Set in 380 acres of early-Edwardian landscaped gardens, wildflower gardens, park and woodland
The house is approached by three magical drives, a long, tree-lined avenue from East Lodge, an historic route from the south shaded by ancient beech trees and a drive from Bogle Lodge through the densely wooded Crow Plantation, leading to a grand gateway, with a dramatic S-bend bringing you face to face with Fairnilee House.
The Scottish Baronial mansion, with its corner towers, crow-stepped gables and red sandstone dressings encrusted with gargoyles, was designed by the Glasgow architect John James Burnett and is perhaps his best work in this style. A high screen wall punctuated by elaborate cast-iron gates links the 1904-5 mansion to the romantic ruins of Old Fairnilee, dating from 1600 – a notable feature of the wonderful Edwardian walled gardens. Beyond the gardens, there are many acres of stunning woodland and parkland. The Southern Upland Way runs through the middle of the estate.
The house is rich in original period features and decorated with floral fabrics, vibrant wallpapers and bright paint colours, reflecting its Edwardian heritage. In a house of this quality and scale, it is hard to select standout features, but the main hall and galleried first-floor landing are truly resplendent with original wood panelling and intricate carvings. Also notable is the double-aspect drawing room, with its towering 24-pane sash bay windows.
Comprising a country-style kitchen with dining table, formal dining room, drawing room, morning room, library and cloakroom, the ground floor delivers more than enough space for large groups both to enjoy company and seek out blissful isolation. Further to this, however, the lower ground floor offers a large cinema room with an open fire, three-quarter size snooker table and French doors leading to the spacious terrace and gardens, as well as a study, children’s playroom, table tennis room, gym, professional catering kitchen and laundry room.
Moving upstairs, four principal bedrooms lead off from the galleried first-floor landing. Each of these large, en-suite rooms offers its own charms: the grand Inchcape boasts a splendid bathroom with a free-standing rolltop bath and walk-in shower; Craigmyle affords sweeping views over the gardens from its large, triple-aspect windows and features an adjacent dressing room/children’s room; Donald features a romantic four-poster bed, and pretty Alexander has a cleverly concealed dressing table.
A further staircase with carved handrail leads to a mezzanine level with a family bathroom and then up to the second floor, which is home to the spacious twin bedroom, Thalia, with an adjacent bathroom and the dormitory-style bedroom, The Ark. This is the ideal spot for children, with four single beds, two of which can be configured as a super-king bed on request.
It is not just indoor space that Fairnilee has in spades - adjacent to the house is an enclosed walled garden extending to approximately two acres, bursting with formal and wildflower gardens, a fruit cage and extensive lawns. A large terrace, accessed from the cinema room, leads out to these magnificent gardens and makes the perfect sheltered place for al fresco dining with outside dining furniture and a gas barbeque. Guests are welcome to enjoy a game of badminton (you’ll find the net set up on the site of the original Edwardian tennis court) and to explore the parkland and woodland surrounding the house during their stay.