Holmwood teacher information

Holmwood was once a family home set within the village of Cathcart (now part of Glasgow). It sits within 5 acres of landscaped grounds that include a small kitchen garden planted with Victorian herbs, fruit and vegetables.

Built in 1857-8, Holmwood has been described as Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson’s finest domestic design. It was designed for James Couper who, with his brother Robert, owned Millholm Paper Mills on the banks of the River Cart. The architectural style of the house is a picturesque adaptation of the classical Greek style. Many rooms are richly ornamented in wood, plaster and marble.

The house later passed through several different owners and was a convent school for some years. The National Trust for Scotland took over Holmwood in 1994 and, since then, there has been a careful restoration of the building and its interiors.

The school programme at Holmwood includes a tour of the house led by Trust staff. Pupils may also use the garden. The house is suitable for Art and Design projects (for Second Level pupils upwards) - but since there is a small number of staff at Holmwood, these need to be teacher-led. Senior secondary school pupils may visit for portfolio work. For further information, please contact the property manager.

Possible topics

  • Scottish design and architecture
  • Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson
  • Wildlife and conservation
  • Classical history

Resources for schools

  • A virtual tour CD is given to schools that book a visit at Holmwood.
  • An illustrated guidebook can be bought at Holmwood.
  • A factfile on Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson is available.

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact Holmwood to arrange your visit.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Holmwood has limited opening times – please check with the property manager to arrange a time suitable for you.
  • Maximum class size: 33, with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils
  • Access: The house is fully accessible (there’s a lift to the upper floor), and the grounds are partially accessible to individuals with mobility impairment. Please contact us if you need more details. There is also further accessibility information on the Holmwood webpage.
  • Parking: parking is available for school buses/coaches at the side of the house.
  • Toilets: accessible toilets are available.
  • Refreshments: there’s not a café – but pre-booked tea and coffee can be provided for adults for a small charge. Pupils are welcome to eat snacks/packed lunches in the garden when the weather is fine. For conservation reasons, only light snacks can be eaten in the house.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for their visit.


  • There’s an admission charge of £2 per pupil.
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free.
  • Class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: please report to the ticket desk in the front entrance hall.
  • The tour of the house is led by Trust staff (pre-booked).
  • Depending on numbers, the class may be divided into groups – so the rooms are not too crowded.
  • Before touring the house, pupils can leave coats and bags in the kitchen area.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Photography is allowed but we ask for no flash photography to be taken inside the house.
  • Shop: there’s a small shop, which pupils may visit under teacher supervision.

If you prefer to print this information you can use this download. Please note that some of the information may now be out of date.