Prisons Of War

This prison recreation offers a glimpse of life for the prisoners of many nationalities who languished here.

They came from as far apart as France, America, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Denmark and Poland.

Among them was five-year-old drummer boy captured at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The first prisoners were French privateers captured in 1758 soon after the outbreak of the Seven Years War.

In 1720, 21 pirates from the Caribbean held in the vaults after being captured off Argyll. Most were hanged below the high water mark off Leith.

One desperate prisoner hid in a dung barrow, only to be dashed to pieces when it was tipped over the castle wall.


The entrance to the Prisons of War is located within Dury’s Battery. This is at the top of the hill, past the Royal Scots Museum and through the set of gates directly ahead.