Hopetoun House is Scotland’s, if not Britain’s, grandest stately home. Building on one after another amazing experience during this trip, and based on the fantastic good fortune of having locals to show us around, Kerry took us for a private tour of the ‘house’ and its gardens.

It’s a case of ‘google please’. I can’t possibly describe the ins and out of this 300-odd-year-old mansion sitting on a huge estate beside the Firth of Forth, within sight of its famous suspension bridge.

Hopetoun features breathtaking proportions in sheer size; unsurpassed carved wooden panels and cornices. Priceless furniture and tapestry hangings and art; huge and lovely Persian rugs.

Grand sweeps of lawns fore and aft; walled gardens which Bris & Kerry’s daughter Skye, Lady Hopetoun, is recreating with astonishing skill (perhaps not quite so astonishing, considering the family penchant for magnificent gardens).

One of the previous Earls was the first Governor General of Australia; one was Viceroy of India for seven years. Theirs was the first Scottish family to introduce life-long housing for former employees; their legacy of public service is huge.

It was great to have the opportunity to have an insight into the workings of the family who actually live there.

Jane Grieve