Want to play at being a laird? This 2,000-acre estate will provide the right staging. Run by Michael Findlay and his partner Adrienne Eastwood (formerly at Skibo Castle), the sprawling historic house strikes that fine balance between stately and snug, decorated traditionally with antiques, oriental rugs and thick eiderdowns. With two dining rooms, drawn out dinners played out in front of roaring fires are par for the course. But what makes supper so special is that the rib of beef on your plate comes from their home-bred herd, served with horseradish plucked fresh from the walled garden. You’ll never be short of things to do here, from golf at internationally renowned courses to the estate’s established shoot, which is highly regarded for high-flying pheasants. That being said, you’d be equally content to just roam the spotless ten-acre garden, which has featured in numerous books and publications. It is managed by Shuggy, who has been working on the estate for over 50 years and will happily show you around. The main house sleeps up to 20 but the smaller and no less magnificent Garden House has four bedrooms and mimics the layout of the main house, which is just 250m away.
Name to Know: Hugh Sherry (Shuggy), who is head groundsman, and much more, has been working on the estate for over 50 years. Both Hugh’s parents and wife work on the estate. Ask him to take you around the gardens where he will tell you tales of old.
See: The Isle of Arran; a 45-minute ferry ride from Troon and fondly known as “Scotland in miniature” with its highlands and lowlands.
Eat: For a formal dinner in the dining room there’s nothing more delicious than a classic rib of beef from our own home-bred beef herd and served with a sauce of sharp homegrown horseradish straight from the Walled Garden.
Buy: Visit luxury cashmere weavers Alex Begg in Ayr. With a history going back over 150 years, buy an exquisitely soft cashmere throw dyed to perfection.
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