I love playing tourist in my own city, and this Summer we decided on a bit of an Edinburgh ‘staycation’. There are so many places in the city and beyond that are so accessible (by public transport too) and so we vowed to go exploring a wee bit further afield this holiday, as well as visiting some of our old favourite haunts. So in the spirit of at-home-adventures, we set off one sunny Sunday on the bus through the rolling fields and wee villages of East Lothian – our destination Tyninghame Estate, which had opened its gates for the annual garden open day.
Tyninghame House was once home to Lady Haddington and the baronial turrets of the 17th century pink sandstone house, remodelled in 1829 by William Burn, still dominate, rising out of the rows of regimented roses. There’s so much to explore, so it’s best to embrace getting lost in one of the many gardens.
There’s the extensive ‘wilderness’ garden, which definitely lives up to its name with spectacular azaleas, rhododendrons, and flowering trees; it sits in stark contrast with the formal walled garden, combining immaculate yew hedges and sculptures with quite possibly the greenest lawns I’ve ever seen.
It was in the formal garden that we spotted this gorgeous greenhouse/ garden room, where the owner was selling plants. It was such a beautifully designed space, with attention paid to every detail. It’s inspired me to think about how I can bring the outdoors in myself – but more on my green-fingered project soon!
My absolute favourite though is the small, but perfectly formed secret garden, which is glorious in July. The peonies were just beginning to burst into bloom, with old-fashioned roses climbing the arbours. Foxgloves proudly stood on and bees hummed happily among the pink thistles. After the morning’s shower, teardrops of rain still clung to delicate petals and the fragrance was intoxicating.
The grounds also include a beech avenue down to the sea, which I’m keen to explore next time, while the Romanesque ruins of St Baldred’s church overlook the Tyne Estuary and Lammemuir Hills; crazy to think you’re just an hour or so from Edinburgh (a scenic tour, and we had the bus to ourselves most of the way!)
But what does one wear to a garden open day? Something vintage in a Summery pastel shade was a must, so I decided to give my mint polka dot dress a day out. I removed it (with permission I must add!) from a mannequin in a Morningside charity shop, and it was quite the bargain. In fact, this entire outfit was thrifted from South Edinburgh charity shops; the cardigan and bag a couple of pounds apiece. And can we have a moment for my vintage boater? It cost £3 from my local charity shop. This is why I always ‘just have to have a quick look’…!
I love a good garden and I’m not ashamed to say so! It’s not even that I’ve grown-up, or that my tastes have changed: give me greenery, beautiful blooms and a nice old house and I’m happy! It’s got to be the influence of both my grandparents and parents, who all love to explore gardens, and definitely gave me the bug. With a final look at the main house (still coveting a library wing and/or a turret room), a slice of carrot cake and glass of fizz at the gardener’s cottage, and we were swiftly on our way back to Auld Reekie. Certainly my definition of A Good Day Out.
Have you been to Tyninghame? What’s your idea of a Good Day Out?