Tantallon Castle is situated 31 miles
east of Edinburgh, 3 miles east of
Tantallon Castle is open 1st Apr to 30
Sept: 9.30am to 5.30pm with the last
entry 5pm. 1 Oct to 31 Mar: 10am to 4pm
with the last entry 3.30pm. There is a
small entrance fee. Postcode: EH39
See also a large Click On
Map for the area Top Attractions.
Tantallon Castle was built from the 1300s
for William Douglas, with that Clan becoming
one of the most powerfull in Scotland, with
some married into Royalty, leading to
accusations they has desires to become Kings of
You can explore the Castle and Dovecot where
they kept Doves for eggs and food. The views
from the top of the Castle are amazing, along
the coast and out to Bass Rock.
Tantallon Castle History
1300s early - Sir James Douglas
was a Scottish Knight that helped Robert the
Bruce become King of Scotland during the First
War of Scottish Independence. James Douglas was
awarded land in the area of Tantallon for his
1346 - William Douglas, nephew Sir James
Douglas, returned from France to claim his
inheritance as chief of the Douglas family in
the Tantallon area.
1350 - William Douglas was created Earl of
Douglas, with the earliest parts of Tantallon
Castle built around that time as a show of
strength. This line of the family were knows as
the Red Douglas.
1369 - Archibald the Grim became head of the
Douglas line in southwest Scotland, Lord of
Galloway, known as the Black Douglas, with his
main Castle being Threave Castle by Castle
1397 - George Douglas of Tantallon Castle
married Princess Mary Stewart, daughter of King
1426 - The Black and Red Douglas families
1455 - the Douglas of Tantallon led a Royal
force that defeated the Black Douglas at the
1482 - the Douglas of Tantallon began
feuding against the Royals.
1490 - Angus Douglas joined Henry VII of
England in an attempt to overthrow James IV of
1491 - Tantallon Castle was besieged by
James IV, with guns from Edinburgh used to
force Angus to give up the Castle.
1493 - Angus was created Chancellor of
Scotland, leading to him regaining
1514 - Archibald Douglas married James IV's
widow Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII.
Margaret was at that time ruling Scotland for
her infant son James V. Archibald kept the
young King at Tantallon for a number of
1528 - the sixteen-year-old James V escaped,
gathered his forces, then laid siege to
Tantallon Castle with guns from Dunbar
1529 - Tantallon Castle was surrendered to
the King, with it then being used as a Royal
1542 - the death of James V led to Tantallon
Castle being returned to Angus.
1542 - Angus was working with Henry VIII to
try to negotiate a marriage between the infant
Mary, Queen of Scots, and the son of Henry,
Prince Edward. Mary was moved to France around
that time for her safety.
1544 - Angus was imprisoned at Blackness
Castle by Edinburgh for supporting the
English. He later changed sides to support the
1557 - Angus died at Tantallon, leading to
the castle being seized by the mother of Mary
Queen of Scots, Mary of Guise.
1561 - Mary Queen of Scots returned from
France to rule Scotland.
1566 - Mary Queen of Scots visited Tantallon
1600s - the English Civil War spread into
Scotland after many Scots supported the Stuart
Kings. This war escalated into wars over
Religion between Catholics and Protestants, and
different forms of Protestantism.
The Douglas of Tantallon had remained
Catholic, leading to a number of attacks by
Covenanters and the Parliamentarian forces of
1651 - only 91 men at Tantallon held out
against 2,000 men of Oliver Cromwell's army for
12 days, until they were forced to surrender
after cannon partially destroyed the Douglas
Tower. After this siege, Tantallon was left in
ruins, never to be repaired or inhabited
1699 - the ruins of Tantallon Castle were
sold to Sir Hew Dalrymple, owner of the Barony
of North Berwick, Bass Rock, and Fidra
Dalrymple allowed some of the stone from
Tantallon to be taken for other buildings in
1808 - Sir Walter Scott's poem Marmion
contains much reference to Tantallon
1800s late - the Dalrymple's began some
1924 - Tantallon Castle was handed over to
the Government by Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple.
It is now run by Historic Environment Scotland
as a tourist attraction.