Hopetoun House is part of a large rural estate owned by the Lords Hopetoun since the late 1600’s. The house was originally designed by William Bruce before being altered and extended by William Adam. Though the family still live in the left wing of the house, guests are free to explore the right hand side of the building, which has been kept much the same as it was three hundred years ago.
First you will be directed to visit the oldest part of the house where William Bruce’s design can still be admired. This section of the house feels at odds with the more lavish rooms built by William Adam; demonstrating the change in taste, from bare, rustic wood paneling and carving, to silk wall paper, and Rococo plaster work. This earlier period shows plainer tastes, though it still has areas of lavish decoration, such as the central staircase, which is covered in wood carvings and painted murals. The tapestries upstairs have been preserved with a lot of their colour still in tact. Though they have faded considerably from what they would have been, you can still see shades of green, which often turn to blue as the light bleaches them.
Going away from the centre of the house, down the right wing of the building, you enter a different era. The rooms here are very luxuriant, designed to be the height of fashion for the Georgian period. According to one of the informative volunteers the new heirs of the family used the tried and tested begging father method, ‘Daaaaad please can we have a modern dining room. This one is like sooooo embarrassing’, or words to that effect.
After viewing all the rooms in the house we climbed the spiral staircase to the roof. There were a lot of stairs to get up there, but it is worth it for the view. You could see for miles from the top, taking in the Forth estuary, the Forth bridges, the gardens and grounds, open countryside, as well as towns, villages and ports. Coming back down from the roof we headed to the stable block.
The old stable block has been converted into a cafe serving lunches and afternoon teas, which are nice, if a bit pricey. There are also walks through the landscaped gardens, that might be pleasant when the weather has been dry, but the ground was boggy on our visit, and we were chased everywhere by flies. Apart from this Hopetoun House proved a tranquil morning out after the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh. The nearby village of Queensferry, bordering the Forth estuary, is also a pleasant place to while away some time.