Pevensey Castle: Roman signs


Pevensey Castle © David Gill

The west gate of the Roman Saxon Shore fort at Pevensey is marked (in the path) with a Ministry sign. The gate itself is flanked by massive bastions. The Roman walls in effect became an outer bailey for the medieval castle.


Pevensey Castle, Roman west gate © David Gill

Stirling Castle: guidebooks


Second edition 1948, 7th impression 1967


2nd ed. 1948 (8th impress. 1972)

The first edition of the guide to Stirling Castle was published in 1936: the description by J.S. Richardson, and the history by Margaret E. Root. A second edition appeared in 1948, and it continued as a ‘blue guide’ into the 1970s (note the move from guide-book to guide).

A fold-out plan was placed inside the back cover.

The cover of the Richardson and Root guide is ‘a drawing of a portrait medallion representing James V, one of a set of wood panels originally in the ceiling of the King’s Presence Chamber’. The heads were the subject of a monograph published by the Royal Commission in 1960. A booklet was issued by the Royal Commission in 1975, with the text by John G. Dunbar.



The Historic Scotland guide by Richard Fawcett was published in 1999. This consisted of a guide tour followed by the story (not history) of the castle.


1999 (repr. 2002)

Middleham Castle: guidebooks


Middleham Castle, looking north from the keep © David Gill

Middleham Castle was placed in state guardianship in 1925. The first guidebook was prepared by (Sir) Charles Peers in 1933; a second edition appeared in 1965. The guide would be followed by other Yorkshire castles: Richmond (1934) and Helmsley (1946).

This remained in print until 1984 when it was replaced by a new English Heritage guide by Beric Morley.


This paper guide consists of six pages, i.e. each side with three pages. A plan was printed in the centre. It consisted of a short history followed by a description.



Morley’s guide was replaced in 1993 by a new guide prepared by John Weaver. This contains a tour and description, followed by a history. There are numerous colour images and plans


1998 [2014]

Weaver’s guide was updated in 1998.

Huntingtower: guidebooks


Huntingtower © David Gill

Huntingtower, near Perth, was placed in State Guardianship in 1912. James S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook in 1931. A second edition appeared in 1950 and continued in print into the 1970s. The blue guide uses a detail from the ceiling inside the castle. Richardson’s guide starts with historical notes (pp. 1–5), followed by a description (pp. 6–9). Black and white photographs, as well as floor plans appear in the centre of the guide. He comments:

Viewed from any point, Huntingtower presents a picturesque appearance; the broken line of walling, the corbelled parapets with their subdued corner rounds and the corbie-stepped gables give the visitor an impression of a Scottish fortified-house of the 16th century, divested of its outer defensive works, garden and orchard.


1st ed. 1931; 2nd ed. 1950 (4th impress. 1972)

A third edition of Richardson’s guide was published in 1982. Historical notes have been replaced by history, and description by descriptive tour. Photographs and plans are incorporated in the text.


1982, 3rd edition


HMSO 1989 (Historic Scotland 1996, 2001)

Richardson’s guide was replaced in 1989 by a new guide by Denys Pringle. There are two main sections: the story of Huntingtower, and the architecture of Huntingtower. The centre pages provide a short tour of the castle. Floor plans are printed inside the back cover.

Helmsley Castle: guidebooks


1966 [3rd impress. 1971]

Helmsley Castle was placed in State Guardianship in 1923. The first official guidebook was prepared by Sir Charles Peers in 1946. This consisted of a history followed by a description. A fold-out map was placed inside the back cover.



Glyn Coppack prepared a new English Heritage guide in 1990. It starts with a description and is followed by the history of the castle. A colour reconstruction of the castle by Alan Sorrell is placed in the centre. A double page plan is placed inside the back cover.


2004 (repr. 2012)

Jonathan Clark prepared the 2004 English Heritage guide. The description has been replaced by a tour. It is then followed by a history. A coloured plan showing the different phases is placed sinde the back cover.



John R. Kenyon prepared the English Heritage ‘red’ guide. This consists of a tour and a history. A plan is placed inside the back card cover.

Dirleton Castle: guidebooks


Dirleton Castle © David Gill

J.S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook for Dirleton Castle 1934. A second edition appeared in 1950, and this continued as a blue guide into the 1970s. This consisted of a histroy: Lands of the Barony; the De Vaux Family; the castle during the Wars of Independence; the Halyburtons; the Ruthvens; the raid of Ruthven; the Gowrie Conspiracy; Ruthven building; furnishings and gardens; the Dirleton witches; Cromwell and the Moss-troopers. This was followed by a description. A foldout plan and sections were placed inside the back cover.


1934 (2nd ed. 1950; 7th impress. 1973)

Chris Tabraham revised Richardson’s guidebook in 1982. A new guidebook, by Tabraham, was published in 1995. This consists of two main sections: Guided Tour and History.


1995 (rev. ed. 2007)

Leading Visitor Attractions 2018: Historic Environment Scotland


Linlithgow Palace © David Gill

The figures for the Leading Visitor Attractions 2018 are now available. There are a number of sites in the care of Historic Environment Scotland:

  • Edinburgh Castle [12]: 2,111,578 [+2%]. 2017: 2,063,709 [+16%]
  • Stirling Castle [63]: 605,241 [+7%]. 2017: 567,259 [+18%]
  • Urquhart Castle [69]: 518,195 [+6%]. 2017: 488,136 [+23%]
  • Glasgow Cathedral [75]: 482,783 [+24%]. 2017: 389,101 [+36%]
  • Doune Castle [170]: 142,091 [+14%]. 2017: 124,341 [+38%]
  • Skara Brae [179]: 111,921 [+2%]. 2017: 110,028 [+18%]
  • Linlithgow Palace [187]: 94,718 [+9%]. 2017: 86,596 [+16%]
  • St Andrews Castle [188]: 91,302 [+1%]. 2017: 90,617 [+18%]
  • Fort George [198]: 71,906 [-5%]. 2017: 75,798 [+24%]
  • Iona Abbey [200]: 64,183 [-3%]. 2017: 66,224 [+2%]
  • Blackness Castle [203]: 58,388 [+36%]. 2017 42,810 [+42%]
  • Melrose Abbey [204]: 58,286 [-1%]. 2017:  58,989 [+11%]
  • St Andrews Cathedral [206]: 56,249 [-4%]. 2017:  58,395 [+26%]
  • Tantallon Castle [213]: 43,170 [-14%]. 2017: 49,955 [+17%]
  • Elgin Cathedral [217]: 39,398 [+3%]. 2017: 38,201 [+25%]
  • Craigmillar Castle [220]: 35,442 [+13%]. 2017: 31,269 [+35%]
  • Caerlaverock Castle [221]: 35,305 [-8%]. 2017: 38,540 [+8%]
  • Dirleton Castle [224]: 29,764 [-2%]. 2017: 30,219 [+8%]
  • Dumbarton Castle [226]: 28,546 [+6%]. 2017: 27,033 [+12%]
  • Maeshowe [228]: 28,414 [+11%].

Iona © David Gill