Whether you’re visiting Scotland for the golf, the whiskey, or the hill-walking, it would be a mistake for you to leave this beautiful country without a visit to some of Britain’s most majestic stately homes. There are enough stately homes in Scotland to keep you busy for a month but if you’re limited for time, at least make sure to put these five on your itinerary.
Hopetoun House – Located on the outskirts of Edinburgh in South Queensferry, Hopetoun House sits in 150 acres of stunning manicured lawns and woodland trails with views to the River Forth. Open to the public from Easter until the end of September, it has been home to the Hope family since 1699, when building began. The house, which was originally designed by William Bruce, is a prized example of 18th century architecture on the outside and a showcase of Georgian décor and collectables on the inside. After touring the house, enjoy a woodland walk around the estate then treat yourself to afternoon tea in the Stables Tearoom. If you’re too smitten to leave, Hopetoun now has two self-catering holiday cottages available to rent.
Floors Castle – Situated in the Scottish Borders, Floors Castle is a Georgian country house overlooking the River Tweed and the Cheviot Hills. Belonging to the Roxburghe family since it was built in 1721, Floors Castle is still home to the 10th Duke of Roxburghe and sits within an enormous estate covering over 50,000 acres in total. From April through October, visitors can tour this spectacular house and can enjoy a whole host of outdoor pursuits, from golfing to fishing to quad biking. Within the Roxburghe Estate, there is a hotel, two restaurants, a souvenir shop, a garden centre, and a Kitchen Produce Shop offering edible treats handmade on the Estate.
Mellerstain House – Also located near the Scottish Borders, Mellerstain is a great Georgian house that saw its beginnings in 1725. The house was originally a collaboration between the Baillie and Adam families and continued to be a work in progress until its completion in 1778. The house is currently home to the Earl of Haddington and his wife. The interior of the house is almost entirely the work of Robert Adam, Scotland’s most fashionable architect in the late 1700’s. His ornate ceilings are a trademark and can be seen throughout the house. There must be some who love Mellerstain too much to leave, for there is a natural burial site within the grounds of the house in the Hundy Mundy Wood. Mellerstain is only open on certain days between May and August so be sure to check the website before planning your visit.
Paxton House and Country Park – Before leaving the Scottish Borders, stop in for a visit to Paxton House and Country Park, a spectacular example of Palladian architecture, designed by John Adam for the Home family and completed in 1763. Within the house itself, visitors get the chance to see an outstanding collection of furniture by Chippendale and William Trotter as well as over seventy works of art on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland, located in the beautifully restored regency Picture Gallery. Open to the public from April through October, Paxton House has enough on offer, both inside and outside of the house, to keep its visitors busy all day.
Culzean Castle – Located in Strathclyde and situated on a hilltop overlooking the estuary of Clyde, Culzean Castle is the oldest stately home in the list and with its extensive historical significance, is one not to be missed. What began as a tower house in the 1400’s ended as a neoclassical mansion in the 18th century that was built in all its grandness to serve as a status symbol and family home for the Kennedy family. Culzean Castle sits within 500 acres and boasts everything from its own sandy beaches to an Armoury that displays a collection of weapons rivalled only by Windsor Castle. There are houses to rent within the grounds as well as a luxury six-bedroomed apartment that was originally granted to Dwight D Eisenhower for use throughout his lifetime. Culzean Castle is open to the public from April through October.