Paxton House and Berwick-upon-Tweed

Welcome to England

Because of the way the border runs, when we travelled from our holiday home in Lower Burnmouth to Paxton House we crossed into England and back into Scotland again. Here I am on the way down crossing into the country, and indeed the county (Northumberland), of my birth.

Paxton House was designed by John and James Adam in 1758 and built between then and 1766. The National Gallery of Scotland describes it as “perhaps the finest example of an eighteenth-century Palladian country house in Britain”. It has extensive interiors (c1773) by Robert Adam, as well as furniture by Thomas Chippendale. In 1811, the Edinburgh architect Robert Reid added the largest purpose-built picture gallery in a Scottish country house which today contains paintings from the National Galleries. Visiting is by guided tour only and no photography is allowed.

However, there is plenty to photograph outside with 80 acres of grounds, gardens, riverside and woodland.

The engineer enjoyed visiting the old waterworks.

I preferred the children’s Fairy Trail …

… and the sculpture by Julia Hilton – Entrances, inspired by the stages of an opening bud.

Paxton has a good café in the old stables which we used for morning coffee and lunch. When we had exhausted its delights we decided to stop off in the Northumbrian town of Berwick-upon-Tweed on the way back to Burnmouth. We liked the sign on the wall of the carpark wall, showing that it had originally been the cattle market, and this rather less than pleasant street name.

Berwick was founded by Anglo-Saxons and for hundreds of years was affected by border wars between the Kingdoms of England and Scotland. Possession of Berwick changed hands several times until 1482 when Richard of Gloucester retook it for England. It’s a traditional market town and also has some notable architectural features, in particular its medieval town walls, its Georgian Town Hall, its Elizabethan ramparts, and Britain’s earliest barracks buildings, which Nicholas Hawksmoor built (1717–21) for the Board of Ordnance. We set off to walk the walls and ramparts. Here are some highlights.

Part way round, we spotted this lovely little car. Such a pretty colour – and two days later we would spot it again.

Having stopped at the English border on the way out, we had to stop on the other side of the road as we returned. Welcome back to Scotland!



  1. Ah, so those are bears on the cattle market sign. I was puzzling over them thinking they were big dogs (definitely not cows). What a beautiful along the the old city walls.



  2. Thanks for the tour round the beautiful grounds of Paxton House – I would have loved the fairy trail too! Have never been to Berwick on Tweed – it looks a charming and pretty place and so peaceful though obviously this wasn’t always the case!


  3. Great post and brings back such memories of Berwick which we visited last year. Walked the walls right round the city and had a fabulous day exploring. Interesting place crammed full of history.


  4. I love the interiors in Osterley House, which Robert Adam designed (that Etrsucan room!), so I bet the interiors here were gorgeous as well, even though you couldn’t photograph them.
    Even with my butterfly phobia, I think I would have preferred the children’s trail too (I’m just about ok with fake wings, it’s just the real thing that really freaks me out!).