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27 Feb 2017

The Newhailes Revival

An artist’s impression of a new walkway at Newhailes.
An artist’s impression of a new walkway at Newhailes.
Visitors to Newhailes will see some changes in 2017/2018, as a project to revitalise the historic home of the Dalrymple family gets underway.

Newhailes is a rare 17th-century house set in an amazing survival of an early to mid-18th-century Rococo designed landscape. This was developed in the formative period of the ‘natural’ style in Scotland, laid out during the 1700s. For 300 years it was home to the Dalrymple family, a dynasty of lawyers and politicians who were influential in Scottish legal, political and cultural circles.

It has associations with the architect James Smith (c1645–1731) and the horticulturalist and garden designer John Hay (1758–1836). The estate was originally laid out to impress visitors and stimulate the senses. It contained a series of impressive garden features, including an atmospheric shell grotto, an elegant summerhouse, water gardens with water cascades combined with quieter, reflective pools, and a beautiful walled flower garden.

The gardens and designed landscape is one of the largest areas of woodland on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A wide variety of wildlife thrives within its boundary walls. Newhailes House & Gardens is listed in Historic Scotland’s Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory and includes A, B and C Listed Buildings.

Newhailes Revival Project

The National Trust for Scotland took on the care of Newhailes in 1997. The new investment represents the first phase of a programme of development, entitled the Newhailes Revival, which will ultimately restore and re-interpret major portions of the landscape and the house itself, as well as provide exciting new features and facilities for visitors. The project also highlights the history of the site, both its remarkable designed landscape and its important role within the Scottish Enlightenment.

The Revival Project includes the following:

  • Restoration of the ha-ha (a turfed incline provides a physical barrier while preserving uninterrupted views of the landscape)
  • Restoration of the historic doocot to include new interpretation aimed at families, along with landscaping that will provide visitor amenities and catering facilities
  • Repair and re-instate the D of the Flower Garden wall
  • Creation of the extensive Weehailes Playpark, specially designed for younger children and themed on the Newhailes story
  • Establishment of the Community Garden used for outreach
  • New visitor infrastructure and facilities
  • Exciting new arrival space, estate walks and visitor orientation, all of which present an opportunity to interpret Newhailes House and Gardens

Our ambition is to do nothing less than reawaken Newhailes and return it to the elegance and excitement of its Enlightenment heyday.

Why not come and find out more about the project and the history of the estate on site?

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