One of Britain's finest stately homes north of the border.
Mellerstain House Gordon Berwickshire TD3 6LG 01573 410 225
One of Britain's finest stately homes north of the border, Mellerstain House is an elegant example of the Enlightenment era in Scotland. Completed in 1778, it's a rare example of a house worked on by William Adam and his more famous son Robert, and indeed is one of the most complete examples of Robert Adam's work in the UK. The estate lies about 8 miles north of Kelso in the Scottish Borders, and although it remains the family residence of the 13th Earl of Haddington, it's now officially owned by the Mellerstain Trust. The house is open on and around weekends during the summer, and pleasingly, it has managed to retain many of its original Georgian interiors, paintings and furniture. Not only that: the grounds, originally designed by William Adam in 1725, are laid out with broad walks, classical statues and a lake in the form of a Dutch canal. Then Sir Reginald Blomfield came along in 1910 and designed the Italianate gardens, which enlarged the lake, linking it to the terraces with a long sweep of lawn. Today the gardens remain pretty much untouched and afford hours of happy wandering among woods and around the lake. There's also a nice woodland playground for kids, a flock of Hebridean sheep spread about the grounds with a few Highland cattle in the mix, plus a thatched tea house in the garden, so it's not surprisingly a popular wedding venue. But if you really want to soak up the genteel atmosphere, and to enjoy the superb views over the Cheviot Hills at your leisure, you should consider staying at one of their three holiday cottages in the grounds, which sleep between 4 and 6 – a more peaceful, yet elegant place to stay you couldn't wish for.
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House & Garden: adults £8.50 adult, children £4. Gardens only: adults £5, children £2.50. Under 5's free.
- Country House
The house is signposted on the A6089 Kelso-Gordon road.The approach from the A68 Jedburgh-Edinburgh road is through Earlston on the A6105, then via the B3697 towards Smailholm. Approx 1 hour from Edinburgh.
Easter (4 days), May–Sept Fri–Mon 11.30am–5pm gardens & coffee shop 12.30pm–5pm house (last entry 4.15pm)