Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle is only a few miles from our home in North Berwick. You can even see North Berwick Law from it.

It was the headquarters of the Douglas family. William Duke of Douglas built the castle in the 1350s and they remained occupants until the 16th century when Archibald Douglas was charged with treason. It then passed to the Earldom of Angus.

The outer gate used to have double wooden doors which by the 1500s was the main route into the castle

and the Tower built in 1520s.  

Tantallon was besieged three times:

  • By James IV in 1491
  • James V in 1528
  • Oliver Cromwell in 1651 who also captured nearby Dirleton Castle as well.

The castle was abandoned after this last attack. The Dalrymples bought it as a romantic ruin in 1699. It was taken over by the ministry of works in 1924. The castle is now under the care of Historic Scotland. At the moment access is only to the outside grounds. During the pandemic a backlog of safety inspections and work compiled and is now being carried out. Until this is complete there is not access to the inside of many buildings. We wandered around the outside which gives views to the bays on either side and to the Bass Rock.

The Doocot sits in the grounds and used to house thousands of pigeons to provide meat and eggs to the residents. The birds entered via the roof and the door was kept locked to prevent poachers gaining access.

The grounds are spacious

and there are picnic tables near the entrance. It is only a short distance from the Drift Cafe as well.

RHS Garden Bridgewater

I have been a member of the Royal Horticultural Society for many years and visit their gardens if I am in the vicinity. The newest is RHS Bridgewater in Worsley, Salford, Manchester. We stopped off on our last trip down south. You do have to book visits but the booking lasts for the whole day and you can arrive whenever you want and stay for as long as you like. We arrived mid-morning in July.

The historic 154-acre Worsley New Hall estate was turned into the RHS Bridgewater Garden to improve and enrich Salford’s communities and environment. Worsley New Hall, in its formal landscaped gardens, was a notable residence in the 19th century. It was built for the 1st Earl of Ellesmere between 1840 and 1845, designed by the architect Edward Blore – whose speciality was Tudor and Elizabethan-style architecture, and whose reputation was for completing projects on time and to budget. This project cost just under £100,000 to build, which is the equivalent of around £6.7 million today. The estate sat northwest of the current garden.

Worsley New Hall was a British Red Cross Hospital during the First World War and afterwards the house and garden declined. In the Second World War parts of the hall were requisitioned by the War Office and its gardens used as training grounds by the Lancashire Fusiliers. In the 20th century, a fire and dry rot led to the hall falling into disrepair. In 1943 a scrap merchant bought it for £2,500. Subsequently, the grounds were used as a garden centre, a Scout camp and a rifle range. There are still some old buildings in the garden.

We began by walking around the walled gardens after passing the learning centres on the way.  Weston Walled Garden is divided into two: the Kitchen Garden

and the Paradise Garden.

I enjoyed photographing some flowers.

North of the walled gardens are two glasshouses, one devoted to fruits

and one to Mediterranean plants.

There is a pollinator meadow

and Moon Bridge Water.

The Chinese Streamside Garden is under construction and should be completed in three years.

The garden is surrounded by a forest with an arboretum to be developed in future.

There is also a lake which will have future development. I will definitely return in a different season.