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Lighting the Borders

Lighting the Borders

Thirlestane Castle is pleased to be part of the 2017 Scottish Borders Heritage Festival. Now in its 9th year, it's the biggest festival yet with unique and special events across the area. 

The castle is taking part in the opening event “Lighting the Borders” which has been designated a signature event for the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017. “Lighting the Borders” will illuminate over 25 historic locations with story, song and light from 1st -3rd September. 

Thirlestane Castle will be turning a shade of blue every night that weekend from 9pm and you should be able to see it shine through the trees as you pass through Lauder.

We are aso hosting a special evening as part of this opening event called 'Thirlestane Castle and The Man Who Ruled Scotland'. You can take an exclusive guided tour around the beautiful castle to marvel at the state rooms and family collections before a lecture on the Duke of Lauderdale, Secretary of State to Scotland.

John Maitland, 2nd Earl of Lauderdale, was one of the most important and controversial Scottish figures of the late 17th century. As a leading royalist, he was a confidant of King Charles II and spent nine years in the Tower of London under sentence of death. After the Restoration, he was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland. As such, he was virtually the uncrowned King of Scotland, and wielded unrivalled power and influence.

On his second marriage to the Countess of Dysart, he was created Duke of Lauderdale and began transforming Thirlestane Castle into a fitting palace from which to direct the affairs of Scotland. He employed Sir William Bruce to undertake the remodelling of the Castle. Bringing Renaissance influences to the Scottish Baronial style, he introduced the two front towers and the grand staircase and oversaw the transformation of the interior, the most remarkable feature of which is the rich plasterwork of the State Rooms.

Come along to learn more about the Duke's important place in the history of Scotland while enjoying a glass of wine as his impressive portrait towers over you. 

Entry: £12 including a glass of wine.

Places must be booked in advance by calling 01578 722430, emailing or going to