Back in 2007 the future of Dumfries House looked bleak. The owner, the 7th Marquess of Bute, couldn't afford its cost of upkeep and the Palladian mansion was duly placed on the open market. Its furniture collection - one of the world's finest - was due to be sold separately, decimating the house's core. At the eleventh hour, a saviour arrived in the form of the snappily-named "The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust" headed by Prince Charles. The house, its breathtakingly opulent interiors and 2,000 acres of estate were duly saved and opened to the public, and the result is one of Scotland's most amazing man-made tourist attractions. Development of the estate over recent years has yielded a new (for 2016) arboretum on the way to the fairly recent walled garden: the grounds are now nearly as much of a draw as the house itself, although Chippendale furniture worth an estimated £20 million a piece may take some beating...
Name: Dumfries House ★★★★☆
Location: A70 a mile west of Cumnock, G.R.: NS 541204 / reactions skip banana
Open (2017): Daily, late March to October; weekends, November to late March; closed over New Year period
Cost (2017): House: £9+ (adults) depending on tour type, £4 (children). Small additional charge for walled garden.
Anything else? Tour numbers are limited, so it's best to book in advance.
>> Little bit like this: Mount Stuart