top of page

Haddington Attractions

East Lothian

Haddington was a important town and over the years has been burnt down and flooded on more than one occasion. Haddington originally was in Northumbria up until circa 900 AD when the border between Scotland and England was moved to bring it into Scotland.

Scotland England Borders Now and before 1018 AD

St Martin’s Kirk in the Nungate was built 1178 which is now the oldest standing building in Haddington. The once Palace of Haddington was abandoned in 1216 when Haddington was burnt by the English invaders. In 1198  King Alexander II of Scotland was born in Haddington. John Knox Protestant reformer was born in Haddington or nearby circa 1510. 

St Martin's Kirk Ruins Haddington East Lothian

Haddington’s new Town Hall was built in 1748 and in 1817 the Waterloo Bridge near the Poldrate Mill was opened. 

In 1846 Haddington’s railway station opens to the public. linking with Edinburgh and closed in 1949.

The twin steel arched Victoria Bridge was built in 1898 and the largest hoard of Roman artefacts (outside Rome) were found on nearby Traprain Hill in 1919 and can be seen in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. 

In 1965 Haddington was twinned with Aubigny sur Nère in France. 


St Martins Kirk 


East Lothian

St Martin’s Kirk was built in 1178. It belonged to the Cistercian Nunnery of St Mary’s which was situated about one mile to the east of this site. The church was probably used by both nuns and the people of Haddington. Originally consisting of a nave and chancel at the east end. Only nave now remains. In the thirteenth century the six buttresses were added to the outer walls to take the weight of a new barrel vault. The area above the vault provided a second storey.

The purpose of the square holes in the walls is unclear. Although it is possible that they were used for scaffolding

(or the struts that held the upper floor up). Some Time after the reformation the church fell out of use and it is thought, although no visible sign exists. The area surrounding it was used for burials until the nineteenth century.  

St Martin's Kirk Haddington East Lothian
St Martin's Kirk Plaque Haddington East Lothian
St Martin's Kirk Haddington East Lothian

Poldrate Mill



Poldrate Mill in Haddington is a modern mill built 1842 (Poldrate the area) on the site of the medieval Kirk Mill circa 1530 known as the east mill, situated near the Tyne River at the Waterloo Bridge.

Poldrate Mill Haddington East Lothian

Nungate Bridge 


The first bridge built over the River Tyne in Haddington was in 1282. The Nungate Bridge is built on the same site built circa 1560 after the previous bridge was bombarded in the siege in 1548 when most of Haddington burned.

The Nungate bridge as its predecessor was the main route from the south into Haddington (now a foot bridge). The bridge was a place many criminals were shacked to with jougs’ iron manacle that went around the neck.

Nungate Bridge Haddington East Lothian

St Mary’s Church 


In 1375 the building of St Mary’s Church began and was completed in 1462. In 1548-9 the church was in ruins due to the siege of Haddington. At John Knox insistence the church was rebuilt in 1561. Further renovations and improvements have been made over the centuries to what you see today.  

St Mary's Haddington East Lothian

There are many things to see, which include; Lauderdale Aisle and Tomb,  Jane Welsh Carlyle memorial stone.

Stain Glass windows depicting;  The Sepulchre, Vision of St John the Divine, Christ and the Woman of Samaria,

The Good Woman, The Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John, St Margaret and St Helen Divine Wisdom,

The Herald Angel appears to the Shepherds, Christ as the Good Shepherd, 

The Ascension, Christ and the Sea of Galilee, Gethsemane and Emmaus.

