As part of Doors Open Days 2021, there will be exciting opportunities to visit historic Preston Tower gardens in Prestonpans.

The late Medieval towerhouse was originally constructed in the 15th century and then repaired and extended upwards in the 17th century.

Restoration work is currently taking place focused on improving access and encouraging more people to visit in future while contributing to local regeneration.

Event details

Doors Open Days 2021, Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 September, 11am-3pm.

Come along to the tower gardens to join in with any of the activities, music, talks and find out more about the proposed developments. No booking required. Please leave your car at home if you can, as parking is very limited.

The weekend includes:

  • Gardner Molloy, Stonemason – hands on workshop, engraving stone (both days).
  • Mark Jamieson, community librarian, Scottish Castles storytelling and a children’s craft activity (Saturday).
  • Gary Coupland, accordionist musician / entertainer (Sunday)
  • Anna Scott, contemporary acoustic music (Sunday).
  • Lyndsey Clark (heritage consultant) and Stephen Kirkpatrick (Artibrand Design - interpretation designer) on hand to discuss the project (both days).
  • Natasha Huq (Groves Raines Architects): on hand to discuss the project (Sunday).
  • Giant Jenga for everyone to play with and build a tower.
  • Prints showing internal views of the spaces in the tower, views from the tower and aerial views of the tower.
  • Prints showing the proposed new path in the garden.
  • Tower gardens ideas prints – what would you like to see at the end of the path in the garden.
  • Laptop video collage of the on-going project at Preston Tower Garden, showing internal images, views from the tower and drone footage around the tower.
  • Playrangers service (Sunday)

Find out more about Doors Open Days.

About Preston Tower

Preston Tower is a category-A listed, partially ruined tower house nestling in the heart of the town of Prestonpans in East Lothian. Its lower storeys are possibly of late 14th century construction while the upper two storeys were added during the Renaissance era, in 1626.

Standing, as it did, overlooking the main north-south route ten miles or so from Edinburgh it attracted more than a passing interest from any invading army. It was burned, along with the adjacent town of Prestonpans in 1544 by the English army under the Earl of Hertford during the Rough Wooing and then again by Cromwell’s troops in in 1650. After being rebuilt, its upper storeys were burned once again, by accident this time, in 1663 and the keep was finally permanently abandoned.

A prominent built feature on the low-lying Forth coast, it has been a treasured monument in the area ever since its last occupants left. Walter Scott is known to have played there as a child when he briefly lived in the town with his aunt and JMW Turner sketched it on a trip to the area in 1834. It had, however, fallen into a parlous state by the late Victorian era when a number of locals rallied around to consolidate its remaining walls and floors and save it for future generations.

In the early 20th century it functioned as the unusual centre-piece of a commercial market garden and in the late 1960s it passed into the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland. 

Restoration work is currently taking place focused on improving access and encouraging more people to visit in future while contributing to local regeneration. The project is being supported by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund and progressed by East Lothian Council in collaboration with building owners the National Trust for Scotland and with the support of the Preston Seton Gosford Area Partnership, and the National Lottery-funded Great Place Project. 

Find out more.



Published: Wednesday, 15th September 2021