The Great Hall
A wonder of medieval Scotland, the Great Hall was completed in 1511 for King James IV. Its wooden roof is one of the most superb in Britain. Giant beams rest on stones carved with heads and symbols such as the thistle – a badge of Scotland.
Grand banquets and state events took place in the Great Hall. But James IV had little time to enjoy his new addition to the castle. The king was killed at the disastrous Battle of Flodden in 1513, fighting the forces of King Henry VIII of England – his brother-in-law.
Oliver Cromwell’s army captured the castle in 1650 and began a military makeover of the space, turning the Great Hall into a barracks. It later served as a military hospital, until the troops finally marched out in 1886.
Restored to its medieval splendour, the Great Hall today displays weapons and armour that hint at its military past. Among the swords and shields are strangely shaped pole arms, like the dreaded Lochaber axe – feared by all.
The Great Hall is located in the very heart of the Castle in Crown Square.