Wemyss Family Grave

Haddington East Lothian

Francis Charteris, became Charteris-Wemyss-Douglas  

8th Earl of Wemyss & 4th Earl of March was born in 1772 as Frances Charteris and died 1853 at his home at Gosford House East Lothian

Wemyss Family Plot Haddington East Lothian


War Memorial


East Lothian

Haddington war memorial at the gates to St Mary's Church was unveiled circa 1920. To commemorate all the local men and women who gave their lives in the defence of Britain in the World Wars 

Haddington War Memorial Haddington East

Amisfield House Remains

Francis Charteris  bought a property called Newmills near Haddington circa 1715, and renamed it Amisfield after the family estate near Dumfries.  On the land they built Amisfield House in 1755, a classic mansion house with a walled garden, a summer house known as the Banqueting House and stables. All that remains are ruins of the the summerhouse, Gothic Garden House, cascade pump house and stables. The gates with Lodges built circa 1720. and the walled garden circa 1786 are still in tact. However, the main house was demolished in 1928. The grounds have been used as Haddington Golf Course since 1865.

Amisfield House
East Gate and lodges 

Amisfield House Gates Haddington East Lo

Amisfield House
Stables 1785

Amisfield House Stables Haddington East

Amisfield House

Summer House

(Banqueting House) 1755

The Summerhouse was used as a banqueting hall and was were the Charteris family would entertain guests. A bowling green was once to the rear of the house with statues surrounding it. Unfortunately a flood of the Tyne in 1775 washed the statues away and destroyed the bowling green.

Amisfield House Summer Banqueting House

Amisfield Gothic House

This is a Gothic style House was built in 1766 by one of the most renowned builder | Stonemasons of the time Robert Milne from Edinburgh. Built for the then owners of the House and Lands the Charteris family.

Amisfield Estate Gothic House Haddington East Lothian
Entrance to Gothic House Ruins Haddington East Lothian


Walled Garden

Amisfield House walled garden (1783) is eight acre, one of the largest walled gardens in Scotland.  The walls of the garden stand at 16 feet (4.9 m) and in each corner are circular pavilions. Note; The Ancient Fraternity of Gardeners of East Lothian was established in 1676 the oldest gardeners fraternity known.

Amisfield Walled Garden Haddington East Lothian
Pavillion in Amisfield Walled Garden Haddington East Lothian
Amisfield Walled Garden Haddington East Lothian

Amisfield House

Cascade & Pump House

The River Tyne flows through the grounds of Amisfield in Haddington. Amisfield House and grounds are now a golf course the house was demolished in 1928 as it had stood empty for years. The pump house may have previously been an Ice House which was a common place for all large houses.

Amisfield House Cascade and Pump House Haddington East Lothian

Samson Fountain

Court Street Haddington

The drinking fountain in Court Street Haddington with a statue of Samson at the apex was originally erected in 1924 At that time it was only the centre piece with four drinking cups on chains. It was then surrounded by a pond in 1998 and the cups removed.

Samson Fountain Haddington East Lothian


Corn Exchange

The Corn Exchange was built in 1854 and is one of the largest Corn Exchanges to be built in Scotland.

Corn Exchange Haddington East Lothian

Tweeddale Monument


Field Marshal George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale born 1787 at Yester House educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh and became a full time soldier in 1804 and was awarded many honours throughout his career. On his fathers death in 1804 he became 16th Lord Hay of Yester. Earl of Tweeddale. 8th Marquess of Tweeddale. 8th Earl of Gifford. 8th Viscount of Walden.  He was appointed Knight, Order of the Thistle (K.T.) in 1820 He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Haddingtonshire between 1823 till is death. He became Governor of Madras India in 1842-46 and retired from active service in 1848 when he returned to Yester House. He gained the rank of Field Marshal in 1875.  While at home in Yester House he died of injuries sustained in a fire in 1876. He was honour in 1881 with the monument that stands in Court Street Haddington for his services in both times of war and peace.

Tweeddale Monument Haddington East Lothi

Goats of Haddington

The Goats were sculpted by Dyre Vaa of Norway in 1978 The symbol of the Goat is on the coat of arms and the seal of Haddington thought to have been first adopted in 1296 when there were numerous goat farms in the area.

