Dirleton is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s most picturesque conservation villages. Its origins date from the 13th century, when the castle was built by the Norman family de Vaux, although it has been ruined since the 17th century. The impressive castle, now owned and managed by Historic Scotland, is set within fine garden grounds, overlooking a large village green which is surrounded by houses dating from the 16th century. The green forms a hub for many village activities. The sixteenth century Kirk (Church) houses the beautiful ‘Archerfield window’, a stained glass depiction of wildlife found in the area. A thriving primary school, a shop with post office and two hotels provide focal points for village life along with a gallery and tea-room which showcases and sells art and craft work. An annual fete and games is held each year in July and village gardens are open to the public on a June weekend every second year under Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.
A mile from the village is Yellowcraig, which combines one of East Lothian’s finest sandy beaches with woodland walks and which has a popular caravan site. Many golfing and leisure facilities are available in the immediate vicinity of the village, including those on the Archerfield Estate.