Mellerstain House and Gardens is one of the finest examples of Scottish architects William and Robert Adam’s work. It is nestled in the heart of the Scottish borders just an hour from Edinburgh. The house was commissioned by the Baillie family, whose name also features in British history.
The estate came into the Baillie family’s hands in 1642 when it was granted to George Baillie of Jerviswood by royal charter. It was subsequently removed from the family’s possession in 1684 when Robert Baillie, George’s son, was executed for high treason. Robert’s son, also called George, was able to repossess the estate in 1690 from William, the Prince of Orange, having assisted him in his successful campaign to become William III of England.
George Baillie and his wife, Grisell, commissioned William Adam to build a new house at Mellerstain on top of an old peel tower. William Adam’s original design featured two wings and a linking central block, but only the two wings were built in 1725. 40 years later, George’s grandson decided to complete the house and commissioned Robert Adam to design and build the linking block, which was completed in 1778. This ‘castle style’ house is what you see today. You can admire the neoclassical plasterwork and the original Adam colours in the library. After appreciating Adam’s architectural prowess, you can turn your attention to the artwork lining the walls, including paintings by Van Dyck and Ruysdael.
The surrounding 100 acres of garden include the formal gardens and the Italianate terraces, which are dog and children friendly. They were designed by Reginald Blomfield and added in 1910. Discreetly snuggled amongst the trees is the thatched Tea Cottage, but if you’re looking for something more substantial, then head to the family-run Hoebridge Café.
Mellerstain is also an arts and culture hub with the Borders Sculpture Park hosting yearly outdoor art installments and the Borders Music and Arts Society putting on multiple, intimate, classical music concerts.
4 May to 1 October, Friday to Monday, 12.00-17.00