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Fairnilee House

Galashiels, Scottish Borders

An imposing Edwardian mansion in a spectacular setting rising above the river Tweed, in the heart of Scott country.

Fairnilee House

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Overview

An imposing Edwardian mansion in a spectacular setting rising above the River Tweed, in the heart of Scott country.

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.

Property details

Lower Ground Floor

Please note that due to the topography of the land on which the house is built, this floor is at ground level.

Small lobby with space for outdoor boots and coats.

Playroom with a good selection of toys for younger guests. 

Cinema room with huge corner sofa, 86” cinema TV screen with surround sound, 3/4-size snooker table, log fire, seating area and French doors leading to terrace.

DVD library cupboard.

Large study with desk and storage.

Cloakroom with basin and WC.

Gym with rowing machine, weights and yoga mats.

Table tennis room.

Small bar with sink and shelving / storage.

Large, fully-equipped catering kitchen with Salamander, Buffalo griddle, two large Baumatic catering gas ovens each with 5-ring gas hobs, heated service counter with warming drawers, prep units, four sinks, dishwasher, catering-size fridge and freezer, and extensive catering equipment. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a cook for all or part of your stay.

Three walk-in larders, one with a catering freezer.

Laundry room with two sinks and commercial-size washer and dryer.

Ground Floor

Outer entrance hall.

Downstairs cloakroom with two basins, two WCs and hanging space.

Inner entrance hall.

Stairs leading to lower ground floor. 

Impressive main hall with original panelling and parquet flooring.

Drawing room with two 3-seater sofas and five armchairs, log fire and grand piano.

Dining room seating 16 guests with log fire, extensive dinner service and glassware and Alexa Smart Speaker.

Butler’s pantry leading directly to adjacent dining room with dumb waiter to catering kitchen below. Sink, dishwasher, freezer and tableware.

Second set of stairs to lower ground floor.

Breakfast kitchen with a four-oven Redfyre with two hot plates, large corner fridge, combination microwave oven, warming drawer, dishwasher, two-ring induction hob, boiling tap and larder. Dining area for eight with Digital Smart TV.

Library with log fire, two 2-seater sofas, card table, and an excellent selection of books, games and jigsaws.

Morning room with two 3-seater sofas, log fire, Digital Smart TV and seating.

Cloakroom with basin and WC.

Access to garage for storage of bicycles, golf clubs, fishing rods and other outdoor kit.

First Floor

The principal bedrooms on the first floor are set around a superb galleried landing.

Inchcape – bedroom one:

Outer dressing area with hanging space and storage, leading into a large bedroom with super king bed, dressing table, sofa and electric fire.

En suite bathroom with free-standing roll top bath with handheld shower, walk-in shower, heated towel rail, basin and WC.

Donald – bedroom two:

Super king four-poster bed, fitted wardrobe, chest of drawers, dressing table and electric fire.

En suite bathroom with bath with shower over, heated towel rail, basin and WC.

Craigmyle – bedroom three:

Super king bed, chest drawers of drawers, seating area, dressing table and decorative fireplace.  

Adjoining children's bedroom / dressing room with truckle bed, which can be set up as a sofa or used as either a single children's bed or twin beds, dressing table, fitted cupboards with hanging space and shelving.

En suite shower room with large walk-in shower, basin and WC.

Alexandra - bedroom four:

King size bed, fitted cupboards with hanging space and shelving (one of which opens to reveal a concealed dressing table with mirror), sofa and electric fire.

En suite shower room with walk-in shower, basin and WC.

Mezzanine Level

Family bathroom with bath with handheld shower, heated towel rail, basin and WC.

Second Floor

A second Alexa Smart Speaker positioned on the landing allows music to be heard through the main part of the house.

Thalia - bedroom five:

One metre wide (continental size) twin beds, fitted wardrobe with hanging space and shelving, sofa and electric fire.

Adjacent shower room with walk-in shower with rainforest showerhead, basin and WC.

The Ark – bedroom six:

Dormitory-style bedroom with four single 3’ beds, two of which are zip and link and can form a super king bed on request, dressing table, chest of drawers and privacy screen for dressing.

Outside

Adjacent to the house is a magnificent, fully-enclosed walled garden extending to approximately two acres with both formal and wildflower gardens, extensive lawns and the romantic ruins of the old house.

Leading out from the cinema room is a large terrace with outside dining furniture and a gas barbecue.

