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Tantallon Castle, Edinburgh and the Lothians

Location: North Berwick, East Lothian, EH39 5PN (map and directions)

In its stunning location opposite the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth, 3 miles east of North Berwick, the 14th century fortress Tantallon Castle was the last medieval curtain wall to be constructed in Scotland. Built by William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, Tantallon was passed to his son, the Earl of Angus and remained in the ownership of the Douglas family throughout much of the castleís history.

Tantallon Castle, Edinburgh & The Lothians copyright Lynne Kirton
Tantallon Castle © Lynne Kirton

History of Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle has seen significant battle action throughout the years, first in 1491 when it was attacked by King James IV, and then by James V in 1528. This action left Tantallon severely damaged. In 1639, the castle again saw action in the First Bishops War, and again by Oliver Cromwell during the invasion of Scotland in 1651. Extensive damage meant that Tantallon Castle was abandoned, and finally Tantallon was sold by the Douglases in 1699.

Ownership of the castle was transfered to state care in 1924 and is now in the care of Historic Scotland.

Legend has it that Tantallon Castle may have been origin of King Arthurís Camelot. A more recent legend comes from a supposed ghost-spotting in 2009, when a photographer apparently caught a ghost in period costume peeking out of a barred window.

Map and directions

Tantallon is open daily to the public year round.

View Tantallon Castle in a larger map

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