Dirleton Castle is based in the pretty village of Dirleton near North Berwick. It has beautiful gardens, with all sorts of different trees and flowers. Dirleton Castle is also very much your storybook castle with its wooden bridge allowing you in, and it comes complete with its very own ‘murder hole’ – see if you can spot it! Dirleton Castle feels like both a fortress and a family home at the same time. It’s a great site for families to visit, with plenty of space to have picnics – but if you don’t manage to bring a picnic, there are places in Dirleton to eat.
Tantallon Castle is only six miles away from Dirleton Castle, but it is a very different kind of castle, and it feels almost completely like a fortress with its location on the edge of a cliff. I felt full of awe when I first saw Tantallon Castle – and I couldn’t help but imagine how imposing Tantallon must have looked in its heyday! In earlier years, Tantallon was attacked on multiple occasions until it was finally taken by Cromwellian forces in the 17th century. Tantallon Castle is best visited on a sunny day, when you get a clear view of the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. There are binoculars which you can use to watch gannets as they dive into the water.
Aberdour Castle, situated on the opposite side of the Firth of Forth, is probably one of the prettiest castles I have ever visited, with its very own gardens and 16th century dovecot. It also feels more like a family home, and even has a painted ceiling that’s worth seeing. Once you’ve finished visiting the castle, you can wander into Aberdour itself for something to eat, or head down to the beach – on a clear day you can see Inchcolm Abbey!
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Laura works in the Membership team, and was previously based at Craigmillar Castle. She is fascinated by Scottish history, and especially the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Her must-see sites include Crichton Castle, Linlithgow Palace and Dryburgh Abbey.
View all posts by Laura Brown