A badminton net on the site of an Edwardian tennis court is available for guest use.

There is extensive parkland and woodland surrounding the house. Guests are welcome to walk on the wider estate, avoiding fields where there is stock grazing. 

Parking

There is ample parking in the forecourt opposite the front door.

Babies & Children

A travel cot, mattress, highchair and changing table are available on request. 

Dogs

Three dogs are welcome at a charge of £25 per dog. Dogs must be kept to the lower ground and ground floors, and are not allowed on the furniture or on carpeted areas. Dogs must be clean and dry before entering the principal rooms on the ground floor.

Guest Amenities

Luxurious bed linen and towels are provided for all guests along with guest amenities. An electric fan and a hairdryer are provided in each bedroom.

Wi-Fi & Mobile Coverage

Fibre broadband is provided. Mobile coverage is poor on most networks but generally improves outside. A landline is provided for guest use.

Heating

The house has oil central heating throughout in addition to underfloor heating in all the bath and shower rooms, and log fires can be lit on request in the drawing room, morning room, dining room, library and cinema room.

Guest Privacy

Two flats in the far wing of the property are retained by the family for very occasional use. They have independent access and the owners fully respect guest privacy. 

There is a full-time House Manager / Gardener who lives on the estate and is on hand to assist with any queries, light fires and refill log baskets.

Fishing

Fishing on the Fairnilee beat can be booked through FishPal.

Location

The nearest shops and post office are in Galashiels (6 miles), including a number of large supermarkets and a Marks and Spencer Foodhall. Selkirk is also close by (6 miles) with more independent shops including Three Hills Coffee Roastery and monthly Farmers’ Market held on the first Saturday of each month.

For lovely shopping amidst picturesque surroundings, head a little further afield to Melrose (9 miles), one of the most picturesque towns in the Borders with an excellent range of independent shops selling fine quality food and drink including a quality butcher and fishmongers, a fresh fruit and veg shop as well as two small convenience stores. For coffee and cake, pop into Apples for Jam for a frothy cappuccino and a delicious buttercream sponge, or for evening dining, the Town House, Provender, Burts or Marmions all come highly recommended.

Alternatively, head to Peebles (16.5 miles) where a happy afternoon can be spent browsing the range of interiors, giftware, craft and boutique-style shops before a must-visit to master chocolatier Ruth Hinks at Cocoa Black, which will leave you in cake and pastry heaven!

A wide range of restaurants and bistros can be found in many of the surrounding towns to cater for every taste of dining. Abbotsford (5.5 miles) also has a visitor centre that offers a café and extensive gardens and tarmacked walks by the Tweed and into woodland. Or why not visit the taproom at Tempest Brewing Co. in Galashiels to enjoy some freshly brewed craft beer during their Tap Sessions on Fridays and Saturdays.

Finally, hop on the train in Galashiels for a short 50-minute journey up to the magnificent city of Edinburgh for a day trip to the historic Capital.

Activities

This area is a popular walking destination and there are a vast number of waymarked trails through lush woodland forests in the Tweed Valley, offering numerous wildlife spotting opportunities along the way. Yair Forest is just on the doorstep, which leads to the River Tweed, or nearby Glenkinnon and Thornielee forests both have lovely meandering trails. For longer hikes, the famous Southern Upland Way section from Traquair to Melrose passes through Galashiels. Start in Traquair and pass by The Three Brethren – three cairns representing a meeting point of three of the largest Scottish estates – and enjoy stunning panoramic views. Then descend through woodland towards Galashiels where you can stop for the night and enjoy the comforts of Fairnilee to rest and recharge. The next day you can attempt the next part of the route from the property, through the centre of Galashiels and leading to Melrose, passing by Abbotsford (the home of Sir Walter Scott). Finish off near the dramatic ruins of Melrose Abbey, the final resting place of the heart of Robert the Bruce.

For cycling, this area is a prime destination for road and mountain biking. Sustrans Tweed Cycleway (Route 1) also passes the property, while Innerleithen (10 miles) and the beautiful forest at Glentress (14 miles) are superb locations for mountain biking with trails to suit all ages and abilities. With an £8.5m visitor centre, Glentress also has a café, bike hire and instruction on offer but with some fantastic opportunities for walking and wildlife too. And for an exhilarating thrill 40 feet above the forest floor, there are zip wires and treetop adventures at nearby Go Ape (14.5 miles) which is sure to appeal to any teens in the party.

