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Thirlestane Castle

Find Scotland Tours that feature Thirlestane Castle.

Address: Lauder, Berwickshire, TD2 6RU, 01578 722430
Operated by: Thirlestane Castle Trust
Opening Hours:

From 28th April to 3rd October open Sundays to Thursdays: 10am to 4pm  

Admission: Castle & Grounds £ 9.50 Adult, £ 8.50 Senior, £ 5 Child, £ 25 Family 
Parking: Yes
Languages: English speaking guides, information sheets in French, Italian, Japanese, German and Dutch.
Accessibility: Not very practical. Thirlestane is an old Castle and the tour visits 3 floors via numerous stairs.
Toilets: Yes
Shop: No
Cafe/Restaurant: Yes, there is a tearoom in the Castle's basement.


Thirlestane Castle was first built in the 13th century, then rebuilt by the Maitland family in 1590. It is still home of the Maitland family, who are the Earls of Lauderdale.

Thirlestane Castle was built in 3 main stages; starting with a defensive stone keep in the 1590's that was then extended with new wings in the 1670's, and a final extension of the wings in the 1840's. 

The tour of Thirlestane Castle takes you through a large portion of the castle and you see most of the rooms in the central stone keep and the south wing. The north wing is still the private residence of the Maitland family and the upper most floors of the castle are closed off as they are in need of restoration.

One of the most striking features of Thirlestane Castle are the plasterwork ceilings. You would anticipate elaborate plasterwork in a grand house like Thirlestane, but the ceilings really are incredible works of art with finely crafted garlands of flowers and feathered eagles. The plasterwork is all the more impressive when you learn that it is made from horse hair, egg white and lime!

A tour of the castle includes some very grand rooms filled with Family paintings and antique furniture. After viewing the luxurious rooms used by the Earls of Lauderdale, you experience the less formal side of the castle by visiting the kitchens, laundry room and the nursery, where children are free to dress up in period clothes and play with Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian toys.

Thirlestane Castle also houses a small museum about Border Country Life. The museum is housed in the vaulted chambers below the south wing and it features a series of exhibits covering many different themes of rural life in this area.

Tickets are also available for visitors who just wish to see the castle grounds, and you may choose to do this for a picnic as outdoor tables and a small playground are provided.  And, if you want to a stay in a Scottish Castle, you can rent a luxury suite at Thirlestane. For more details see their website at

Thirlestane Castle entrance Thirlestane Castle front Thirlestane Castle grounds

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