Blackness Castle is now home to a world of LEGO in the form of Brick City
You won't have to join the jet-set or board a cruise liner to see the world this winter.
For the cities of the world are right on your doorstep and all under one roof.
Sounds improbable? Maybe, but it’s certainly not impossible as a visit to Blackness Castle will prove.
For the historic royal building is playing host to a unique exhibition containing thousands of wee bricks which fans of all ages adore.
Taking up three rooms on the first floor, the LEGO exhibition Brick City was unveiled at the castle on Wednesday, November 21.
And visitors to the tourist attraction will be able to tour the world in miniature until March 24 next year.
The exhibition has already attracted a huge amount of interest.
In its first weekend, which coincided with Historic Scotland’s free ticket event, more than 1000 people visited.
Graeme Sinclair, the monument manager, said: “It was a pretty miserable weekend, weather wise, but more than 500 people turned up on the Saturday and just under 600 on the Sunday.
“It was an exceptional weekend, bolstered, no doubt, by the chance to see the Brick City exhibition.”
Blackness Castle is just the latest stop for the touring exhibition, created by acclaimed LEGO artist Warren Elsmore and his talented team of designers.
But it’s a first for the castle in terms of exhibitions.
Graeme said: “We hold events here regularly but it’s the first time we’ve staged an exhibition of this kind.
“The rooms offer a blank canvas so lend themselves to it beautifully; it would be fantastic to see them utilised in this way in future.
“It’s lovely to see the rooms lit up at this time of year, giving visitors of all ages an additional extra when they visit.
“The displays are incredible and are well suited to wee ones, with the information boards at a perfect height for them.
“As well as marvelling at the LEGO figures, there’s an educational side too as each of the models has a board telling people more about the place depicted or about the model’s construction.”
LEGO fans will no doubt love the creative displays which include the Rio Carnival and statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain in Rome, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Georgian tenements in Edinburgh and Will and Kate kissing on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
However, the castle is a marvel in its own right with almost 600 years of history to explore.
The Central Tower, its original heart, was built for Sir George Crichton in the 1440s.
James II took the castle into crown ownership just a few years later and it has undergone many alterations since, most radically in the mid-16th century when its walls were heightened and almost quadrupled.
Over the centuries, it has been used as a garrison, fortress and state prison.
Now, it is admired by visitors from around the globe thanks, in no small measure, to Outlander.
Fans regularly flock to the castle courtyard to see where Jamie Fraser was flogged by Black Jack Randall.
While the castle, known as the ship that never sailed due to its distinctive shape, may only have appeared in the first two seasons of the hit show, it’s had a dramatic effect on visitor figures.
And for the first time this winter the attraction will be open seven days a week to cope with demand.
Brick City is perfectly timed to coincide with the additional opening hours.
Graeme said: “Our numbers have quadrupled since the Outlander filming in 2014 and there is no sign of it abating, with tour buses regularly dropping in.
“The courtyard and buildings were used for Jamie’s flogging scene and when he rescued Claire.
“People have come from all over the world to visit the castle as a result – it’s been incredibly good for us.”
Graeme, who lives in Torphichen, worked for three years at Cairnpapple before taking up his current post and has been on hand to watch the attraction thrive.
An acclaimed piper, he’s also more than happy to play a tune for tourists.
He added: “A number of tour guides have asked me to play for their guests – it gives them an extra special Scottish welcome.”
Brick City is on display at Blackness Castle until Sunday, March 24, 2019.
Entry is included in the normal admission price – £6 for adults, £4.80 for seniors and £3.60 for children.
Please note, the exhibition is accessed via a stone staircase which is not suitable for those with mobility issues.