House - Scotland Isis
Basnayaka presents the estate of the Duke and Duchess of
House, the East Lothian Scotland estate of the Duke
and Duchess of Hamilton has been renovated to offer
an exclusive stately residence to private guests;
so when given the chance to explore the estate in
Scotland I jumped at the opportunity of experiencing
high living, great activities and fine cuisine with
My journey started with a BA flight to Edinburgh, a chance
to see how the airline was faring given the recent media
catering left much to be desired, the English breakfast
looked unappealing and tasted exactly like it looked. A
significant delay on the runway made me momentarily think
I was on a budget airline. Upon arrival, I was relieved
to discover that Lennoxlove have their own helipad. BA redeemed
themselves though on the return leg, the staff were friendly
and the Thai chicken salad was full of flavour. The journey
felt like a quick trip across London.
The striking Lennoxlove house is a 20 mile drive from the
airport. Secluded luxury greets you on arrival with acres
of parkland as you step out of the car into the quiet surroundings
with the beautiful view of the hills in the distance.
Lennoxlove House provides an inspiring past that is intertwined
with Scotland’s rich, vibrant and at times violent
history. The house holds a remarkable collection of art,
political and historical artefacts of Hamilton, Maitland
and Blantyre families.
The extensive art collection holds Van Dyck, Kneller, Raeburn
and Gaudi. Having only been aware of Gaudi’s mosaic
pieces I was drawn to the portrait by him of the fourteenth
Duke of Hamilton. The portrait was surrounded by iconic
moments in his life, such as being the first pilot to fly
over Everest. There are so many beautiful pieces that it
is almost too hard to pick a choice few. My favourite was
Mary Queen of Scot’s death mask and the sapphire ring
which she bequeathed to the Duke of Hamilton on her death.
An exceptionally exquisite piece was the eight hundred year
old four poster bed made out of dark wood; this was the
bed used by the late Queen Mother when she visited!
The house has been lovingly restored and brought into the
present day while staying true to its original architecture
and design. I was surrounded by sumptuous understated luxury.
At Lennoxlove guests are able to access and use any part
of the house. The blue sitting room holds a Chopin piano
which is adorned with numerous family photos. Open the double
doors of each room and you can see through the length of
the house, an early French design feature. On display throughout
the house are gowns worn at significant events and objects
such as the map Rudolph Hess used when flying solo from
Germany for a supposedly rumoured meeting with the Duke
of Hamilton. I was constantly reminded of the importance
of the house and the people who lived in it.
While touring the house, the great hall was left out so
that when entering we would find it in all its glory. We
were not disappointed. The space felt magical bathed in
candle light, living up to what you would imagine a great
hall to be like. The dining room was elegantly laid with
a modern feel and blended in effortlessly with the original
imposing exposed stonework.
All bedrooms are unique and are complemented with antiques
from the Hamilton collection. Each room is provided with
a wee dram of Lennoxlove whiskey. All the rooms are fully
equipped with a king sized bed, high speed internet and
a flat screen television which manage to blend in with the
style of a stately home.
The bathrooms are extremely spacious and light. Guests can
extravagantly experience a bath in the claw-footed bathtub
with views of the grounds. Luxuriating with the Penhaligon
toiletries was pure pleasure!
As Lennoxlove is to be treated as a home there is no room
service but a butler’s pantry is available and fully
stocked for late night snacks.
This is the historic house where the late Queen Mother visited
any if you choose the Lady’s Bower room, you will
be sleeping in Mary Queen of Scot’s 16th century bed!
I stayed in the Duke and Duchess rooms. Adjoining the two
bedrooms was a living area which must have once been a nursery
or playroom as there were worn and well-thumbed children’s
books in the bookcases. While exploring the rooms what I
thought was a cupboard in the Duke’s room was in fact
a historic toilet – thankfully there was a sign stating
it was not for use!
The gourmet cuisine served at the estate was provided by
Heritage Portfolio one of Scotland’s premier caterers.
Their clients include the Queen. The cold buffet held a
delectable choice of cold meat and fish. The smoked salmon
was such a pleasure and the cold beef was perfectly pink.
The freshly made sauces held the right tanginess.
Our dinner exquisite was succulent monkfish and capers which
complemented it beautifully. The dessert came in two parts;
the first, mixed berries with alcoholic elderflower cordial
and the second, a chocolate covered ice cream ball –
both were delightful. A wonderful end to a fantastic dining
experience set in a stunning space, eating fine cuisine
and having great conversation.
Breakfast exceeded my expectations. They serve both continental,
English and Scottish breakfast. The choices were mouth-watering
and I wished that I could have managed a little of everything!
Other guests had ordered the full English and Scottish breakfasts.
I had food envy for a moment until my scrambled eggs with
salmon arrived. It tasted perfect and the portions were
more than ample.
The staff at Lennoxlove are a close knit family –
they are there to look after your every need. The staff
have intimate knowledge and provide you with stories to
the photos and ornaments. They made it the exceptional visit
it was. You will interact with the same staff throughout
which is important when in stately surroundings where you
could so easily feel daunted. They really do provide the
“home comfort feeling” on which the house prides
Scotland is known for golf. The house is connected to the
exclusive Renaissance golf club. The Renaissance are neighbours
to the world renowned Muirfield golf course and hold stunning
views of Firth of Forth and the City of Edinburgh. Nick
Faldo and Jay Hass have endorsed the up and coming golf
club. Renaissance prides itself on not having tee off times.
A certain handicap is required to guarantee the perfect
golf experience. By staying at Lennoxlove you may use the
course via invitation.
If you are not a golf fan, Maxmillion Adventures provide
quad biking, off-road driving and clay pigeon shooting.
The guys looking after us were great. We could partake in
every event – even the off road driving where two
of us had never driven! Not only was the guide really patient
with us but they gave us open rein, though thankfully they
had the ability to stop us at any moment!
After having such a fantastic time in the Landrover I could
not wait to get on the quad bikes. The previous group return
mud sodden we thought it best to wear the protective gear.
We went down steep slopes (well they were to me!) and splashed
through the stream before heading back to the house at speed.
A fantastic afternoon!
Lennoxlove House is an estate which you will not want to
leave. There is so much to do whether it be exploring the
grounds, playing a round of golf on a soon to be world renowned
golf course or just enjoying the art and history. The house
provides a small glimpse of what it must have been like
growing up here. You get the sense of a home which for generations
partook in dinners, birthdays and Christmases. It would
have been a shame if the house had stayed as personal estate.
I felt privileged to be able to experience some of the Scottish
magic it holds.
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