Goats of Haddington Haddington East Lothian
Goats of Haddington Sculptue

Custom Stone


Custom Stone of Haddington stood in the High Street and has been moved to the gardens behind the old George Hotel(Falkos). There are setts in the road where the Custom stone once sat. The plaque reads; This ancient stone was for | centuries the seat of the tacksman (Tax) | When petty customs were levied | in the Burgh.

Custom Stone Plaque Haddington East Loth
Custom Stone Haddington East Lothian
Custom Stone Haddington East Lothian

Mercat Cross


A goat appears on the seal and on the coat of arms of Haddington it also is on the top of the mercat cross where the unicorn stands on most other mercat crosses throughout Scotland. The earliest documentary reference occurs in the reign of William the Lion (1165–1214), when it was decreed that “all merchandises sal be presentit at the mercat and mercat croce of burghis”. As William the Lion was a resident of Haddington, the mercat cross in the High Street could have been the first.

Mercat Cross Haddington East Lothian

John Gray Centre 


The John Gray Centre is the library, originally founded by Rev. John grey in 1688 and now is the heritage hub and museum of East Lothian. There is 700 years of manuscripts books and images all relating to the history of East Lothian. The new building opened in 2012 

John Gray Centre Haddington East Lothian

John Gray Plaques


At the entrance to the Centre on the wall is a plaque to John Gray which reads; Mr John Gray Minister of the Gospel at Aberlady,for the regard he had for the town of Haddington. The place of his nativity did mortify this library for the community also did mortify the sum of 3000 merks scots. Appointed the annual rent thereof to charitable uses agreeable to his will under ye management of magistrates & town clerk thereof he departed this life in tear 1717. 

The red plaque reads; 

The story of John Gray Centre Began over 400 years ago, but who was John Gray?

John was born in Haddington in 1684, the son of a merchant. He became a Presbyterian minister in 1667 and minister of Aberlady in 1684. During his life he collected a library of around 900 books which he left, together with money for their upkeep, to the people of Haddington on the death of his wife in 1717. His library was one of the first in Britain made freely available to the public and is now housed in the National Library of Scotland.

The Centre has been named after John Gray in recognition of his gift to the people of Haddington.

John Gray Plaque Haddington East Lothian

Carlyle House Museum


Jane Welsh was born in Haddington in 1801 daughter of Dr John Welsh. She became one of the great letter writers of her age. She married essayist Thomas Carlyle in 1826.  The house has been restored and is now the Jane Welsh Carlyle Museum. which tells the life of Jane before and after marriage.

Carlyle House Haddington East Lothian

Mitchell’s Close


Mitchell’s Close are 17th century buildings that have survived from the period, a true look back into the past.

Mitchell's Close Haddington East Lothian
Mitchell's Close Haddington Esat Lothian info board.J
Mitchell's Close Haddington East Lothian

Royal Palace 

King William I


Alexander II, son of King William I was born in Haddington Palace 1198. In 1214 King John attacked Haddington and burned it to the ground leaving very few buildings. The royal Place was saved but was vacated two years later. The present building is the County Building which was built in 1832 and stands on the site of the medieval palace of King William I remnants and foundations of which were found when excavating to build the county building in 1830. The plaque on the wall reads; This is the site of The Royal Palace occupied by King William the Lion and here his son Alexander II of Scotland was born 24th August 1198.

Haddington Palace Haddington East Lothia
Haddington Royal Palace Plaque Haddington East Lothian

Ferguson Monument


Robert Ferguson of Raith was born in 1767 he was a landowner with estates in Haddingtonshire and Dysart Burghs. He became a member of parliament in 1835 for East Lothian and was also Lord Lieutenant of Fife in 1837. He after an affair married Lady Elgin of Dirleton. Lord Elgin of Elgin Marbles fame was the husband she divorced.

