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Dumfries & Galloway

Thomas Carlyle’s Birthplace

Childhood home of one of Britain’s most influential thinkers

Planning your visit

Please be aware that for the health and safety of visitors, volunteers and employees in our hospitality venues, we will record the name and contact details of everyone who enters in order to support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect. This information will be used to enable NHS Scotland to contact you should you have been in the venue around the same time as someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. We are obliged to process this data to comply with The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 11) Regulations 2020. Please see our Data Protection page for further information.

Further to this, in National Trust for Scotland non-hospitality settings, where there is either a pre-booking system in place or there is the potential for close contact (eg in some of our smaller properties), we will ask visitors to provide limited contact information. This is for the purposes of managing the number of visitors and also to support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect. For further information, please see our Data Protection page.


Pre-booking

We’re delighted to be able to reopen Thomas Carlyle’s Birthplace. COVID-19 has meant we have had to make some changes so that we can keep you and our staff safe when visiting.

We’ve introduced an advance booking system to help manage visitor numbers and maintain safe, social distancing. Members can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking.

There is a maximum number of tickets for each slot available each day, so please book in advance to avoid disappointment. No more than 6 people will be permitted in each slot, made up of no more than 2 household groups.

If you do not pre-book, we cannot guarantee entry to the property and you may be turned away; without booking, you travel at your own risk.

Book your time slot now


Dogs are not permitted in the house.

For more information about planning your visit please see our frequently asked questions.

If you’d like to speak to us we can be contacted by telephone: 01576 300050.

Facilities & access

  • There is rough paving between the parking spaces on the road and the cottage.
  • There is one step into the main room on the ground floor, and a steep flight of stairs up to two rooms on the second floor.

We have an ongoing programme of accessible content development. Detailed accessibility guides for the most visited Trust places are available on our Accessibility pages as well as links to useful resources.

We’d love you to visit the Euan’s Guide website to review the accessibility of Trust places and tell us (and others) what is good and where we need to do better.

Guided tours of the house last for 25 minutes, and the maximum capacity of groups is 15.

Cradle to Grave tour, daily at 1.30pm

The name Ecclefechan is believed to be derived from Brythonic language meaning ‘Little Church’ with the origins of the village dating back to around 1180.

Now a quaint, quiet countryside village, it was very different during Thomas’s childhood. The large hotel, previously a coaching inn, and wide streets were made to support the stagecoaches that would stop in the village from 1788 on a 403-mile journey linking Glasgow and London. Three coaches per week would stop in the village to rest during the six-day journey.

This village tour covers Carlyle’s life in the village, from his birthplace to his burial site. The tour moves up the High Street, describing what Thomas would have seen and experienced as a boy. At the top of the Haggs Hill we reach the Carlyle Memorial Statue, placed on the spot where his mother is said to have waved him off as he started his 84-mile walk to university. From here the tour heads down towards Carlyle’s grave, taking in the fields and hills and noting the start of the route that Carlyle would walk to and from school every week. From the Carlyle family burial site, the tour then makes its way back to the Arched House.

Large-print factsheets are available.

Pay & Display parking is available on the road, within 50m of the property.

What the Arched House lacks in size, it makes up for in cultural significance – it’s fascinating to see where this hugely influential man grew up.

Many of Carlyle’s belongings are still in situ, along with domestic items of the time, providing an authentic glimpse into Victorian life and a fascinating insight into Thomas Carlyle’s early years. There are also many photos and reproductions of paintings of Carlyle and his wife Jane, a famous 19th-century literary couple.

Factsheets in each room, along with knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, add insight to your visit.

After your visit, enjoy a wander round the pretty village of Ecclefechan and absorb the atmosphere that nurtured the ‘Sage of Ecclefechan’. There’s a great view from the top of the village, where there’s a replica of Boehm’s statue of Carlyle on the Embankment in London.

Touch tours are available – please book in advance.

Opening times

Birthplace

Please note that pre-booking is required. The house will also open on Mon 2 August for the bank holiday.

1 Jan–28 May 2021, closed Current period29 May–31 Aug, Sat & Sun, 10.00–16.00 1 Sep–31 Dec, closed

Entry prices

Birthplace
Adult
£4.00
Family
£10.00
One adult family
£8.00
Concession
£3.00

Members go free

At all Trust places, admission is free for members.

Join from £50