29th October - 2nd November 2023
Detailed Itinerary – Sunday 17th to Thursday 21st September 2023
Sunday 17th September
Guests arrive at Burts Hotel, Melrose. Afternoon tea, will be served from 3.30pm
6.30 Join your fellow guests when Nicholas will give an introductory talk on “Some Country Houses of the Scottish Borders”
Monday 18th September
9.45 Depart to drive to Traquair House
10.30 Arrive. Traquair is the oldest inhabited house in the borders, which remains remarkably unchanged. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that the family has remained through the centuries true to the “Old Religion” and to the Jacobite cause. In the house are many reminders of that cause and the tragic Mary, Queen of Scots.
2.15 Depart Traquair
3.00 Arrive Thirlestane, a magnificent red sandstone Border Castle of the Maitland family, sometime Duke of Lauderdale. He was Secretary of State for Scotland in the mid 17th century and living at Ham House.Reflecting his splendid position, he employed Sir William Bruce to enlarge the house at Thirlestane, and created rooms in the most lavish style, particularly the plaster ceilings. 5.00 Depart to return to Melrose.
6.30 Talk, “The Adam Family of Architects” with Nicholas Merchant
Tuesday 19th September
9.45 Depart for Paxton House
10.45 Arrive Paxton for guided tour. Paxton, a Palladian mansion built for the Home family in the distinctive red sandstone of the district. The architects were the brothers John and James Adam, practising in Edinburgh. Their more famous brother Robert practised principally in London. The exceptional feature of Paxton is its supply of furniture by Thomas Chippendale, all of which is documented. The 19th century Library and Picture Gallery feature furniture from Trotters of Edinburgh. The Gallery was the first out-station of the National Gallery of Scotland
12.45 Lunch (included)
1.45 Depart for Mellerstain
2.30 Arrive Mellerstain; Guided tour, the house opened especially for our party. Begun in 1725 and finally completed in 1778, this grand house has a fascinating history and is of unique architectural interest; the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Baillie family and two of Scotland’s greatest architects, William Adam and his son Robert. This beautiful Georgian mansion house is a unique example of Adam design, particularly in its interior design.
4.30 Depart Mellerstain
5.00 Arrive Melrose
6.45 Talk by Nicholas Bowhill
Wednesday 20th September
9.30 Depart for Bowhill
10.00 Bowhill has been especially opened for our party. We will have a guided tour of the house to see the spectacular collections housed within its walls. Here we shall see objects which would make any museum green with envy, beginning with the “Triumph of Caesar” tapestries and continuing through room after room filled with 18th century French furniture, Sèvres and Meissen porcelain, massive silver, Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Canaletto paintings until in the final room, by way of a room dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, is part of one of the finest collections of miniature portraits in the world. Lunch (included) in the Tearoom..
2.30 Depart for Abbotsford
3.00 Arrive Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott. The home of Scotland’s most famous writer and promoter of Scotland, was a close friend of the Scott’s at Bowhill. His unique early 19th century house on the south bank of the Tweed is redolent of his romantic attachment to Scotland including in its eccentric architecture many relics of ruined abbeys and castles. Here also is his library and a walled garden.
4.30 Afternoon tea available in the café. Depart to return to hotel.
Thursday 21st September
Guests depart after breakfast.