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Traquair House >  Google™ Map May 2014+  Scottish Borders Coat of Arms

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May 2014+

"Scotland's oldest inhabited house, visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens, dates back to 1107 and has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491", they say.

Scottish Borders Coat of Arms

It's Scotland's oldest inhabited house, visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens, dates back to 1107 and has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491, alright, but more on that in a minute.

From a distance, you wouldn't think that Traquair was 'Scotland's Oldest Inhabited House', whatever that means, because it doesn't look that old.

Traquair House - From a Distance

Continually inhabited they seem to mean so no To Let signs here over the centuries.

Ownership flipped between the Scottish and English aristocracies until 1491 when James Stuart signed the deeds and despite him buying it at the Battle of Flodden, it's been in the family ever since.

As for 'Scotland's Oldest Inhabited House'? Isn't that just Scotland's oldest house?

Up close, it still doesn't look that old and that's because it isn't. The site might date to the 1100s but most of what you can see is late 17th century at the earliest.

Traquair House - Up Close

Giving money to toffs to be allowed to look at their furniture isn't normally SlyBob's idea of a good day out but, bumbling around in the Borders anyway, there's rain on the horizon and it's brewing up a storm but more on that in a minute.

Inside, you'll have no recollection later of anything other than where Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, inevitably, once both got their heads down.

Traquair House - Lake
Traquair House - INT: Maze
Traquair House - EXT: Maze

No, outside is where it's at where you're allowed to wander around a lake and lose yourself in a maze.

Kiddies are more than accommodated with an 'adventure playground' and a less challenging area if they're still toddling types.

Traquair House - Capra aegagrus hircus
Traquair House - Capra aegagrus hircus(es)

There's even some domestic wildlife around the side and yes, you'll have to push some children out of the way to get this close.

Rummaging in the cellar beneath the chapel one afternoon, Peter Maxwell Stuart, the 20th Laird of Traquair, came across what was left of a brewery. This had been foaming as far back as 1566, they say, when it provided the pints that were poured for the aforementioned Mary.

Toffs are great, aren't they? Despite not having the faintest idea about fermentation, he had the 18th-century machinery mashing again by 1965. They call it 'craft' brewing nowadays but he was doing it at least 40 years before it became fashionable.

Their range is best described as 'dark', 'traditional' and Scottish with Bear Ale coming in at a bearable 5%. That's a nod to the Bear Gates that keep you outside of opening hours but they've upped the ABVs on the House and Jacobite Ales at 7.2% and 8% respectively! Hic!

Catherine Maxwell Stuart, the 21st Lady of Traquair, appears to have inherited her father's entrepreneurial spirit and she's buzzing around the place happy to chat to those whose interest extends beyond the brewery.

Traquair House - Garden

As with most places like this, they've had to diversify and as well as managing all 4,500 acres of the estate, she oversees the weddings and bar mitzvahs.

That includes the overnight guests and the corporate conferences and all manner of outdoor events in summer and even the annual International Festival of Literature & Thought, it's thought, now rebranded as the Beyond Borders International Festival.

It's presumed she sleeps well at night but not from the satisfaction of a hard and busy day. Rather, sat in front of Taggart of an evening with a couple of bottles of Jacobite, that's enough to send anyone off.

This can be officially confirmed. Hic!

What's What
 Beyond Borders International Festival
 Traquair House
Where's Where