Since Summer 2011 members of the Civic Society have gained free entrance to several historic buildings participating in this new scheme, when accompanied by another guest who pays the entrance fee.
Berwickshire is particularly rich in fine historic buildings and it is always a pleasure to be able to show friends and family around on tours and visits. Now BCS members can return again and again, introducing different guests to their favourite buildings, at no additional cost to themselves. We are greatly indebted to the owners and managers of the participating buildings for their great generosity in taking part in this scheme, and the BCS hopes that members will repay their kindness by using the scheme at every opportunity, introducing many new paying visitors to Berwickshire’s great Castles and Houses.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 lock-down restrictions this summer, the offer of free entrance is temporarily suspended until normal opening times are resumed. The Society would like it’s members to support these historic buildings as much as possible in the present circumstances.
The Entrance Scheme members are:
Once described as a ‘Splendid Palace’ built by a smuggler, Gunsgreen House overlooks the fishing town of Eyemouth. Built in the 1750s for infamous local smuggler John Nisbet from the proceeds of his lucrative trade, to this day, Gunsgreen is still a House of Secrets. Designed by John Adam, the leading architect of the day, a series of interactive displays shows how his special adaptations allowed John Nisbet and his brother David to cheat the authorities for years.
Situated on the banks of the river Tweed, Paxton House is a hidden gem. Built by the Adam brothers in 1758 for the young Patrick Home it is perhaps the finest example in Britain of an 18th century Palladian country house.
Set in the Scottish Borders near Lauder, Thirlestane Castle has its origins in the 13th century. It was rebuilt as the Maitland family home in 1590 and greatly enhanced by the Duke of Lauderdale in the 1670s. In 1840, it was extended and refurbished with the addition of two new wings.
Manderston is the supreme country house of Edwardian Scotland; the swan-song of its era. This is a house on which no expense was spared with opulent staterooms, the only silver-staircase in the world and extensive ‘downstairs’ domestic quarters. It stands in 56 acres of formal gardens, with magnificent stables and stunning marble dairy. John Kinross the architect, when enquiring how large his budget was, was told that money was no object. It was built for Sir James Miller who married the Honourable Eveline Curzon, daughter of Lord Scarsdale, head of one of the oldest families in the country.