Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Haddington
Haddington View slideshowPopular destinations for the city-dwellers of Edinburgh are Haddington and the Lammermuir Hills in East Lothian, a contrast to the heavy industrialized old counties of Mid and West Lothian.
Haddington, the administrative center for East Lothian, lies in a pretty spot on the banks of the River Tyne, crossed here by the 16th century Nungate bridge. David I founded the town in the 12th century and John Knox is said to have received divine inspiration here in 1515. A memorial to the controversial reformer stands in front of the Knox Memorial Institute.Haddington consists of many faithfully restored streets and boasts more than 100 buildings of architectural interest from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries with most of them in High Street. The Classical town hall was designed by William Adam in 1748 and the 170ft/52m tower by Gillespie Graham was added in 1831.
Medieval Lethington Tower which belonged to the Maitlands from the 13th C was converted into a grand country house in the 17th C (1mi/1.6km south of Haddington). The estate name derives from the Duchess of Lennox or "La Belle Stewart", a beautiful court companion to the wife of Charles II, who resisted the favors of the king and remained faithful to the Duke of Richmond and Lennox. The house was later named Lennoxlove in memory of her husband. It has been the seat of the dukes of Hamilton since 1947. Of interest are the expensive presents that the king gave to the duchess in his attempts to win her heart, family portraits by Raeburn, van Dyck and Lely and a piano that Chopin is supposed to have played. Note also the portrait of the reformer John Knox, the porcelain collection (Derby, Dresden and Worcester) and some memorabilia belonging to Mary Stuart: her death mask and the small jewelry box with the forged letter purporting to show her complicity in the murder of Lord Darnley and foreshadowing the end of her regency. Colorful flower beds and old trees are the main features of the surrounding parkland.
Gullane Golf Courses
Muirfield, a traditional 18-hole course, is Gullane's best known golf course but there are four other courses in the vicinity. Muirfield itself, several times the venue for the British Open, is owned by the "Honorable Company of British Golfers", an organization that grew out of the "Gentlemen Golfers of Leith" (1744), the world's first golf club and 10 years older than the Royal Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews.
Gullane - Golf Museum
A small museum near the clubhouse on West Links Road in Gullane traces the history of the small white ball from the 15th century to the present day.
Address: West Links Road, Gullane EH31 2BB, Scotland
Stevenson House is situated about 2mi/3.2km east of the Haddington town center. It dates from the 16th C and became the property of the Sinclairs of Longformacus in 1624. The third baronet had the building extended and also gave the interior its early Georgian character. When the ninth baronet died without issue in 1931, the estate went to the Dunlop family who initially showed little interest in maintaining it. The careful restoration work was undertaken fairly recently by John Dunlop.
Situated on the banks of the Firth of Forth near Longniddry (6mi/9.6km north of Haddington) stands another of Robert Adam's Classical-style mansions. Work started c 1790 but the north and south pavilions were replaced by larger wings from designs by William Young in 1890. Ornithologists will be interested in the parkland as wild geese have been breeding here since 1983.
Three houses dating from the 17th C are worth seeking out: Haddington House (now the town museum) and its magnificent rose garden in nearby St Mary's Pleasance, Boswell Castle and the Moat House. The stepped gable and pantile roofs in Mitchell's Close have been faithfully restored.
St Mary's Parish Church
The 206ft/63m long St Mary's Parish Church which is known as the "Lamp of Lothian" was begun in the 14th century; it retains the original central tower, while the nave and west front were restored in the 20th century.
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