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Scotland's Stately Houses You Might Not Have Heard Of

Scotland has a wealth of history with many castles, but have you ever considered visiting some of its impressive stately homes? Here are some you might like to visit.

Mellerstain House with it's landscaped garden in the foreground.
Mellerstain House - One of Scotland's Finest Stately Homes ©MDHarding

Scotland's Stately Houses You Might Not Have Heard Of

Abbottsford House

Sir Walter Scott's Home - Abbotsford House nestled in the rolling green hills of the Scottish Borders.
Abbotsford House - The Home of Sir Walter Scott ©MDHarding

Abbottsford was the home of Sir Walter Scott, Scotland's famous poet and writer. Located on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. Once named Newarthaugh, it was bought in 1811 and re-named Abbottsford. The once small farmhouse has been extended over the years both by Sir Walter Scott and other family members. This year celebrating 250 years since Sir Walter Scott's birth with spellbinding stories from the creative and imaginative Scott. The celebrations kicked off with a lightshow at Smailholm Tower.

Said to be a heavyweight of Scotland, he once wrote anonymously due to the constraints of the time. While visiting Abbotsford you can see the actual desk he sat at constantly throughout the years, writing novels such as Waverly and Lady of the Lake. Time has stood still, in this wonderful living museum. Highly recommend visiting!

You can read more about what to see, do and accommodation in the Scottish Borders in Things To Do In The Scottish Borders. It is also really easy to visit Abbottsford for the day, catch the train from Waverly Station in Edinburgh to Tweed Bank Station.

Find out more about WalterScott250 events and much more at:

Traquair House

Items on display belonging to Mary Queen of Scots. Items include a shoe, small bag and purse.
Exhibits Belonging to Mary Queen of Scots at Traquair House ©MDHarding

Scotland's oldest inhabited house - Traquair House, dates back to 1107! It has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491 and visited by 27 Scottish kings and queens including Mary Queen of Scots. Located in Innerleithen, approximately 7 miles from Peebles in the Scottish Borders.

Did you know you can stay in one of three rooms on a bed and breakfast basis at Traquair House? It has its very own brewery, garden maze (1981), craft workshops, garden cafe and more.

The house has two entrances. The story goes that the main entrance lined with lime trees and Bear Gates has been closed since 1745. After a visit from Bonnie Prince Charlie, the then 5th Earl promised that the gates would remain closed until the Stuart's returned to the throne.

It is also said to be the residence of the oldest living yew trees, dating back 400 years. Don't miss the tree circle which can be seen on the woodland walk, peafowl and pigmy goats. It's a must-visit for all the family!

Mellerstain House

One of the decorative plaster and painted ceilings at Mellerstain House.
Mellerstain House, One of Robert Adams Finest Works ©MDHarding

In the heart of the Scottish Borders is the 18th-century Mellerstain House, entangled in 500 years of history! In the Baillie family since 1642 and today is lived in by the 14th Earl of Haddington. The house was a collaboration between the Baillie family and two of Scotland's skilled architects William Adam and his son Robert Adam. It is said to be the only remaining complete designs by Robert Adam.

The formal landscaped gardens were designed in 1910 by Reginald Blomfield and are the same as you see today.

Currently, the house is closed due to Covid-19 (scheduled to re-open 2022) but the gardens are open to enjoy, with their beautiful herbaceous borders and yew trees. Don't miss one of the longest residents - Mercury (a statue mapped in the garden since 1725) and also the enchanting thatched cottage hidden away beyond the almighty oaks.

House of Binns

Historic Stately Home - House of Binns, surrounded by a manicured lawn and trees.
House of Binns, Scotland ©MDHarding

There has been a house on the site dating back to the 14th century, with views over farmland and views to the Firth of Forth River. The current house was built by Thomas Dalyell, a rich butter merchant. The House of Binns has remained in the Dalyell family since 1612. Today it's a protected stately home by the National Trust of Scotland. You can visit the house (currently the house remains closed due to Covid -19) and the grounds, with its impressive tower at the top of the hill. There are two walks to enjoy (woodland and parkland) and it's also the home to Scotland's largest peafowl colony, approx 30. Once the house re-opens you may be able to see the table that ‘Bluidy Tam’ is said to have played the Devil at cards!

Hopetoun House

Morag the Visit Scotland highland coo van sitting in front of the grand Hopetoun House.
Morag - Visit Scotland Highland Coo Van at Hopetoun House ©MDHarding

Hopetoun House is Scotland's largest stately home, located near South Queensferry on the east coast of Scotland. The grand Georgian period house has the best examples of work by two famous architects; Sir William Bruce and William Adam, with decorative plasterwork ceilings, guilding and carving. Home to the Hope family since the 1600s, it is one of Scotland's 5-star visitor attractions. Today both the garden and grounds are open. Well worth a visit, with year-round interest for all the family including events through to walks around the sprawling gardens to see deers, birds, flowers and much more!

I hope you enjoyed reading and inspired to visit one of these amazing Scottish country houses. There are many more historic stately homes within Scotland, which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, take care Michelle

P.s Please visit the linked websites for up-to-date opening hours and current Covid-19 restrictions.

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