Dalkeith Country Park
I get very excited when I find Scottish estates who are doing fabulous and fun things with their land to attract people through the gates. Dalkeith Country Park, owned by the Buccleuch family for 300 years is a WONDERFUL example. I love their ethos and creativity, they have created a gorgeous store, beautiful café, outdoor playground and much, much more. This place has bags of style… so chic, a MUST visit close to Edinburgh. A little bit of history….several years ago Buccleuch wished to restore the park, its stableyard and courtyard to create a world-class visitor destination. After several years of planning, construction work began in 2015 and a £7million investment was made to create Fort Douglas (kids outdoor bit) and Restoration Yard (shop/café/wellbeing studio bit) and revamp the wider park including the walking and cycling routes. It created over 50 new jobs in the process (nice), opening in July 2016. They say: ‘A partnership was created with Amanda Pratt, designer and previous owner of Ireland’s leading retail and food experience, Avoca, to bring her concept to Scotland. Restoration Yard is now a thriving store, cafe and wellbeing lab, which has not only restored the stableyard at the park, but enables visitors to help restore themselves, (see what they did there) whether that’s through a walk, yoga class, shopping therapy or simply great food.’ Yes please! I have two toddlers and personally, when we went, we spent most of our time at Fort Douglas, where kids can explore magical turreted treehouses, suspension bridges, slides, climbing walls and secret tunnels. It’s brilliant. This is what else they say about themselves…… ‘Restoration Yard believes in the power of beauty to heal and elevate the spirit. We believe in being true to ourselves, and to our customers and suppliers. We like to be different and interesting, to have fun and find joy. How successful we are in this, perhaps only a visit will tell. So why not visit for an explore?’ Yes, yes please! It feels like they’ve future proofed the stunning Dalkeith Palace and it’s grounds for generations to come with their ingenuity and hard work. Great stuff!