Tantallon is located in a truly stupendous location, over looking steep cliffs and the sea. Originally dating to the 14th century, this vast castle with its thick and high stone walls, courtyards and stone towers has seen a turbulent history. It was also associated with many important historical figures, Mary Queen of Scots being just one of them. There is a lot to see and explore here, including the dovecot and immediate grounds.
Tantallon Castle was built in the 1350s by William Douglas (whose uncle was a close friend of King Robert Bruce). In the 1380s the Douglas family split into two branches, the ‘Red Douglases’ (Earls of Angus) and the ‘Black Douglases’. For the next 300 years, the Red Douglases lived at Tantallon Castle as one of the most powerful baronial families in Scotland.
During the late 15th and early 16th century the castle saw three great sieges. The last in 1651 by Oliver Cromwell’s army, destroyed the castle.
The castle was constructed in an age before guns and canons. The high, thick walls were built to withstand assault from weapons such as arrows, battering rams and stone throwing machines. When the gun was invented, modifications to the castle had to be made.
This site is managed by Historic Scotland. More information about this site can be found at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
Directions: Tantallon is located on the eastern side of East Lothian between Dunbar and North Berwick. Follow the signs from the A1 and A119. Go to www.historic-scotland.gov.uk for more information on this property.
Additional Information: Admission charges. Seasonal opening hours. Car Park. Visitor Centre.