Historic Scotland

Opening times

25 March to 30 September: 9.30am to 5.30pm.

1 October to 31 March: 10am to 4pm. Closed Thursday and Friday.

 

Overview

Get a glimpse of late medieval noble life at a unique and charming circular tower dating to the mid 1400s. 

Orchardton Tower is an unusual free-standing round tower, the only one of its type in Scotland. It operated as a fortified residence for a nobleman named John Cairns, who may have acquired the land after James II’s overthrow of the Douglases in 1455. 

Circular towers, or donjons, such as this were integral to 1200s strongholds like Bothwell Castle or Dirleton Castle, but they were replaced by square and rectangular tower houses. At Orchardton, Cairns built himself a round tower 200 years after they’d gone out of fashion.