On my recent trip to the Scottish Borders I was fortunate enough to have one of those spectacular and memorable experiences which occasionally come with being a travel blogger, which I assure you isn't normally as glamorous as you might think. Although staying at the Hope Scott Wing of Abbotsford House is every bit as glamorous as you might think!
An extension to the original private home of Sir Walter Scott and the former living area of his descendants, it has now been refurbished and opened as luxury accommodation. Available on a self catering basis for up to 15 people, it is possible to hire all or part of the wing for yourself. There is also a bed and breakfast option, subject to availability.
I stayed here along with my fellow Scotlanders as part of our Borders Railway campaign and it's fair to say we were all lost for words, which was definitely a first for our normally chatty group. On arrival we were taken on a tour of our accommodation by the fantastic and passionate House Manager, Marianne. We followed her around excitedly on a goggle eyed tour of our private wing, in amazement at the number of lavish rooms we had to ourselves.
Decorated with some of the family's belongings, furniture and artwork, the whole place has an authentic and historical feel which at times makes you wonder if you have actually stepped back in time or onto the set of a period drama.
Sympathetic grand design and modern convenience is how I would best describe the decor and facilities. The seven luxury en-suite bedrooms are individually designed with period style pieces and furniture while the HUGE bathrooms have modern roll-top baths and walk-in showers.
There is Wi-Fi throughout and although some might appreciate a TV within the bedrooms, I would have personally been happy to do away with mine as it felt too out of place in the stately surroundings!
My own bedroom was literally fit for a princess and named after one, the Queen's aunt, Princess Alice to be precise. One of many notable visitors and distinguished guests that also included Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens. Incidentally, Queen Victoria was so impressed that she chose to model her own home in Scotland, Balmoral Castle, on Abbotsford’s Scottish Baronial style.
As myself and fellow Scotlanders had use of the full wing, we rarely spent time in our bedrooms. Instead you could find us wandering (often lost!) through the maze of rooms, corridors and staircases that make up the 3 floors of the Hope Scott Wing. An extravagant drawing room complete with piano, an atmospheric reading room full of Sir Walter Scott books (also known as Scotlanders blog HQ), a huge formal dining room and a billiard room are just a few of the places you can while away the hours.
If you manage to successfully navigate the staircases and corridors to find your way outside again, there is a private courtyard to enjoy or you can take a stroll in the surrounding gardens. If you want to stretch you legs further, there is a network of estate paths. I enjoyed a quiet woodland walk which started on the other side of the main road, through a gate and along a tree lined path.
The Hope Scott Wing was created as a private family space after rooms in the main Abbotsford House were opened to the public shortly after the death of Sir Walter Scott. Still open to visitors today, this is a real historic gem which provides a proper insight into the life of one of Scotland's greatest writers. If you are staying here then a visit to the main house is a must.
His magnificent collections alone will amaze but it is his study that I found the most interesting. I could easily imagine him tip toeing down the direct passageway from his bedroom that allowed him to get up early and begin his writing without disturbing the rest for the house, then browsing his library before settling down at his desk. If ghosts do exist then I'm sure his will still be roaming his study hours after the day tours end!
Next door to the Hope Scott Wing there is a small Catholic Chapel, added in 1855, you can visit for free during the day.
You really are staying in the midst of the landscape that inspired Scott in his work and that alone makes this location unique and special.
On the banks of the River Tweed and within picturesque grounds, this is a great base for exploring the Scottish Borders as it is centrally located for many of the main towns including Melrose, Selkirk and Galashiels. It is also only a 20 minute walk from the new Tweedbank station which forms part of the new Borders Railway line to Edinburgh.
WHAT MAKES A STAY HERE SPECIAL?
In my opinion the unique historic experience is a special enough reason to stay here, however as you would expect from such quality accommodation, almost every reasonable wish can be catered for. Private butler, personal chef, outdoor pursuits, spa treatments and private guided tours of Abbotsford House are just some of the optional extras. Of course weddings are not a problem and the four poster room is perfect for a romantic honeymoon!
I was honestly surprised at how reasonable the cost of staying here is and actually think they are seriously undercharging! The upside means us poor mortals with a modest bank balance can actually afford to stay here, happy days! Even better there are currently late availability offers when you book direct on a self catering basis, even happier days!
To find out more about staying at the Hope Scott Wing and their current offers visit their website at
“A MUSEUM FOR LIVING IN”
is how Sir Walter Scott described Abbotsford and a stay at the Hope Scott Wing continues to embrace his legacy.
Visit Scotland arranged my stay at the Hope Scott Wing as part of the Scotlanders campaign to promote the new Borders Railway, however, as always all my opinions are definitely my own!
You can read more blogs about my weekend exploring the area here and you can also follow all of the Scotlanders blogs, travels and social media updates on Twitter @Scotlanders or on our website
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