Visitors can stop off and see how fine ales are made in the grand historic setting of Traquair House (11 miles), Scotland's oldest inhabited house, based on ancient recipes dating back to the eighteenth century, or head to the visitor centre at Abbotsford (5.5 miles) for a peek into the fascinating history of Sir Walter Scott and see the home he built after leaving Ashiestiel.

Visit the Great Tapestry of Scotland gallery and visitor centre in Galashiels where you can discover the people’s story of Scotland through a compelling visual account of Scottish history, heritage, culture and innovation. The Tapestry is made up of 300 miles of wool (enough to lay the entire length of Scotland from the border with England to the tip of the Shetland in the North Atlantic), and in addition to housing the Tapestry itself, the building houses a café, a gallery for visiting exhibits and a workshop space giving people an opportunity to meet and learn from the makers.

If you are an avid fan of the royal and ancient game, the championship golf course at Cardrona (13.5 miles) sits in a breath-taking spot amidst the rolling Border Hills and presents an enjoyable challenge for both experts and the recreational player.

For fishing, the estate would be delighted to organise private salmon and trout fishing for guests. There are three-and-a-half miles of single bank fishing and approximately 20 pools available, offering a great variety, from fast water of the Gullet to the calmer waters of the Yair Boat pool. A dedicated Ghillie is available for fishing lessons and has an excellent knowledge of the river so can be on hand to advise of the best fishing pools within the beat. Please contact us in advance of your stay to arrange fishing through the estate.

Alternatively, Ashiestiel is a popular upper Tweed beat with two miles of right bank fishing and six named pools. This can be fished by six rods and includes a ghillie during the Autumn season and can be a productive stretch when the conditions are right. Availability and bookings can be made directly with FishPal, with other options available in the upper Tweed system all within a short drive of the property.

Despite its peaceful rural location, Edinburgh (38 miles) can be easily reached by car, or a Waverley Line train from Galashiels or Stow will take you directly into the city centre in under an hour. Here you can explore the fascinating architecture of the old town and soak-up the culture and heritage of this beautiful vibrant city. Wander the cobbled closes and narrow stairwells of the Royal Mile and Grassmarket; take a tour of the underground vaults of the old city; savour the atmosphere of the vibrant Edinburgh Fringe Festival or exceptional Jazz & Blues Festival (depending on the time of year); or visit its most famous landmark - the iconic Edinburgh Castle.

Children and families

Children and families

Here at Crabtree & Crabtree, we like to think we’ve pulled together some rather nifty ideas to keep tots to teens happy and entertained during your stay.

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Fishing

Fishing

Welcome to the realm of the king of fish, the mighty River Tweed. Every year thousands of Atlantic Salmon make their way up river, an annual odyssey that is one of nature's miracles.

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Classes at your holiday home

Classes at your holiday home

Enjoy art, cookery, photography, flower or chocolate classes or whisky tasting in the comfort of your own holiday home...

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Historic houses and castles

Historic houses and castles

With more stately homes, castles and historic sites here than you can shake a proverbial stick at, visitors are quite simply spoilt for choice.

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Wildlife

Wildlife

Our region is home to outstanding scenery which boasts emerald forests, pristine lochs and rivers, heathery hillsides, sweeping moorlands as well as a picture perfect coastline.

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Horse riding

Horse riding

Horse riding is intrinsically linked to the history and heritage of the area and goes right back to the 13th and 14th centuries where townspeople would ride the clan’s boundaries to protect their common lands. Thankfully our riding pursuits today are not quite so dramatic!

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Shopping, arts and crafts

Shopping, arts and crafts

We are extremely fortunate to have a region where independent shops are king, and to have an area flowing with creativity through its talents in arts, crafts and textiles.

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Walking

Walking

From the lush green uplands to shimmering sea, the area boasts a hugely diverse and enticing landscape that is perfect for exploring on foot. From gentle rambles to long-distance hikes, there are a vast array of trails and waymarked routes for newbie walkers or experienced alike.

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Golf

Golf

There are 40 golf courses in Northumberland, and another 21 in the Scottish Borders offering visitors an incredibly wide and varied range of golfing options.

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Adventure Sports

Adventure Sports

If you love a challenge or just crave a little excitement away from the day-to-day bustle of working life, we have lots to offer - whether it be watery pursuits, muddy blasts or thrill seeking, adrenaline-charged adventures.

