Explore some of Scotland’s finest stately homes in Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside, from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to the magnificent Floors Castle in Roxburghshire
Enjoy special visits to privately owned houses, including Marchmont House, described by Country Life as “one of Scotland’s grandest mansions”
Discover fine architecture designed by some of the greatest names of the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as exquisite historical interiors and notable art collections
“Privileged access to some outstanding properties… [Cosmo Brockway] led our small group amiably and very ably displaying a passion, intelligence and eloquence for [his] subject. A wonderful and stimulating few days”
- ACE customer on a 2021 tour of Scottish country houses with Cosmo Samuel Brockway
Edinburgh and its surroundings are notable for their splendid legacy of historical houses, castles and palaces, including many fine properties dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. From a base in Edinburgh, we will take in a range of fascinating buildings, several of which reveal the work of some of Scotland’s foremost architects in the 18th century, including William and Robert Adam.
Our tour begins with an exploration of Edinburgh’s New Town, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, where the neoclassical architecture and spacious street layout speak of the values and ideals of the Age of Enlightenment, during which it was built. We will step inside the Georgian House on Charlotte Square, a beautifully restored New Town house featuring paintings and period furnishings, to set our exploration in context.
We will make several excursions outside the city, firstly to the Scottish Borders to pay a special visit to Thirlestane Castle. This magnificent 16th century structure has remained home to the Maitland family for over 400 years, and contains one of the most extensive collections of family portraits to be found in Scotland. With its rose-pink sandstone and turrets, and nestled in the rolling hills, Thirlestane has a romantic air that belies the fact it stands on a strategic site that has been fortified for over 700 years.
Also to be found in the Borders is Mellerstain House, a masterpiece begun in 1725 by William Adam and completed by his son, Robert, in 1778. Original Adam colours are preserved in the interiors, and the house also boasts an outstanding collection of art including works by Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Ramsay.
We also look forward to a visit to Scotland’s largest inhabited house, Floors Castle, in Roxburghshire. Home to eleven generations of the Dukes of Roxburghe, the castle enjoys delightful views over the River Tweed and the Cheviot Hills. Originally built in the 1720s by William Adam, it underwent several architectural changes over the intervening centuries, with embellishments added by Scottish architect William Playfair during the Victorian era.
Further highlights of our tour will include an exterior visit to the extraordinary Pineapple Folly, built in 1761 by the Earl of Dunmore as a summerhouse. Meanwhile, Marchmont House, recipient of the Historic Houses / Sotheby’s Restoration Award in 2018, is a magnificent Palladian mansion with fine interiors, including original Georgian plasterwork, and Arts & Crafts adaptations.
Our tour concludes with a visit in East Lothian to Newhailes House, a delightful Palladian building that was home to the Dalrymples, who were closely involved in Scottish Enlightenment circles in the 18th century.
We will stay throughout at the elegant three-star Parliament House Hotel, tucked away in a quiet location in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre.
Our Tour Director is writer and experienced tour leader, Cosmo Samuel Brockway. An author and travel and interiors journalist, Cosmo has written for many leading publications on culture and design, including Architectural Digest, and he is well acquainted with many of the finest private estates in England, Scotland and Ireland. Cosmo has led tours across the globe, and looks forward to returning to Edinburgh with another ACE group in 2022, to introduce them to this fine array of country seats.
Included: Accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, two lunches, three dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not Included: Travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £275.