Haddington Palace Haddington East Lothian

John Knox Institute


In 1880 the Knox Memorial Institute to house the grammar school of Haddington was completed with a statue of John Knox in the centre tower. Later to be known as Knox Academy. John Knox a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer was a leader of the country’s Reformation, which in 1572 under James IV approved the reformation settlement of which founded the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1560. John Knox was born in Haddingtonshire in 1513. Other information states he was born in 1505 (Thomas Carlyle).

John Knox Institute Statue Haddington East lothian
John Knox Institute Haddington East Lothian

Gifford Gate

John Knox Birthplace

John Knox House was at Gifford gate near Haddington opposite the parish church on the far bank of the River Tyne. Thomas Carlyle easiest and historian husband of a local girl Jane Welsh (14 January 1801 – 21 April 1866) a Scottish writer had a tree planted where John Knox house once stood.

john knox house before it was Demolished
John knox Tree Where house once stood Giffordgate East Lothian

John Knox

Tree Plaque

The Plaque reads; Near this spot stood the house in which was born John Knox AD 1505. An oak tree was planted on 29th March 1881 at the request of the late Thomas Carlyle.

John knox tree plaque Giffordgate East Lothian

Lady Kitty’s

Do’cot and Garden

Lady Kitty’s Do’cot was built in 1771.  Named after Lady Catherine Charteris (born 1722) who had a walled garden built in the same period. Lady Charteris was of Francis Charteris, 7th Earl of Wemyss (Buried in Gosford Estate in a Mausoleum designed after the Great Pyramid at Giza) substantial land owner of Haddingtonshire. They had 6 children and Catherine lived until 1786 (64). The Do’cot was a feature of most wealthy home owners which provided fresh meat in the form of pigeons. 

Lady Kitty's Doocot and Garden Haddington East Lothian

Haddington House

St Mary's Pleasant Gardens

East Lothian

Haddington House was built circa 1650. THE INSCRIPTION above the door would have been put there when

Al AO Haddington and dates from 1648. Alexander Maitland renovated the house IN 1680 and installed the present doorway which has a date of 1680 his initials AM and his wife’s KC, Katherine Cunninghame. A traditional mark of ownership. The gardens were restored by the 14th Duke of Hamilton and gifted to the Haddington Garden Trust to allow everyone to benefit from the gardens.

Haddington House Door Lintel Haddington East Lothian
St Mary's Pleasance Garden Entrance Hadd
Haddington House Haddington East Lothian
St Mary's Pleasance Garden Haddington Ea

Sir George Taylor

Plaque Haddington House

Haddington East Lothian

Sir George Taylor plaque reads;

Sir George Taylor


15 February 1904 - 12 November 1993

Director Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

1956 - 1971

Chairman Haddington Garden Trust 

1973 - 1990

Sir George Taylor Haddington House Gardens East Lothian

Waterloo Bridge


East Lothian

The Waterloo Bridge near the Poldrate Mill was completed in 1817. The foundation stone of the Waterloo Bridge was laid on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and was named after the Battle ‘Waterloo’.

Waterloo Bridge Haddington East Lothian

Normandy Garden 

The Normandy Memorial in the old bowling green area was erected in 2004. The gardens were once a bowling green which opened in 1749 after moving from its original place in Haddington, where Lawn bowls were first played circa 1660. The area is now a World War II memorial to the Normandy Landings.

Old Bowling Green and Normandy Garden Haddington East Lothian
Normandy Garden Memorial Haddington East Lothian
Normandy Garden Bowling Green Haddington East Lothian

Commemorative Trees


King Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark Coronation Trees 1902

Edward and Alexandra Trees 1902 Haddington East Lothian
Edward and Alexandra dra Trees Plaque 1902 Haddington East Lothian

Commemorative Trees


The tree on the side of the River Tyne near Poldrate is one of many trees planted at the time the plaque at the foot of this tree reads; The tree was planted to commemorate the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the 28th June 1838.

