Loch Leven Castle is located on an island towards the western margin of the loch and it is most famous as the prison of Mary, Queen of Scots, (1542-87) between the Summer of 1567, following her surrender at Carberry Hill to her half-brother James Douglas (c.1516-81), the 4th Earl of Morton, and the Spring of 1568, when she escaped. Shortly after being imprisoned, Mary was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son James VI (1566 - 1625) and Morton became Regent. Her gaoler was Sir William Douglas, who later became the 5th Earl of Morton. However, it was Sir William's younger son who arranged her escape having fallen for the Queen.
The castle was probably constructed in the 13th C., survived various sieges by the English during the 14th Century and was granted to the Douglas family in 1372 by King Robert II (1316-90). The square keep dates from the 15th Century In 1675 the Castle was bought from the indigent Douglases, along with a sizeable estate, by Sir William Bruce (1630 - 1710) who proceeded to build Kinross House, a fine Palladian mansion, overlooking the loch and the castle.
Loch Leven Castle has been a ruin since the 18th C, but can be reached by ferry from Kinross during the summer months.