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Explore Tantallon Castle

Near the town of Berwick, located in East Lothian, is one of the most popular attractions in Scotland. Its intimidating curtain wall and fascinating history has made Tantallon Castle an extremely noteworthy site. With Bass Rock as a backdrop and the sea as its surrounding landscape, Tantallon Castle is a site of awe and wonder, serving its past owners well as a strong and reliable fortification. It once belonged to a powerful family, but now stands as a reminder of the history of Scotland.

In 1358 William Douglas became the Earl of Douglas, which he ensured by murdering his godfather to become the House of Douglas’ undisputed leader. He had returned to Scotland in the year 1346 to claim inheritance, and during the fourteenth century, he commissioned the construction of Tantallon Castle. Enduring three sieges in the space of three centuries proved that Tantallon Castle was a force to be reckoned with, and it managed to remain standing up to today. Throughout these sieges, the castle did take some damage. By the time it fell into the possession of James Douglas, he was forced to sell the ruins of the Tantallon Castle to Sir Hew Dalrymple in 1699 so as settle his father’s debts. The castle is now listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and falls under the supervision of Historic Scotland.

Visitors to Tantallon Castle will still be able to view the magnificent curtain wall that protected the castle and which formed part of the singular construction of the castle. There are courtyards within the walls, large towers and a fortified gatehouse ensured the safety of the inner parts of the castle. The Douglas Tower, which stands seven storeys in height, was the private accommodation of the owners, although it has collapsed on the one side. At the very bottom of the tower was the pit prison, which was made up of square chambers with wooden floors. The buildings to the north of the curtain wall completed the castle. When added together, the castle provided twelve thousand square feet of accommodation in its prime. Gun ports can still be viewed at the castle, as well as replicas of the guns used at the castle. The ruins of the defensive barbican are also still available for viewing. While walking through the castle and the structures that have survived for centuries, visitors will be able to envision the splendor and intimidating shadow it once cast. And as with most castles, there are still the rumors of a few ghosts roaming the building, with the latest photograph of a visible figure being released in 2009.


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