Victoria Tree Plaque Coronation Tree Haddington East Lothian
Victoria Tree Plaque Coronation Tree Haddington East Lothian

Commemorative trees


King George V and Queen Mary Commemorative Trees Haddington 1911

George and Mary Trees 1911 Haddington East Lothain
George and Mary Trees Plaque 1911 Haddington East Lothian

Victoria Bridge


The twin steel arched Victoria Bridge was built in 1898 named to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee which had taken place in 1897. An excellent early example of a provincial steel arch bridge, similar to the

North Bridge in Edinburgh but on a smaller scale.

Victoria Bridge Haddington East Lothian
Victoria Bridge Plaque Haddington East L


Town House

Haddington Town House was built in 1748 and designed by William Adam Town House steeple had to be replaced in 1831. The bell in the steeple rings each day as a curfew at 10 in the evening and it then rings again at the end of curfew at 7 in the morning. The curfew-bell has rung since 1532. Within the Town House were a council chamber a jail and court and a clock was added to the tower in 1835.

Town House Haddington East Lothian

Samuel Smiles


Samuel Smiles was born in Haddington in 1812. He was a government reformer and author of many books including “Self Help” which became a worldwide success. He was also the author of George Stephenson’s biography, the inventor of the locomotive and the modern railways. Self Help was published in 1859 the same year as Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. The plaque where he was born reads; Samuel Smiles, born in Haddington, lived in this house, Author of “Self Help” and other books. He died Kensington 1904.

Samuel Smiles Plaque Haddington East Lot

Falko (George Hotel) 

Haddington East Lothian

One of the older properties still being used in Haddington, Falko (George Hotel) stands in Market Lane previously George Wynd.  The building being a coaching station and Post Office circa 1700 and an Inn owned by a James Fairbairn IN 1764.  

It has been called The George and Dragon and George Inn circa 1850.

Cyclists Touring Club

The Cyclists Touring Club plaque signifies the previous Headquarters of the Cyclists Touring Club now Cycling UK. A wheel with 3 wings and the initials CTC.

Headquarters Cycle Touring Club Haddington East Lothian


Railway Station

The Rail Station in Haddington has long been closed and all that remains is the ticket office. The rail line opened on 22 June 1846 and took passengers to Longniddry Station where they would change trains to the Edinburgh Train. The final passengers embarked on the last train from Haddington in December 1949.

Haddington Rail Station House East Lothian

Summerfield House

Haddington East Lothian

Summerfield House that stands in the Sidegate Haddington was built circa 1780. This shows a typical house of a wealthy merchant. With coach houses (garages) at both sides of the house.

Summerfield House Haddington East Lothian

Flour and Malt Mill

Haddington East Lothian

There has been a mill on this site since circa 1410. It has changed ownership on several occasions. In 1897 the mills were operated by John Montgomery tin the production of malt flour for baking 'Bermaline' bread, a famous Health food. The present company has continued operations of the mills producing cereals (Scottish Flour and Malt from wheat and barley). PureMalt products are distributed worldwide.

Distillery Haddington East Lothian

Old Bank House

Haddington East Lothian

There are two historic buildings close together on the Hargate,

Old Bank House and Sunnybank also known as Tenterfield House.

Tenterfield House was originally Sunnybank once owned and occupied by the Donaldson family and sold to Archibald Todrick on his marriage to Katherine Howden in 1812.

Old Bank House Haddington East Lothian.J


(Tenterfield House)

Haddington East Lothian

 Hay Donaldson was the Town Clerk and solicitor (writer of the signet) who previously lived at Sunny Bank and moved to Old Bank House and ran the Bank of Scotland Offices from 1783. Handing over to Archibald Todrick in 1803.

Tenterfield (Sunnybank) House Haddington East Lothian

County Police Station 

Haddington East Lothian

The Haddington Police Station in Court Street previously Weston House built 1833 by William Burn. The Building was the former Court House. It became the Police Station when the police moved to the building in 1954.

