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“Beautiful day in the Borders”
Review of Abbotsford House

Abbotsford House
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$14.40*
and up
Abbotsford the Home of Sir Walter Scott Admission...
Ranked #1 of 15 things to do in Melrose
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Perhaps nowhere else in the world can evoke the power of the romantic past more than Abbotsford, stunningly located on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. Abbotsford sits at the heart of the landscape that inspired the poetry and novels of its creator, Sir Walter Scott. Unlike the homes of other great writers, this is a house that the writer himself designed and as such uniquely embodies a physical representation of the Romantic Movement that he helped to create. When you touch the bricks and mortar of Abbotsford, you are touching the soul of Scott. Our new FREE to access Visitor Centre is home to a Stylish Restaurant, Gift Shop and Exhibition on the life and legacy of Sir Walter Scott.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We enjoyed a very relaxing journey down from Edinburgh through some stunning scenery. We never intended to visit the house, but were aware of the extensive work that has been carried out. We had read that there were various walks around the house and along by the river Tweed. We were also drawn to the on site restaurant! Firstly, there is good parking facilities now available. We went first into the visitor and purchased for £2 a map of the local walks. We chose one that went along by the tweed and up around the back of the house. Fairly easy going. The stretch in particular along by the waters edge was lovely. Finishing up back at the house, we went into the restaurant. Sitting outside, it had great views over to Abbotsford house itself. Service was perhaps a little on the slow side, however, everyone was extremely friendly and the positive way to look at it was that we didn't feel rushed! The food was very good. We had freshly baked scones with jam and cream and a large pot of tea. We thought the prices were very reasonable. We finished up by going through the gift shop. Some lovely, apparently Scottish made items for sale and a good selection. Thankfully tartan tat was pretty much banished. Overall, a great visit and one, in view of the positives mentioned, we would happily repeat.

1  Thank Qualityscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"sir walter"
in 120 reviews
"the river"
in 118 reviews
"the ground floor"
in 41 reviews
"audio tour"
in 85 reviews
"walled garden"
in 49 reviews
"well worth a visit"
in 73 reviews
"first floor"
in 16 reviews
"gift shop"
in 44 reviews
"dining room"
in 15 reviews
"his life"
in 21 reviews
"cafe restaurant"
in 14 reviews
"visitor center"
in 14 reviews
"great man"
in 13 reviews
"stately home"
in 13 reviews
"the study"
in 11 reviews
"self guided"
in 11 reviews
"mary queen of scots"
in 14 reviews
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Reviewed July 17, 2013

This beautifully restored home is set in a delightful and tranquil part of the Scottish Borders. The exterior of the house is stunning, however, only a few rooms on the ground floor are open to view. It is a shame that the master bedroom is not included in the tour. Whilst there are some interesting objects, i feel more could be made of Scott's personal items, including perhaps a costume or two, albeit displayed in a glass case. You can be in and out in 30 minutes tops, however, you are welcome to stroll in the grounds, dine in the wonderful restaurant and view the exhibition within the Gift Shop. Still worthy of a day out.

Thank 626Alicia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jason D, Manager at Abbotsford House, responded to this reviewResponded July 25, 2013

I am sorry you were disappointed that Scott's bedroom was not part of the public tour. Unfortunately all of the bedrooms were extensively remodlled in the years following the death of Scott and, to keep Abbotsford going, the family did have to sell many items that belonged to these rooms. As a consequence, the bedrooms have never been part of the public tour, since the House opened to the public in 1833. You will have also seen the stunning ceiling in the Library on your tour, this is a fragile plaster ceiling and so we have to restict footfall in the rooms above so as not to put it at risk. I hope you did enjoy seeing the new areas that we have made available to the public, inclduing the Breakfast Parlour (Scott's original Study) , which now houses changing exhibitions, and also the stunning passage, which for many years laid neglected as a chair store. Many thanks for your review and feedback.

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Reviewed July 16, 2013

They have made a very good job of restoring this property - the stonework that has been replaced is well finished and blends in with the older masonry. The inside of the property is a treat - I particularly liked the Chinese wall paper. The audio guide is imaginative and works a lot better than I expected. The view from the visitor centre is spectacular and the service and choice of food and drink is excellent - the toilets are modern and immaculate, the only thing that I dislike is the look of the visitor centre. To me - it looks like a Tesco Local plonked in the grounds of a beautiful house.

Thank BobI123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2013

Scott's house has been a literary pilgrimage site since almost immediately after his death. But it had closed for two years of restoration work (while the gardens and visitor center remained open), and had just re-opened on July 3 -- two days before our visit. The Queen was there for the re-opening, along with about 30 of the living descendants of Scott. An exciting time for us to be there.

The visitor center has an excellent, well-presented display of information and memorabilia of Scott's legal and literary life and career.

Thank CalRoamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 11, 2013

Ten million pounds spent but only a tiny fraction of Walter Scott's iconic house near Melrose is open to the public. On the plus side, the new visitors' centre is excellent.

Thank Andrew N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jason D, Manager at Abbotsford House, responded to this reviewResponded July 12, 2013

I am sorry you were disappointed with the House. After the restoration we have been able to open more rooms than before, including the architectural gem of the Property, the religious corridor and Scott's original study, where he wrote Ivanhoe and many other of his great works and which now houses a changing exhibition on Scott and his family. Combined with the Chapel, the Library, the Entrance Hall, the main study, The Chinese Drawing Room, The Armoury, the Dining Room, the Anti Room and the Chapel, we feel there is plenty for the visitor to see. These rooms have been restored to much of how they would have looked at the time of Scott's death and all 4,000 objects and 9,000 books have undergone a conservation programme. When combined with the free exhibition on Scott in the visitor centre, the Walled Gardens, the 130 acre estate and the walks around it, and the play trail, we hope visitors will find plenty to do and see. There is a new audio tour in the house, included within the admission price, and we have received positive feedback from many visitors about this and the rooms now on public display.

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