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Thirlestane Castle


Guided Tours of the castle can be booked via the Thirlestane castle website.

The original Thirlestane Castle was first built in the 13th century, then rebuilt byJohn Maitland in 1590. It is still home to 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 uppermost floors of the castle are closed off as they are in need of restoration.

One of the most striking features of Thirlestane Castle is 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 horsehair, 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.

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 stay in a Scottish Castle, you can rent a luxury suite at Thirlestane. For more details see their website at

Thirlestane Castle also holds many events throughout the year, such as the BVAC Classic car show and outdoor theatre shows by Chapterhouse Theatre Company. For more information on all of their events, please visit their website.


Lauder, Berwickshire, TD2 6RU, 01578 722430

Operated by:

Thirlestane Castle Trust

Opening Hours:

During 2024 - Guided tours of the castle take place from May to September. Tours need to be arranged by appointment via the website
The Grounds can be accessed from May-October, Tuesday-Sunday between 10 am - 3.30 pm. Tickets for the castle grounds can be bought from the kiosk on the main Castle entrance drive.


Enquire via the website:




English speaking guides, information sheets in French, Italian, Japanese, German and Dutch.


Not very practical. Thirlestane is an old Castle and the tour visits 3 floors via numerous stairs.






There is no tearoom at the castle.

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