A formal designed landscape was laid out following the construction of Craigiehall to the design of Sir William Bruce in 1699. Alexander McGill is recorded as being involved in the construction of the walled garden in 1708.
Landscape improvements were made by the Hon Charles Hope Vere between 1755- 1791 on his return from a Grand Tour of Italy and further improvements were made by William Edward Hope Vere in the mid-19th century. There are no known designers.
The earliest mention of Craigiehall dates from the time of King David I (1124- 53) when the lands were held by John de Craigie. A descendant of the family, Margaret Craigie, inherited the lands in the 14th century and, in 1387, married Robert Stewart of Dirisdeer. The Stewart family were subsequently lairds of Craigiehall until 1643 when the estate was sold to John Fairholm whose grand- daughter, Sophia, married William Johnstone, the 3rd Earl of Annandale, in 1682.
The Craigiehall estates were added to the Dumfriesshire lands of the Johnstone family. The Earl pursued a political career and Craigiehall became their Edinburgh home. Several notable architects of the time were consulted but, eventually, Sir William Bruce was commissioned to build a new house at the same time that neighbouring Hopetoun House was being built. The new Craigiehall was completed in 1699. The title of 1st Marquis of Annandale was conferred on the Earl in 1701 and, in the following years, he was created Knight of the Thistle and became Lord Privy Seal for Scotland and President of the Privy Council in Scotland. A formal landscape was laid out following the construction of the house.
The estate was passed in 1715 to their son, James Johnstone, who succeeded as 2nd Marquis in 1721. His sister Henrietta, married Charles Hope, who later became 1st Earl of Hopetoun. The 2nd Marquis commissioned William Adam to prepare drawings for alterations to the house in 1730 but they were not carried out. In fact, the 2nd Marquis died unmarried in that year, and the estates and title of 3rd Marquis fell to his half-brother, George Johnstone. He was thought to be of unsound mind and the management of this estate was controlled by the Hope family of Hopetoun until Henrietta's second son, the Honourable Charles Hope, inherited in 1741, by which time his elder brother was the 2nd Earl of Hopetoun.
In 1733, Charles Hope had married Catherine Weir, heiress of Blackwood House, Lanarkshire, and assumed the name of Hope Weir, which later became Hope Vere. With his son, he travelled to Europe on a Grand Tour accompanied by the young Robert Adam. On his return, in 1755, Charles Hope Vere proceeded to embellish the landscape at Craigiehall inspired by his travels; thus, the Temple or Belvedere was built, the Deer Park was laid out, and various ornamental features were added to the landscape of the River Almond.
Charles Hope Vere died in 1791. His son William inherited and was succeeded by his son, James Joseph, in 1811. He married Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of the 7th Marquis of Tweeddale, and they commissioned William Burn to make some alterations to the house.
James Hope Vere died in 1843 and was succeeded by his son, William Edward, who married Lady Emily Boyle in 1852. They commissioned David Bryce to extend the house and to build the stables and other ancillary buildings to the north of the house. Their son, Colonel James Charles Hope Vere, inherited the estate in 1872 and it was through him that it was sold, in 1916, to the 5th Earl of Rosebery of the neighbouring estate of Dalmeny.
Craigiehall was purchased for Lord Rosebery's 2nd son, the Rt Hon Neil James Archibald Primrose MC MA JP and his wife, Lady Victoria Stanley. He was killed in 1917 on active service in World War I and left no male heir. Craigiehall was left empty for some years before being let on a long-term lease whilst the surrounding farmland was retained under Dalmeny Estate management.
Craigiehall was leased for the first time in 1926 to James Morton, a wealthy textile merchant, for a 21 year period. By then, the house had lain empty for more than ten years and extensive renovations were carried out. Sir Robert Lorimer was commissioned for work to the house, and a water-turbine was built beneath the Grotto to provide electricity to the house and stables, which were renovated as accommodation for Morton's textile workers; a craft studio was also established.
Despite all the improvements, James Morton terminated the lease on the property after only seven years. The house was re-let by the Earl of Rosebery to E. Thomson & Co, an Edinburgh firm, together with 30 acres of policies. Their lease entitled them to the right to purchase the house and policies at a later date for a static price of #9,000 and to make any alterations to the house. They founded the Riverside Hotel & Country Club at Craigiehall in 1933, the first of its kind in Scotland.
The venture flourished but the War Office ordered the requisition of the house in 1939. Mr Ernest Thomson retained two lodges and one cottage for the gardener of the Walled Garden which, initially, he retained but later abandoned. The Army continued occupation of the house after 1945 and, in 1951, purchased it from Mr Thomson. One year later, a further 47.5 acres of land was sold by Lord Rosebery to the War Department which included the Walled Garden, the Games Fields in the former parkland, and what is now the Parade Ground. Dalmeny Estate retained the right of access through the grounds for estate management purposes. New officers' quarters were built in the east park and Craigiehall Barracks were opened in 1955.
In 1966 the Scottish Command Headquarters of the Army was established at Craigiehall and many new residential and social facilities were built in the grounds. The Dalmeny Estate retains the remainder of the policies.
Surrounding land uses have imposed changes to the designed landscape at Craigiehall; improvements to the A90 on the eastern boundary in the late 1960s resulted in the loss of the East Lodge and, by way of compensation, the lodge on the north drive was built. In the mid 1970s, the British Airports Authority required that the oak avenue between Craigiehall Bridge and the Temple be removed, and also the top second storey of the Temple itself, as they were thought to be a danger to planes approaching or taking off from the airport. The effect of reducing the height of the Temple was a reduction in the most scenically significant component of the policies in the surrounding landscape. To compensate the loss of the Temple's structure, the BAA funded the repair of the lower apartment of the building and added a metal door to the entrance to prevent vandals entering. This latter defence has since been broken down and the building has been subjected to vandalism.