Historic Scotland
Buy tickets

Opening times

1 April to 30 September:
Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm

1 October to 31 March:
Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm




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 Nisbet family built a new mansion house nearby to live in and made the picturesque castle ruins the central feature in their new designed landscape. They also breathed new life into the splendid gardens, now home to the world’s longest herbaceous border.

What to see and do

  • Admire some of the oldest castle architecture surviving in Scotland – the de Vaux towers, built around 1240
  • See the grim pit prison, pretty chapel and cavernous storage vaults in the Haliburton range
  • Lose yourself in the enchanting gardens dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s, which vie with the castle for attention
  • Seek out the dovecot – one of Scotland’s best-preserved pigeon houses, with more than 1,000 nesting boxes
Buy tickets