The Lauderdale Suite

Sleeping 2 people at Thirlestane Castle...

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Thirlestane Castle

Touring The Castle

Thirlestane is Scotland's fairytale castle. The vast splendour of its turreted skyline and its elegant proportions were intended to be seen from the original driveway which ran through the parklands from the west. The rose pink sandstone of the window surrounds and architectural details stand out in sharp contrast to the walls of stone hewn from the Leader Valley behind the castle.

The entrance was designed to make an impact. No-one could ride up to the front door. All had to dismount at the foot of the broad flight of steps leading to the great terrace.

The stone surround to the front door was designed by Sir William Bruce, the architect commissioned by the Duke of Lauderdale to remodel the castle in the 1670s. The stonework bears the entwined initials of the Duke of Lauderdale and his wife, who was the Countess of Dysart in her own right.

Below you can glimpse just some of the many rooms open to visitors at Thirlestane. There's lots more to see when you visit!

-The Entrance Hall

The Entrance Hall

The design of the main Entrance Hall dates from the 1840s' remodelling.

The collection of weapons upon the walls includes a sword dating from 1745. It was excavated from the parklands where Bonnie Prince Charlie's army camped after the Battle of Prestonpans.

Oak panelling and a welcoming blaze in the fireplace would have offered guests a congenial atmosphere in which to remove muddy clothes and boots and take a moment to compose themselves before being ushered in to meet their hosts.

A scale model of the Castle is displayed in the centre of the room.

The Enterance Hall

-The Panelled Room

The Panelled Room

Until the 19th century, this room was used as an anti-chamber to the everyday living quarters. In 1840, the panelling and ceiling were introduced and it became a morning room where the family and guests might pass the time between breakfast and luncheon.

The Panelled Room

-The Billiard Room

The Billiard Room

The game of billiards became extremely popular during the 19th century. Here, the Billiard Room was created from an 18th century drawing room. As a room where men regularly retired after dinner, it has a masculine feel.

It is not too difficult to imagine the congenial atmosphere, the soft lighting of the oil-lamps above the red glow of the fire, the gaselier gently hissing, focusing its light on to the green baize of the table and the blue-grey ribbons of cigar smoke drifting above.

The Billiard Room

-The Duke's Grand Bed Chamber

The Duke's Grand Bed Chamber

This is one of the most impressive rooms in the Castle - and is truly deserving of its name.

The ceilings by Charles II's favourite plasterer, George Dunsterfield, with their great depth and realism, are breathtaking.

Much of the furniture in the Castle today is from the 19th century. The grand bed, on loan from Burghley House, Lincolnshire, dates from about 1860. This is because the earlier contents were removed on the Duke's death in 1682 by his second wife. Duchess Elizabeth despatched fourteen wagon loads to her own family home, Ham House in Richmond, before the people of Lauder grew so incensed that they prevented the last wagon from leaving!

The Duke's Grand Bed Chamber Close up of Bedrooms

-Bonnie Prince Charlie's Room

Bonnie Prince Charlie's Room

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, stayed here in 1745. After victory at the Battle of Prestonpans, he led the clan armies south through Lauder and the troops camped in the Castle Parklands.

The room is furnished as it might have been in the 19th century. The bell pull beside the bed is connected to bells outside the old servants' quarters.

Bonnie Prince Charlie's Bedroom

-The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room

This room was formed during the 1840s by combining the Drawing Room with the 17th century Music Room. It has the richest of all the ceilings, consisting of laurel wreaths with garlands of fruit and flowers at one end and musical instruments picked out in gold at the other.

The dividing arch in this room conceals a secret turnpike staircase leading to the upper floors. Also in this room is a bust of Captain Sir Frederick Maitland, to whom Napoleon surrendered on board HMS Bellerophon after the Battle of Waterloo.

The Drawing Room Close up of Drawing Room

-The Dining Room

The Dining Room

This splendid room is located in the south of the two new wings constructed in 1840.

ominating the room is a comprehensive collection of family portraits. Over the fireplace is a portrait of the Duke of Lauderdale by Sir Peter Lely. The dining chairs were made for the Duchess of Richmond's Ball held in Brussels on the night before the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The ceiling is the work of James Annan.

Dining Room Decoration

-The Nurseries

The Nurseries

The old family nurseries now house a large collection of Edwardian, Victorian and even Georgian toys. Many of these are from Thirlestane, but the majority are from the collection of the late Mrs Marguerite Fawdry, owner of the Pollock's Toy Museum in London. The opportunity to acquire these toys on loan arose in 1986. They help to maintain an interesting balance for visitors to Thirlestane, and are especially appreciated by our younger visitors!

Childrens Nursery Child in Nursery

-The Kitchens

The Kitchens

In 1840, the main Castle Kitchen was incorporated into the new south wing. Previously, the kitchens were located below the main steps at the front of the Castle. With their great cast iron ranges, the kitchens continued in use much as they appear today until the end of World War II, when the Castle housed a girls' school. The Scullery, too, is much as it was.

In its heyday, the Castle burned a ton of coal every day and had a resident staff of forty.

The Laundries

Beyond the kitchens are wet and dry laundries, complete with washtubs, mangles and scrubbing boards.

These have been recreated on a smaller scale than the originals to show how these activities were carried out in the days before washing machines and tumble driers.

Needless to say, the kitchens and laundries are a great favourite with our visitors - young and old alike!

Kitchens Cooking

Thirlestane Castle The Duke's Grand Bed Chamber

Dating back to the 13th Century...