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Hailes Castle


Despite being one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland, Hailes Castle is not the most interesting of ruins to visit. However, it does enjoy a lovely location surrounded by a cluster of trees and sitting above the banks of the river Tyne.

The castle has some very old sections that are believed to date from the 1200's. The castle has a brief association with Mary Queen of Scots as she and James Hepburn (4th Earl of Bothwell and her third husband) stayed here on the 5/6 May 1567.

You approach Hailes Castle from the south side which would originally have been defended by a moat and an outer wall. This approach is not the best angle to view the castle from, as it is far more impressive and complete looking when viewed from the banks of the River Tyne on the north side.

Features of interest within the castle are the vaulted roof kitchens, the multiple nesting boxes for birds in the "Doocot" and the 2 pit dungeons. However, you can't see much of the pit prisons as they are too dark and the entrances are covered by thick metal grates.

Finding Hailes Castle is not very easy. From East Linton take the A199 towards Haddington. After signs to the Museum of Flags at Athelstaneford, you pass a brown signpost to Hailes Castle. Turn left off the A199 and follow the road to a T junction. Turn left at the T junction and follow the road until you come to a long straight stretch. The road to Hailes Castle is on your left just before the straight section of road that heads towards the hill of Traprain Law.

This is a castle that we would recommend as a place for a picnic, but it is not the most interesting castle you can find around Edinburgh. Consider Craigmillar, Dirleton, or Tantallon instead.


1.5m SW of East Linton

Operated by:

Historic Environment Scotland

Opening Hours:

Unattended and always open to public






Information boards in English only


No, uneven path and steps lead to castle







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