Dumfries House | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Dumfries House

East Ayrshire, Scotland, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

16 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Dumfries House

Dumfries House is a beautiful Palladian stately home in Scotland, particularly noted for its collection of original 18th-century furniture. Visitors can explore its exquisite interiors and picturesque gardens, with sights to delight all ages.

Dumfries House history

Although previous structures existed at the site, the house as we know it today was built in the 1750s for William Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries. The architects were Scottish brothers John and Robert Adam, who developed the 18th century ‘Adam style’ of neoclassical interior design, with their work including Edinburgh City Chambers and Hopetoun House in West Lothian.

Dumfries House remained a private residence until 2007, when it was announced that the house would be sold and its contents auctioned off separately. This encouraged outcry from preservationists who wished to see the house kept in its entirety.

Later that year, campaign member James Knox gave an ‘impassioned impromptu speech’ about Dumfries House at one of the Prince of Wales’ conferences at Holyrood House in Edinburgh. Following this, the estate and its entire contents was purchased for £45m by a consortium headed by Charles, and a trust was established to maintain it.

Dumfries House today

Dumfries House is now open to the public all year round and offers guided tours around its impressive interiors. These tours showcase both the architecture of the house as well as the collections of art, antiques and in particular the furniture of Thomas Chippendale, a leading 18th century Scottish cabinet maker.

The gardens also feature a host of fascinating things to explore, including the vibrant Queen Elizabeth Walled Gardens that house a number of plants, terraces, and greenhouses. Other highlights include the recently-restored 17th century dovecot and picturesque Chinese Bridge, a late 19th-century crossing of the Lugar Water.

The surrounding estate is also open to walkers daily from dawn to dusk, and the remains of Terringzean Castle may be viewed there, dating back to the 14th century.

Getting to Dumfries House

Dumfries House is located in East Ayrshire in southwest Scotland, with access via the A70 and parking available at the site. The nearest bus stop is at the Baron Rd entrance on the B7036, 1 mile from the site, while the nearest train station is at Auchinleck, 2.5 miles away.