A few travel tips for a visit to Lauderdale.

Thirlestane Castle is the prime Maitland building in Scotland, but not the only one, and there are several other places to visit nearby.

Thirlestane Castle

First, of course, tour the castle and its grounds. We won’t repeat the guidebook here.  See the section on Thirlestane.  Thirlestane is built on Castle Hill, above the River Leader, which was fortified by the forces of King Edward I of England during his invasion of Scotland in the period 1296 -1305. The fortifications are thought to have been little more than earthworks and low ramparts.

The castle we see today is that built by John Maitland, First Lord Thirlestane and Chancellor of Scotland from 1590, extended in the 1670s by the Duke of Lauderdale and again in the 1840s by the Xth Earl.

Old Thirlestane

Old Thirlestane
Old Thirlestane

Before 1590, the Maitlands had lived at Old Thirlestane from around 1250 when Richard Mautalent from Northumberland married Avicia, daughter of Thomas de Thirlestane, and lived in the now ruined peel tower.  This lies about 2 miles south east of Thirlestane just off the A697 road to Duns and Greenlaw opposite Thirlestane Cottages. The records show it was held from Hugh de Morville by Thomas de Thirlestan from around 1150.  See the section on Old Thirlestane.  You can walk across the field to visit the ruin and are permitted to do so by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 which gives everyone rights of access over land.

Crichton Castle in Pathhead, on the way to Edinburgh, has a well preserved peel tower incorporated in the building, so you can get an idea of what old Thirlestane was like when it was occupied. 

Lennoxlove House, Haddington

Maitlands moved to Lethington, now Lennoxlove House, near Haddington between 1300 and 1345 when Robert Maitland received a charter of confirmation of his existing holding of Lethington. This remained the principal residence of the family until the death of the Duke of Lauderdale in 1683. He bequeathed Lethington to his wife so that she could sell it to pay off the mortgages he had arranged on her own home, Ham House near London.   It is well worth a visit. http://www.lennoxlove.com

Lauderdale Aisle, St Mary’s Kirk, Haddington

The Aisle is the former sacristy of the great 15th century parish church, with a splendid monument of the early-17th century, in marble, with fine alabaster effigies of John, 1st Lord Thirlestane and of John, 1st Earl of Lauderdale. It is the burial place of the Duke and of many of the Earls of Lauderdale.


Traquair House, Innerliethen

Maitlands owned Traquair from 1360 to around 1409. It is interesting and a good visit in its own right. An additional interest is that it closely resembles the Thirlestane Castle built in 1590 before the Duke extended it. https://www.traquair.co.uk/

Other local attractions – not Maitland linked

Rosslyn Chapel

The Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, it is a 15th-century chapel located in the village of Roslin, Midlothian. It has extraordinary 15th century carvings and decoration. It also featured in the book "The Da Vinci Code", and can be crowded. https://www.rosslynchapel.com

Glenkinchie Distillery

Our very own local malt whisky distillery, located at Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian, EH34 5ET. Tour the distillery and enjoy a sample.


Lauder Catering

Carfraemill Hotel (three miles north of Lauder)

The restaurant was one of three finalists in the 2017 "Best Informal Eating Experience" at Scotland's Thistle Awards for Lothian and Borders.Traditional Scots cooking, expecially beef and lamb.


Firebrick Brasserie, Lauder

They reached the 2017/2018 National Final of the Visit Scotland, Scottish Thistle Awards as the Lothian & Borders Regional Winner in the ‘Best Restaurant Experience‘ category. http://firebrickbrasserie.co.uk

Flat Cat Gallery and Café, Lauder

Has the best meringues in captivity, and other delicious patisseries.