The morning we went to “Paxton House”:http://paxtonhouse.co.uk/ there were tents up in the grounds and people getting ready for the Borders Bash Scooter Rally that weekend; looks like we timed our arrival just right to miss all the crowds. We had passed the house every day on our visit to The Borders, as it is not far from the cottage we had rented, and chose to visit it on our last day on our way home. There is ample parking at the house. We were in time for the 10:30 am house tour. We used our two for one gardens pass from Gardeners World magazine so the four of us got in for £22. Admission fees for the house and grounds are usually £7.20 for concessions and £8.10 for adults.
At the front of the house are fields with highland cattle grazing in the pasture. We had some time to look around and take photos of the front of the house before the tour started. Linda was our guide and she had many stories about the house and the family, the Humes. The house was completed in 1763 and was designed by John Adams. The architectural style is neo-Palladian. No pictures are allowed inside the house. The tour is about 1 ½ hours and starts in the kitchen at the far end of the building. It is easy to see how hard the staff would have worked despite the newest conveniences of the time. The very spacious and light drawing room is used as a gallery and there are paintings on exhibit from the National Galleries for Scotland. My favourite was a lovely John Everett Millais painting from 1881: “Sweetest eyes were ever seen” – a young girl in a flowered jacket and skirt holding a trug of flowers. From the upstairs bedrooms you have good views over the grounds towards the River Tweed. The furnishings are mostly Chippendale and you get a good idea of how the family lived in the house in the late 1700s. It is a lovely house to explore. With only a few of us on the tour, it was pleasant to walk around and view the different rooms without being part of a large horde being packed in as is the case in many public stately homes.
Although it was a cool and occasionally wet day, we went for a walk in the grounds following the Teddy Trail – you have to spot the teddies hiding in the shrubbery and trees. The wet weather only served to sharpen the colours in the garden. We walked across the croquet lawn, down the woodland path past the well garden and along the upper path past the children’s adventure park which was under a bit of construction before the summer season. If you want an extended walk you can go down to the river, past the net fishing and boat launch (river trips if you desire), then back through the woods to the far side of the property, past the caravan park and back towards the house.
We ended our visit with a turn around the gift shop and were very tempted by the lovely tweed purses and handbags.
If you want to stay at Paxton House there are a number of options: a garden apartment, the south lodge, and a caravan park.