While on a work trip in Scotland, I was able to visit the historic home of Sir Walter Scott and I wanted to share a bit about my experience. To give you a little background, Abbotsford house was built for Scott and is about an hour outside of Edinburgh. It’s best described as a castle-like manor sitting on about 100 acres of land, along the banks of the River Tweed.
You can access this historic sight by car (free parking) or by taking a train to Tweedback station and either walking or taking a bus from there. For some helpful info on how to navigate yourself there from Edinburgh, check out this website here.
Although the house was completed in 1824, Scott wanted the property to have all the historical feel, which is why it is designed with small towers and high garden walls as an older fashion. Despite its look, this house was quite modern for its time and even had gas lighting when it was first finished!
Less than 10 years after the house was completed, Scott died in 1832 of typhus. The house was open to the public the following year after Scott’s death but his ancestors continued to call Abbotsford House their home until 2004! Scott’s relatives now live in a more private home, still on the property, but set back from the main house. As you can imagine – thousands of tourists visiting your house daily can get especially tiring.
Another interesting aspect of this house, is the Old Tolbooth door built into the side. Typically a door is meant to lead somewhere, but Scott intentionally put solid brick behind the door. The Old Tolbooth was once a jail where prisoners were punished or executed in Edinburgh. Our guide explained that Scott didn’t want another person to have to walk through that door to their death, which is why it’s completely blocked off.
Scott was a collector of books, artifacts and weaponry which is evident as you tour the house. It doesn’t take long to see the rooms, or walk the gardens of the estate so you only need to give yourself a morning or afternoon here. There is even a visitors center near the parking lot where you can grab a bite to eat if you’re hungry.
If you purchase your tickets to Abbotsford House online, you’ll save 10% and any time waiting in line. It costs 11.20 pounds for an adult ticket, including entrance to the house, gardens and chapel. To learn more about purchasing your tickets online, check out this link here.
Even though I visited Abbotsford House without knowing much about author Sir Walter Scott, I found the architecture, historical artifacts and grounds to be alluring. It’s a great place to go if you have a little extra time in Edinburgh and are looking to get outside the city.
Stay tuned for our next post about Melrose Abbey, another day trip from Edinburgh!