County Police Station Haddington East Lothian
County Police Station Plaque Haddington

Lennoxlove House

Haddington East Lothian

Lennoxlove (Castle) House grounds and gardens are one of the must see Houses and gardens to see in Scotland

with history over eight centuries. The estate was originally named Lethington and was owned by Robert Maitland of Thirlestane from 1345.

The original Tower built in 1345 still stands as the south west corner of the present Lennoxlove House. The south face of the house was completed in 1644 when a further tower was built at the east end.

There has been further changes to the house over the centuries and different owners. The present owners purchased the Lennoxlove House in 1947 by Sir Douglas Douglas-Hamilton.  

The house is open to visitors by guided tours. With many centuries of history and historic artefacts as well as paintings by the masters lie Van Dyke and Scottish painters such as Raeburn. The 400+ acres of walled gardens have an ornate sundial, a tree over 650 years old and the architecture from the 16th century.

Lennoxlove House Haddington East Lothian
Cannon at Lennoxlove House Haddington East Lothian

Skid Hill

Haddington East Lothian

Skid Hill once the site of an Iron age fort circa 800 BC, at the summit of the 600 foot (185 mtr) hill, which is the highest point of the Garleton Hill range. Not far from the Hopetoun Monument on Byre's Hill. Skid hill is now a disused quarry.

Hopetoun Monument

Byre's Hill

Haddington East Lothian

The Hopetoun Monument is 95 feet (29 m) tall. Situated on Byres Hill near Haddington, the monument was erected in 1824 in memory of John Hope, 4th Earl of Hopetoun The foundation stone was laid on May 3, 1824.

There is an inscription on the monument which states: “This monument was erected to the memory of the Great and Good John, Fourth Earl of Hopetoun by his affectionate and grateful tenantry in East Lothian. “MDCCCXXIV” 1824.

Hopetoun Tower Byre's Hill East Lothian

Haddington Abbey

In 1138 the lands of Haddington were given to Ada de Warenne (became wife of Robert I son). The estate on the north-east of Haddington that formed part of the lands belonging to the Abbey of Haddington (The Abbey of Haddington was founded in 1178 by Ada de Warenne a Northumbrian Countess) were sold circa 1568 to William Maitland of Lethington, who in turn sold it in 1681 to Colonel James Stanfield an officer in Cromwell’s Army.  He became the Member of Parliament for East lothian and established New Mills Cloth factory in the existing Waulk Mill on the River Tyne. He then built New Mills House the same year. New Mills was renamed circa 1715 to Amisfield and the demolished and a new house was built named Amisfield House in 1755 for Francis Charteris (later 7th Earl of Wemyss). The Google map shows top centre where the Abbey once Stood, below the Abbey Bridge and Amisfield Walled Garden.

Haddington Abbey Abbey Bridge  and Anisf

Abbey Bridge


East Lothian

The Abbey is no longer their but the Abbey Bridge that the young Queen, her mother and nobles of France and Scotland crossed to sign the treaty remains across the River Tyne not far from where the Abbey once Stood. The Abbey Bridge was built over the River Tyne to give access to the Abbey of Haddington. The stone bridge could have been built circa 1450 replacing a wooden bridge. A pathway at the side of the Tyne follows the river to East Linton 6 miles towards the sea.

Abbey Bridge Haddington East Lothian

Treaty of Haddington 1548

The reformation saw the end to the priory in 1567. There are no remains of the Abbey but a tree stands on the site where the Abbey once stood.  After the Battle of Pinkie Cleuch Lord Somerset set siege to Haddington in hope to seize the young Mary Queen of Scots (5 years old). To save the Queen from the English her mother (Mary of Guise) made a pact with the French to send her daughter to France to marry the Dauphin, the young French prince. This secured an alliance between the Scots and French against the English when the Treaty of Haddington was signed at the Abbey of Haddington on 7th July 1548. Mary was sent to France and later married the Dauphin, however the marriage did not last long as the prince died in his teens and Mary returned to Scotland.

bottom of page