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© 2019 Nicolson Tours. All rights reserved.

Three Historic Scottish Castles and a Pub in a Day from Edinburgh

1 day

Visit breathtaking and historic castles that played an important part in Scottish history before exploring North Berwick and enjoying a dram in a traditional Scottish pub.

What's Included?

Private transfer

Travel in the luxury and comfort of our Land Rover Discovery 4x4 dedicated solely to you for the duration of your trip

Experienced Scottish guide by your side

Discover Scotland with an experienced Scottish guide by your side

Customizable

All itineraries can be modified to meet your needs

Overview

We understand that when you visit Scotland you want to see as much as you can in the valuable time that you have.

On this relaxing 1-day historic castle tour, with the opportunity for a pub lunch. We will show you as much as possible whilst allowing you to actually take your time, breath and really explore castles at your pace.

We will transport you to scenic North Berwick for some fun, where you can explore and feel the history of Scotland on your castles tour.

If this has whet your appetite, then we invite you to read on.

Itinerary

This itinerary lets you experience this beautiful area of Scotland. It can be readily altered on the day if you wish, time-permitting. There will be stops along the way, where and when you wish, throughout the day.

Leaving the vibrant city of Edinburgh behind, we head for the coast and Scottish countryside. On your fantastic full day tour, we will visit and explore three historic castles and have lunch and a pint in a cosy Scottish pub and maybe do a bit of shopping in the beautiful seaside town of North Berwick.

As this is all so close to Edinburgh you won’t be stuck in the car all day but will have plenty of opportunity to get out and explore.

We begin with one of the last surviving castle ruins from the 1200s, Hailes Castle on the bank of the River Tyne. Its chosen site is rather surprising as it is overlooked by high ground which would have made it difficult to defend.

Hailes Castle’s main claim to fame is James Hepburn, 4th earl of Bothwell was probably born at Hailes Castle in 1535. He’s most famous for becoming the third husband of Mary Queen of Scots. Bothwell and Mary stayed at Hailes Castle on their way from Dunbar to their wedding at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on May 5, 1567.

From here we head to the coast and the stronghold that is Tantallon Castle. Perched on the clifftop, you can climb to top of the battlements of the last of the grand medieval castles and marvel at its sheer scale. Built in the 1300s it suffered many sieges throughout its history: James IV in 1491, James V in 1528 and Oliver Cromwell in 1651.

Cromwell’s army caused such destruction that the medieval fortress was abandoned after this last attack. If you have a head for heights, climb the winding stone stair case and enjoy views across the Firth of Forth to the Kingdom of Fife, and of Bass Rock which served as a Holy Sanctuary in the 700’s, then in the 1500’s as a garrison of about 100 soldiers, there to defend the rock and surviving on fish caught by gannets and by burning birds’ nests for warmth. What a harsh existence. Then in the 1600’s it became a state prison. Finally, from 1902 it provided a light in the dark in the form of a manually lit lighthouse, until 1988 when the light became automated. Today it provides home to the largest gannet colony in the world.

Depending on time and where about we are when you are ready for lunch, we’ll take you to for a good pub lunch either in a village setting or into the picturesque town of North Berwick.

Wherever we decide to eat, you may enjoy a wander around North Berwick, with its two sandy beaches, an array of select individual shops, selling tasteful gifts, antiques, artisan foods and local art works, and even its own extinct volcano known as the North Berwick Law. If you are interested in wildlife, the Scottish Seabird centre, situated in the harbour is well worth a visit.

Your final castle of the day, Dirleton Castle which is a one of Scotland’s oldest surviving strongholds. This magnificent fortress–residence served three successive noble families over 400 years. Badly damaged in Cromwell’s 1650 siege, Dirleton’s fortunes were revived by its new owners in the 1660s.

The impressive cluster of towers dating from the 1200s is among the oldest castle architecture surviving in Scotland. 

After an amazing day of living the ancient history of Scotland through its historic castles, we will return you at the end of your day to your accommodation in Edinburgh.