History and Heritage

North Berwick is surrounded on the east, west and south by the magnificent medieval ruins of Tantallon Castle, Dirleton Castle and Hailes Castle.

The formidable Tantallon Castle, in its stunning cliff top location overlooking the Firth of Forth and offers unique views of the Bass Rock.  Tantallon was the seat of the Douglas family and served as a noble fortification for more than three centuries.  It endured three sieges!

The picturesque Dirleton Castle is a fine example of a fortified medieval residence in the beautiful village of Dirleton.  Within its walls are colourful gardens including the world’s largest herbaceous border.  It was badly damaged during Cromwell’s siege of 1650, but its fortunes revived in the 1660s when the Nisbet family built a new mansion close to the picturesque ruins.

Hailes Castle is a stunningly sited ruin incorporating a fortified manor from the thirteenth century which was subsequently extended in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The ruins contain two vaulted pit-prisons.

Slightly further afield lies The Chestes Hill Fort, one of the best preserved examples of an Iron Age fort with its elaborate system of ramparts and ditches.

The origins of Scotland’s national flag, The Saltire has a close connection with Athelstaneford, a small village lying approximately five miles south of North Berwick.  Tradition has it that the Saltire pattern appeared in the sky above a battle fought close by Athelstaneford.  The Saltire Memorial Centre is well worth a visit

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