment, was seen to move from the fireplace of the Library bar towards and through the wall opposite. As work progressed, when the old plaster was stripped from the wall, a built up doorway was revealed. It was re-opened and now serves as the entrance to the Arniston Room from the Library. The spirit has also been seen hovering at the foot of the bed in a first floor bedroom and, most recently, as a shadowy figure at the window. These visitations persist and invariably occur at dusk or during the hours of darkness! Speculation suggests that it could be the distraught spirit of Mary Stuart searching for her close companion David Rizzio and their times of happiness at Melville Castle.


Melville Castle's table of pricing

From: 690 to: 2440 / week.
Night : 99


Classic Double/Twin Room From £99 From £149
Superior Double/Twin Room From £119 From £169
Family Room From £119 From £219
Four-Poster Room/Suite From £149 From £224
Deluxe Two-Bedroom Suite From £249 From £349
* BB = Bed & Breakfast * DBB = Dinner, Bed & Breakfast


How to reach Melville Castle

Melville Castle is only seven miles away from Edinburgh, one of the UK's most beautiful and vibrant cities. The castle's proximity to Edinburgh means there will always be plenty to do during your stay at the castle. BY CAR From The West Head for the City Bypass (which is well signed) and follow it eastbound. Exit at Gilmerton Junction and follow the road signs for Eskbank. The gates to Melville Castle will appear on your right hand side about 1km from the bypass slip road. From The East Head for the City Bypass (which is well signed) and follow it westbound. At the Sheriffhall Roundabout take the A68, followed by the first turning on the right onto Melville Gate Road. The gates to Melville Castle are opposite the end of Melville Gate Road. From the South East Follow the A1 north to Newcastle, then follow the A696 signposted for Newcastle Airport. Turn onto the A68 signposted for Jedburgh. From Jedburgh follow the A68 to Galashiels then the A72 to Peebles and pick up the directions above. BY RAIL The nearest main-line station is Edinburgh Waverley. A taxi to Melville would take approximately 25 minutes. BY AIR The nearest airport is Edinburgh Airport. A taxi to Melville would take approximately 20 minutes.

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