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Borders ~ Abbotsford House

Borders ~ Abbotsford House


Sir Walter Scott’s Borders’ home is a paradise for gardeners

Abbotsford house and gardens 2.jpg

Abbotsford House

By Melrose, the Scottish Borders

During our weekend in the Borders, Sara and I went on a Big Red Bus tour. One of the stops was at Abbostford House, once the home of Sir Walter Scott, a literary giant in more densely worded times and the man who probably did more to ‘tartanise’ Scotland than anyone else. We decided to complete a couple of loops of the tour and then arranged to get off at Abbotsford as our last stop of the day.

With not much more than an hour left before closing time, we were advised to buy a ticket for either the House (interiors) or the Gardens and - given the blue skies and warm sunshine - the choice wasn’t tricky. Also - I’m no fan of Scott’s writing and didn’t think I could bear fusty writing desks and endless (endless) quotes from his rather turgid novels. Happily, staying outside was a most excellent choice because the gardens were stunning - mostly for their setting and scent but the range of planting and the variety of colour in Abbotsford’s gardens is fabulous, too.

Perhaps in reaction to Scott’s verbiage (!), there are few words in this post. It’s all about the images. You can click on any of them to enlarge my photos and really enjoy the beautiful setting and flowers of Scott’s home in the Scottish Borders.

Inside the walled garden

Inside the walled garden

Avenues of rose and lavender

The roses were SUBLIME with a mix of heady and delicate scents that were hypnotic and potent in the warm sunshine.

“The rose is fairest when ‘t is budding new,
And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears;
The rose is sweetest washed with morning dew
And love is loveliest when embalmed in tears.”
— Sir Walter Scott - Lady of the Lake

Reminds me of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, especially the Viewmaster version!

Having maximised our time in the gardens, we were the last people in to the cafe before they closed for the day. Staff were still welcoming (none of that pursed lip ‘if you must’ that too often accompanies you if you show up close to closing at tourist places) and we had fizzy water on the balcony in baking heat (sunburning level) overlooking the house and its magnificent grounds.

View from the cafe’s balcony, with a quote from Sir Walter Scott (inevitably)

Sara and I enjoyed Abbotsford’s gardens so much we have planned, next summer, to have our weekend away at the Hampton Court Flower Show. I am increasingly happy to potter around large public gardens and would love a rummage around the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh and Glasgow. We have Cambo just a mile up the road from us, which has a wonderful walled garden and restored Victorian greenhouse, and Kellie Castle’s gardens are also stunning and worth a visit. What public gardens are near you that you would recommend? Please let me know in the comments below.


The Tripographer’s notes

  1. Unslumping level? 10/10

  2. Would I go again? Oh, yes! It’s completely spell-binding. And, having paid once, l get in free. (See top tip,)

  3. Best time to go? Late Spring or Summer for the roses. The scent is transcendent.

  4. Best for? Garden lovers, history and literary buffs.

  5. Top tip? Buy your ticket online. And… pay once and get in free all year.

Buy: Yankee Candle ‘Fresh Cut Roses’ Large Jar. I’m sorry you can’t smell the exquisite Abbotsford roses online, but, based on the number of 5-star reviews it gets, this might be a ‘next-best-thing’!

More info about this place

Other posts about this place

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  • Cambo coming soon

  • Kellie Castle coming soon


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