One of Scotland’s most photogenic and spectacular ruins, Tantallon Castle boasts a fiery history and a dramatic setting on the edge of the East Lothian coastline. Having seen more than its share of sieges, it goes down as the last of the grand medieval castles and was the centre of the Red Douglas dynasty.
A relatively remote 14th Century structure, Tantallon passed between Scots and English occupation over the centuries. This was primarily due to the Douglases’ allegiances alternating between the Crowns. Sieges occurred under James IV and V as well as the decisive attack in 1651 by Oliver Cromwell’s forces that it was never to recover from. In the case of the latter, 91 men held out against a besieging force of over 2000 troops - with heavy artillery - for 12 days before eventually being forced into surrender. Such was the formidable nature of Tantallon as a fortress.
Today, the precarious ruins spread over multiple levels and, with screeching seabirds and a fierce coastal wind to content with, visitors are presented with a truly incredible atmosphere. Brave the dingy dungeons, hold onto your hat on the battlements and imagine life and conflict within these great stone walls.
Tantallon is also a favourite for photographers – with its simmering sandstone and stunning views over the Firth of Forth and across to the Bass Rock off Scotland’s east coast. Whether viewed from within the ruins themselves or from below the steep, craggy cliffs that hold the ruin in place, its status as one of the most visually impressive ruins in the UK is well-earned.
Tantallon Castle can be found along the coast and to the east of North Berwick and is open year-round to visitors. Please visit our website for opening times, access information and prices.