Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland, Newhailes is one of the most impressive 17th-century Palladian villas in Edinburgh, Scotland. It stands on 80 acres of parkland, home to peaceful woodland walks, and extensive structural and decorative detailing, and once one of the most impressive private libraries in Scotland, it is widely regarded as a prominent historical fixture in the Scottish Enlightenment.
Newhailes is a beautiful 18th-century villa set on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It was the home of the Dalrymple family for several centuries and has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland since 1997. Careful conservation techniques have frozen the property in time, preserving the house as it was when it was acquired by the Trust.
The house and the wider estate tell the fascinating story of over 300 years of history, touching upon the minutiae of family life as well as major international events. Over the centuries, Newhailes has played host to royalty, politicians, and major figures of the Scottish Enlightenment.
It was once famous for having one of the largest private libraries in Europe, and the incredible collection it contained remains one of the most important private collections in Scotland. The contents of the library were offered to the National Library of Scotland instead of death duties in the 1970s, and the library now stands bare.
Explore more than 300 years of history at Newhailes with an expert guide.
Lady Antonia Dalrymple donated Newhailes to the National Trust for Scotland in 1997 after occupying just a few rooms on the house's first floor. The Dalrymple family had owned the house and estate for nearly 300 years, but from the late 19th century a steady decline set in, accelerated by the two World Wars and the increasing burden of inheritance tax.
Weehailes, an adventure play park, has been specially developed for younger children and is themed on the Newhailes story. Inspired by the story of the house and its important role in the Scottish Enlightenment, the play park has a book-related theme centred around the ‘library’, complete with stained glass windows. Turrets, slides, and high-level walkways provide lots of opportunities for children to explore and have fun! The play area is designed for children aged 3–12 but children aged 0–15 are admitted.
Situated in 34 hectares of parkland and woodland, the estate was originally laid out to impress visitors by stimulating their senses. It once contained a series of impressive garden features, including an atmospheric shell grotto, an elegant summerhouse, water gardens with water cascades combined with quieter, reflective pools, and a beautiful walled flower garden.
Today, Newhailes Estate is still as impressive as it was 300 years ago. It continues to offer unspoiled views across the River Forth, and several footpaths are leading around the estate for all to enjoy. It’s home to a wide range of Scottish wildlife, with over 60 species of bird found here. These include blue, great, and coal tits; chaffinches; bullfinches; chiffchaffs; and nuthatches. We’re also lucky to have a pair of barn owls, woodpeckers, and bats.
Farmers and Fields
The fields have been historically farmed and grazed, creating an environment in which wildlife can flourish.
The small apiary, which is nestled in a quiet space will create a superb food source for these amazing bees. Educational visits for children and adults are also run, inspiring new generations.
Jurassic Encounter is a must-see family event, an interactive installation of 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs from the Jurassic, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods.
Each dinosaur has robotic movements, which include arms moving up and down, tails swaying side-to-side, heads moving up and down, eyes blinking and jaws opening wide with realistic roaring sound effects. All this makes for a truly awesome walk-through experience!
Jurassic Encounter is as educational as it is entertaining and offers the perfect day out for children and adults. Visitors will walk through grasslands and woodlands and come face-to-face with snarling, roaring, and hissing dinosaurs among the trees, bushes, and woods.
Food and Drink
After enjoying all that Newhailes House and Estate have to offer, you can treat yourself to a delicious lunch in our recently renovated Stables Café. We serve a range of tasty soups, sandwiches, and sweet treats – there’s something to please all the family.
A well-paced tour, full of interesting facts, shall bring the story of the building and the family alive. Overall a fantastic place to go for a family tour.https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/newhailes/