The House of the Binns  dates from the early 17th century, and was the home of Tam Dalyell until his death in January 2017.

Perhaps inhabited since prehistoric times, Binns Hill may have been the site of a Pictish fort. Written records begin in 1335. There was certainly a manor house here by 1478. In 1612 the estate was purchased by a wealthy and well-connected Edinburgh burgess, Thomas Dalyell. Between 1621 and 1630, he rebuilt the original house, and parts of the interior still reflect that period; in particular the north-west portion of the present entrance front, and decoration of the High Hall and King's Room (created in the hope of a visit from Charles I, which never came to be). These rooms still contain examples of some of the earliest cornices and mouldings in Scotland. Thomas Dalyell's more famous son, the Royalist General Sir Tam Dalyell continued the development of the house, adding the first of the towers, and the western range.

Today the house principally reflects its extensions of the mid 18th and early 19th century. In the 1740s, Robert Dalyell added the dining-room and a morning room, whilst around 1810, the architect William Burn (1789–1870) adapted the building to the Scottish baronial style, adding further towers and mock battlements. Some of the Gothic exterior decoration was inspired by Walter Scott, who was a friend of the Dalyell family. Today, the building is three-storey at the main north facade, with two-storey wings.

In 1944, the house, its parkland, its contents, and an endowment for its upkeep were given to the National Trust for Scotland by Eleanor Dalyell. The house contains a collection of porcelain, furniture, and portraits which trace the family's lives and interests through the centuries.



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Founded: 1621-1630
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Sara Cunningham (2 months ago)
Beautiful walk amongst the sheep not too long but a few steep hills.Nice views. Interesting history.
Kevin Rankin (3 months ago)
The house was closed due to Covid but the grounds were open. A lovely little woodland walk to the tower. Spotted 5 peacocks roaming the grounds! The kids collected conkers from the big tree at the entrance. A nice relaxing day.
Lewis King (4 months ago)
Lovely house with great history, built round 1612 by Dalyell family and still in family ownership. Grounds extensive with lovely walk possible through old woods, pastures and fields, and past old walled gardens and attractive stable ruins. There's an intriguing tower, of style and age similar to the house, up on a small hill that gives great views of the Forth valley and around. The House itself, quite unique being with a single family for 400 years, is normally open for tours but closed when we visited during COVID.
Christopher Gould (4 months ago)
House closed but woodland walk around the grounds definately worth a visit. Great views all round..
ScottishExplorer (4 months ago)
Closed due to Covid although the walks are lovely as is the views across the forth and surrounding area. Particular attention should be the viewpoint from rhe hill as the tower is nice and the woodland walk with Blackness Castle in the distance. A nicd drive up to outside the House area with a small car park and the overall estate is open until 19.30
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