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Cycling & mountain biking

Cycling & mountain biking

Whether you ride fast or slow, on-road or off-road, there is something uniquely special about enjoying some outdoor time on two wheels. Here in the region we have something for everyone from high-energy mountain biking blasts to gentle forest paths the whole family can enjoy.

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Shooting

Shooting

For sheer variety alone Northumberland and the Scottish Borders are irresistible to any gun.

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Ancestral history research

Ancestral history research

Crabtree & Crabtree know that tracing the history of your family can be a wonderful journey of discovery. Here are our top tips for starting your family tree.

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Spas and beauty treatments

Spas and beauty treatments

Everyone needs a little time-out to relax and for many that may involve a little pampering, the chance to experience new therapies, or simply some dedicated ‘me time’ to enjoy or practise disciplines which bring a sense of well-being and good health.

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Services

Cooks and chefs

Cooks and chefs

Make your stay hassle-free with your own personal cook

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Additional housekeeping

Additional housekeeping

Award yourself a real break and let us provide a pair (or more) of helping hands.

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Dog sitting

Dog sitting

Our experienced dog sitters will look after your furry friends whilst you are out exploring.

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Nannies and babysitters

Nannies and babysitters

Relax, explore the local area, enjoy a long lunch or a romantic evening out by hiring a fully qualified registered and experienced nanny or babysitter to come to your house.

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Wine delivery

Wine delivery

Crabtree & Crabtree have teamed up with Corney & Barrow one of the longest established independent Wine Merchants in the UK to offer a bespoke service.

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Beauty and spa treatments

Beauty and spa treatments

Everyone needs some pampering, whatever the occasion.

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Fresh flowers

Fresh flowers

Fresh cut flowers delivered to your holiday home.

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Holiday photography

Holiday photography

Family holidays, reunions and honeymoons kindle priceless moments that deserve preserving.

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Reviews

"I think this may be the perfect house for a perfect holiday. This was one of the first times our whole family have been together since pre Covid and we have had the best time with the best weather! Three generations of family and we've all come from different parts of England and the house now really feels like home after such a short time! Many thanks to Andrew for his help and walk recommendations.

I may be biased though, as my boyfriend proposed to me whilst we were staying here. 10/10 perfect, perfect, perfect. Can't wait for the next time!"

Curry Family

"One word - AMAZING! Fairnilee was absolutely fantastic. Beautiful, immaculately presented accommodation with something for everyone in terms of entertainment. We had a Goonies movie night in the cinema room (all 16 of us), table tennis competitions, lovely woodland walks in the grounds, den building, swanky dinner in the gorgeous dining room and every day ending with great sleep in the wonderfully comfortable beds. The house manager couldn’t have been more helpful. He was there to greet us on arrival to give us the guided tour and was available throughout the week. He regularly checked in to make sure we had everything we needed (were we warm enough, had enough logs etc) whilst being fully respectful of our privacy. A lovely lovely man. We will definitely be booking to stay again! Another fabulous holiday with Crabtree & Crabtree."

Bocking family

"We have had the most wonderful week, our first big family get together post Covid! The house is incredible, immaculately presented - everyone has been catered for, and with a group aged three to sixty eight, that's not easy! Andrew was tremendous! Thank you for making it such a magnificent week!!"

Dobson Party

"We had a great time thanks. It’s a tremendous house and we had a wonderful stay. V comfortable beds, and every possible implement and extra you could wish for."

Mrs Taylor

"What a beautiful house and grounds. We have had so much fun from snooker to table tennis, from walks to fishing.

Special thanks to Andrew for making us feel so welcome and attending to our every needs.

We take many happy memories and hope to see you again next year."

Makin Party
Location Rural - 7 miles from Galashiels.
Dogs
  • Three dogs are welcome at a charge of £25 per dog.
Arrival / Departure
  • Typical arrival day: Friday during high season but can be flexible on request.
  • Arrival time: 4pm
  • Departure time: 10am
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View of the garden and hills from Fairnilee House
The little things we love...
"My favourite part of the house is the original Edwardian fuse box in the main hall. It’s one of those quirks of the evolution of a home that it has remained intact and it’s absolutely fabulous!"
Emma Crabtree, founder of Crabtree & Crabtree
email us or give us a call on 01573 226711 for details.

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