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Traquair House

This is the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, spanning nearly a thousand years of Scottish history. The estate dates back to the 12th century when it was originally used as a hunting lodge for Scottish royalty. It wasn’t until the 15th century that the current structure of the Traquair House was commissioned by the Earl of Buchan as a gift to his son James Stuart, who became the 1st Laird of Traquair. Today Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair, lives with her family in the house.

The main building, which is still intact today, was completed during the 16th and 17th centuries, at a time when the Stuarts were the most powerful dynasty in Scotland. As such, the house became a centre of political refuge of sorts, having supported the ill-fated Jacobite cause and hosting Mary Queen of Scots in 1566. The house also provided shelter for Catholic priests in times of danger, and there is a small chapel on the estate that was built in 1829 after the Catholic Emancipation Act.

But there were lighter moments at the house, as evidenced by the onsite brewery that dates back to the early 18th century. After 200 years of disuse, the brewery was revived by the 20th Laird and today the Traquair House Brewery produces a selection of award-winning traditional Scottish ales. The 4,000 acres of estate grounds are also impressive, including lush woodlands, a walled garden and a more recent addition in the 1980s, a hedged maze — the largest of its kind in Scotland.

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