Top 10 Scottish treasures
From fantastical castles to Victorian country houses, Scotland is home to some spectacular architecture.
From a palace that was a 'holiday home' for the royal Scots, to a treasure trove of Chippendale furniture, these remarkable buildings are fascinating both inside and out.
Lovingly restored and preserved they provide an insight into the lives of their rich and famous inhabitants of centuries gone by, some even had their own tennis courts and swimming pools.
Virtually unchanged since it was completed in 1626, this magnificent Jacobean castle rises from Aberdeenshire's rolling hills, the distinctive pink exterior and curved spires giving it a fairytale aesthetic. The interiors, complete with stunning 17th-century plaster ceilings, are furnished with beautiful original woodwork. The upper floors remain without artificial light meaning the castle's art collection is seen in the shifting light from the sun, as they would have been when they were made. The castle closes for winter, however the grounds are open dawn until dusk all year round.
This charmingly asymmetrical house was created by esteemed Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Designed with painstaking attention to detail inside and out, with an exterior form that follows the interior design, Hill House is one of the greatest examples of 20th-century Scottish domestic architecture. The building is currently covered by a chainmail box to protect it, and help the house dry out from, water damage.
In the late 18th century, when the wealthy of Edinburgh migrated from the fading glory of the Old Town to the emerging splendour of the New, many of them took residence in town houses like this. Designed by Robert Adam and filled with period treasures, Georgian House is a fascinating insight into the past both above and below stairs, with the kitchen and servants’ room giving a glimpse of the life of the staff who ran the house.
Set in 2,000 acres of land, Dumfries House is one of Britain's most beautiful stately homes. The interior boasts a treasure trove of 18th century furniture, including items specially made for the house by Thomas Chippendale and three outstanding Scottish furniture makers – Francis Brodie, William Mathie and Alexander Peter. The entire house and its contents were saved from sale in 2007 with help from the Art Fund's grant.
While many renovated country houses can feel impersonal and sterile, Newhailes retains the warmth of a house which was once a well-loved home. One of the focal points of the Scottish Enlightenment, its original library was described by Dr Johnson as 'the most learned room in Europe'. Set among landscaped grounds with views over the River Forth, Newhailes has retained much of its original decor including 18th century Chinese wallpaper and Italian marble fireplaces.
The privately run family home of the noble Buccleuch family is also host to the spectacular Duke of Buccleuch art collection. Visitors can admire paintings by Rembrandt, Leonardo, Gainsborough and more alongside thousands of ceramics, miniatures, objets d'art and a huge collection of silverware. Outside the house be sure to wander the Southern Terrace with its stunning views across the Ettrick Valley.
The private home of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl, Blair Castle dates back to the 13th century, although it was substantially remodelled during the Georgian and Edwardian periods and now presents an appropriately Scottish baronial face to the world. Inside, rooms filled with paintings and fine furniture, arms and armour, porcelain, embroidery, tapestry, Masonic regalia and Jacobite relics conjure up different episodes in Scottish history.
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