Thirlestane Castle in Lauder, one of the oldest and finest castles in Scotland, will be opening for the 2019 Visitor Season on Sunday 28th April 2019. This year they are delighted to relaunch the historic toy collection in a new location, the castle’s former school room. Visitors can also enjoy a series of special events over the summer including, for the first time, outdoor cinema.

The historic toy collection consists of toys, games and pictures from the Victorian, Edwardian and even Georgian eras. Many of the items are kindly on loan from the Pollock Toy Museum in London whilst other items once belonged to children who lived at the castle. The collection has been away from display for the last twelve months while it was relocated to a new space, the castle’s former school room, on the upper ground floor. Thirlestane Castle Trust were very grateful to receive funding from a number of sources including Museums Galleries Scotland to enable them to make this unique collection accessible to more visitors The new Toy Museum evokes the ambience of an early 20th century nursery in a country house. It will be  enchanting and nostalgic for adults and an exciting wonderland for children of all ages.

Toy Museum at Thirlestane(Photo Credit Phil Wilkinson)

Aside from the attractions available on a daily basis including the Tea Room and Gift Shop, the castle is delighted to be holding a series of special events throughout the summer:

31st May – Open-Air Cinema – ‘The Italian Job’ (1969)

The castle will be showing the comedy caper 'The Italian Job' as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The car-themed film will be screened in the beautiful surroundings of the castle gardens as part of the ‘BVAC Classic – Festival of Motoring’ weekend which is marking the 60th birthday of the Mini, a car synonymous with this British classic film. Tickets are available now via the Thirlestane Castle website.

1st/2nd June – BVAC Classic – Festival of Motoring

A car-lover’s extravaganza with a rally throughout the Borders on the Saturday and the main event on the Sunday where 1,400 vintage vehicles will be on display in the castle’s Parkland with additional entertainment and a food village. This year the show will celebrate the 60th birthday of the iconic Mini. Tickets are available now on the BVAC website.

BVAC Classic at Thirlestane(Photo Credit Phil Wilkinson)

21st July – Open-Air Theatre – ‘The Tempest’

Guest can relax on the castle’s Front Lawn with the historic building as the back-drop for an evening of Shakespearean comedy from touring theatre company, Illyria. Tickets are available now via the Thirlestane Castle website or from Border Events.

July/August – Wild Outdoors Activity Camps

Children can enjoy a taste of the great outdoors with these overnight and day camps where they can cook over an open fire and enjoy a range of activities including tree-climbing and axe-throwing. More information is available on the Wild Outdoors website.

10th/11th August – Civil War Re-Enactment Weekend

Visitors can experience the Civil War era as musket battles and skirmishes are recreated along with an authentic army encampment in the castle Parkland. Tickets are available now via the Thirlestane Castle website or from Border Events.

13th September – Open-Air Cinema

Our Open-Air Cinema returns for a second time for another film night in the castle garden. The chosen film will be announced in the coming weeks and is set to be another blockbuster. Tickets will be available soon via the Thirlestane Castle website.

30th October – Drive-In Cinema – ‘Ghostbusters’ (1984)

In what we believe to be a first for the Scottish Borders, enjoy a retro evening at the Thirlestane Drive-In Cinema in the castle Parkland for a Halloween-themed night with a difference. Cinema-goers can drive up in front of the big screen and enjoy this fan’s favourite from the comfort of their car. Tickets will be available soon on the Thirlestane Castle website.

For the 2019 season, Thirlestane Castle will be open from 28th April through until 26th September, every Sunday to Thursday. The Castle and grounds are open from 10:00am-4:00pm. The surrounding gardens are a beautiful place to enjoy a walk or picnic and the wider grounds are also regularly used for spectacular large events.

The castle dates back to the 16th century and the descendants of the Maitland family who built it still live there today. Run by a charitable trust, every penny from admissions and events goes back in to preserving this beautiful fairytale castle and its fascinating collections so they can be enjoyed by future generations. With some of the finest decorative plasterwork ceilings in Europe, as well as one of the most extensive family collections of portraits and busts in Scotland, Thirlestane is a thrilling place to explore.

(State Drawing Room, Photo Credit Phil Wilkinson)

Edward Maitland-Carew, whose family home is the castle, said: “It’s always an exciting time as we approach the start of a new visitor season here at Thirlestane Castle and I am delighted to be able to share Thirlestane Castle with visitors once again. We are looking forward to welcoming back familiar faces, not least our wonderful volunteers, the Friends of Thirlestane. I’m delighted our fantastic collection of historic toys will be back on display and am eagerly anticipating all of the special events, particularly the new Open-Air Cinema screenings.”

For further information, please visit, email or call 01578 722430




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