This access statement does not contain an opinion as to our suitability for those with access needs but aims to accurately describe the facilities and services that we offer all our guests/visitors.

Situated on the edge of the town of Lauder, Thirlestane Castle is one of the oldest and finest castles in Scotland. The visitor attraction is situated on a slight hill with a gradual approach.

Visitors can access three floors of the building, parts of which date back to the 16th century. The lower ground floor and the ground floor both have step-free level access as the castle is built on a hill.

The visitor tour takes in the upper two floors, the ground floor and the first floor but there is no lift to the first floor. Tours are led by a guide and normally take around 1 hour 15 minutes.

The gift shop and tea room on the lower ground floor have step-free access.

Our guides are always willing to offer assistance should you require it.


• For full details and maps of how to reach us please see the Visit section of our website. Alternatively, you can plan your journey by car or public transport using a journey planning website; simply enter your postcode and ours, which is TD2 6RU to get directions.
• The nearest railway station is Stow, which is 6 miles away.
• The nearest bus stop is on the south side of Lauder, on the A68 opposite the Police Station which is approximately a half mile walk through the gates at Stable Brae on tarmac roads. Buses run to/from Edinburgh and Jedburgh roughly every hour.

Car Parking and Arrival

• The approach to the castle is via a single-track tarmac road with several passing places.
• There is ample parking on site approximately 260m from the main entrance which is then a short walk up a gradually sloped road.
• A limited number of accessible parking spaces are available just 30m from the main entrance on the Castle Plaza which has a gravel surface.
• There are 33 steps to the main entrance at the front of the castle but there is level access at the rear on request. This can be accessed up a steep gravel road and then a short ramp inside the door itself.
• The gift shop and tea room are on the lower ground floor and have step-free access.

Main Entrance, Reception and Ticketing Area

• Tickets are purchased from a kiosk at the entrance to the main car park. Tickets are also available to purchase online from our website.
• There are three entrances to the castle building. The main entrance to the castle is situated on the ground floor with 33 steps to access it. Level access is available on request from the rear of the castle. The other access point is on the lower ground level where the castle tearoom and gift shop can be found.
• The main entrance opens into the Entrance Hall of the castle which is the first room of the castle tour. It has a level, wooden floor and overhead lighting.

Attraction (displays, exhibits, etc)

• Each room has a large print card in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Japanese with information on that room. For larger, international groups, translators can be organised by prior arrangement. Stewards are on hand to answer questions or offer assistance.
• There is some seating available around the castle in the various rooms.
• As it is an old building some of the floors can be uneven and doorways are an inconsistent width.
• The first floor is accessed either by a stone spiral staircase with a handrail (19 steep steps) or if visitors prefer, by two shallow flights of wide stairs with balustrade (24 steps in total).
• The visitor attraction is lit by overhead lights in all rooms.

Public Toilets

• Public toilets are located on both the lower ground floor and the ground floor.
• The lower ground floor toilets have step free access from the car park and include a unisex accessible toilet. There are handrails to either side of this WC.
• There are also public toilets on the first floor and whilst they do include a large cubicle, they have no particular accessibility features.
• There are baby change facilities in the unisex toilets on the lower ground floor and in both the female and male toilets on the ground floor.


• There is a gift shop with a range of souvenirs, books and other gifts which is accessed from the tea room or the main lower ground floor hallway.
• There is a small slope from the tea room into the gift shop.
• Staff are happy to provide assistance when required.

Grounds and Gardens

• There are gardens to explore with a mixture of gravel paths and grassed walkways which can be uneven underfoot. There are some steps in places and some inclines.
• There are signposted walks through the woodland which are accessed from either the castle or the car park.
• There is a picnic area on a sloped grass area with picnic benches.
• There are wooden benches at intervals around the grounds.
• There is a small adventure playground suitable for children under the age of 5.

Additional Information

• We have a set of evacuation procedures – should you require it, someone will assist you with evacuation out of the building.
• There are dedicated fire assembly points and fire exits which are clearly signposted.
• We welcome trained assistance dogs.
• The castle has five self-catering apartments, three one-bedroomed, one two-bedroomed
and one three-bedroomed which can be rented for short stays. There are also luxury
woodland lodges as well as a caravan park on the castle estate which has accessible toilets
and shower facilities. We can also provide a list of other nearby accommodation if