When thinking of Scottish writers, the name Robert Burns will probably spring to most people’s minds. But this month the spotlight has been shining on another of Scotland’s great writers – Sir Walter Scott, author of such romantic classics as Waverley, Ivanhoe and Rob Roy. A literary superstar of the late 18th and early 19th century, surprisingly, Scott does not enjoy the same iconic status as his contemporary. While Burns was voted the country’s favourite Scot in a 2009 poll conducted by STV, Scott wasn’t even included among the nominees. However all that could be about to change with re-opening of Abbotsford, the writer’s beloved home which overlooks the River Tweed near Melrose.
Following a multi-million pound revamp, Her Majesty The Queen officially re-opened the historic house and its stunning new visitor centre on 3 July with around 500 special guests in attendance including descendants of the writer from around the UK and overseas.
Visitors will now have the chance to see inside the writer’s beautiful restored study, formerly closed to the public, and view a vast collection of artefacts. See the gun, sword and sporran of the real Rob Roy MacGregor, a silver urn gifted to Scott by Lord Byron, visitor books containing the signatures of famous guests including Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens and Ulysses S. Grant, and much more.
Located beside the house is the state-of-the-art visitor centre which contains a stylish restaurant, gift shop and exhibition space displaying more of Scott’s personal effects and original manuscripts which shed further light on his creative genius and important cultural legacy.
Start planning a visit to Abbotsford now and discover the man who single-handedly re-invented the image of Scotland as a romantic land of swashbuckling, tartan-clad Highlanders which still manages to captivate the modern imagination.