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Newhailes House & Gardens teacher information

Newhailes was acquired by the National Trust for Scotland in January 1997, and is an important example of a late 17th-century house (with impressive 18th-century additions) set within a designed landscape.

Newhailes has some of the finest rococo interiors in Scotland, an excellent collection of 18th-century portraits and many beautifully preserved items of furniture and textiles. The Trust has developed a conservation strategy based around preserving the untouched interiors of the house. This means that conservation work has been non-intrusive, changing the original materials and appearance of the house as little as possible.

The design of the estate remains much the same today as when it was first laid out, probably between 1721 and 1751. Newhailes was created in the fashionable style of the day: a pastoral scene interspersed with follies. Due to years of neglect, the follies fell into disrepair, but you can still see the remains of the shell grotto and other interesting landmarks in the landscape. Woodland and grassland habitats provide a wildlife haven in what is now a predominantly built-up area.

The school programme at Newhailes offers many opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence. The programme includes tours of the house and exploring the lives of the family and the servants that lived there.

Possible topics

  • The Scottish Enlightenment
  • The Georgians

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please phone Newhailes on 0131 653 1546.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Teachers are welcome to lead their own visits round the estate – but please contact Newhailes in advance to book.
  • Maximum class size: 15 for a visit to the house with at least 1 accompanying teacher per group (larger groups can be split and tours spread throughout the day).
  • House visits usually take place from Easter to September - special arrangements can sometimes be made for out-of-season visits.
  • Access: please contact us to discuss your requirements so that we can plan a suitable session. Further accessibility information is available on our Newhailes web page.
  • Parking: there is parking for coaches at the site.
  • Toilets: fully accessible toilets, for all pupils, are available in the stables courtyard.
  • Refreshments: there is a café in the stable courtyard. In fine weather, pupils are welcome to eat snacks/packed lunches at our picnic area. In wet weather, the glasshouse may be available – this must be confirmed when you book your visit.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There is no admission charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-members are welcome but there is 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

  • For visits to the house, your class will be split into groups of no more than 15.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Shop: pupils are welcome to visit the small shop if supervised by a teacher, in groups of no more than 5.

‘The children have learned an enormous amount about the natural world, animals, minibeasts and birds. They loved visiting Newhailes and really enjoyed all the activities.’ Teacher, Campie Nursery