Haddington was established as a royal burgh in the 12th century during the reign of King David I of Scots, and is one the most attractive and unspoilt market towns in the country.
The town nestles beneath the Garleton Hills on the banks of the River Tyne. As you would expect of a burgh that is 800 years old, it has many places of historic interest.
Its most ancient building is St Martin's Church, now ruinous but reputed to be the oldest church in Scotland. It was part of an abbey of Cistercian nuns founded in 1178 by Princess Ada, mother of King William the Lion. A royal palace built by William stood in Court Street where his son, the future King Alexander II, was born in 1198.
St Mary's Collegiate Church dates from the 14th century and is one of three great pre-Reformation churches in the Lothians. It is also the largest parish church in Scotland.
Other buildings of note include: 17th century Haddington House, with its charming walled garden; the Town House, built in the 18th century to a design by William Adam, the great neoclassical architect; and Giffordgate, which is reputedly the birthplace of the famous ecclesiastical reformer John Knox.
Haddington is home to East Lothian Council's head office and the Sheriff Court. The town's modern facilities include the John Gray Centre, opened in April 2012 which houses a library, museum, county archives and a local history centre. The building is named after John Gray of Haddington (1646-1717) a Church of Scotland minister who donated a library and trust to the poor of the town. For the physically active, there is the Aubigny Sports Centre, named after Haddington's French twin town of Aubigny-sur-Nere. The town centre has an excellent variety of small specialist shops, as well as a supermarket.