Floors Castle
Castle Kelso Borders

Floors Castle

Castle In Kelso, Borders

Stunning castle built in 1721, set in a 21,000 hectare estate.

On our recent trip to Kelso and the Scottish Borders we visited a number of monuments and castles, but Floors was probably the most impressive and picturesque of them all. The castle is just on the outskirts of the town and you can't miss it as you're driving around the area. It is probably how you imagined a castle to be when you were young - turrets, crenellations, hundreds of rooms and a bit of a fairytale castle feel to it. It stands proudly on a natural terrace offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside and views over the River Tweed to Roxburgh Castle

The history of Floors Castle dates back to the 12th century, when the lands were held by the monks of Kelso Abbey. In the 16th century, the lands were granted to the Ker family, who built a tower house on the site. In the 19th century, the castle was embellished with turrets and battlements by the architect William Playfair. The main block is three storeys high and has a symmetrical facade with a central portico. The two service wings are also three storeys high and are connected to the main block by curved colonnades. The castle is built from red sandstone and has a slate roof.

Floors has been the private residence of the Innis-Ker family since the castle was built in 1721. It was John Ker, the 1st Duke of Roxburghe who commissioned William Adam to build the castle at Kelso. The first duke had some famous pals, and was even the pall-bearer at the funeral of Sir Isaac Newton. Another high profile friend of his was the architect Sir John Vanburgh who designed Blenheim Castle and our very own Seaton Delaval Hall. It was possible that John Vanburgh sketched some of the original designs for the castle.

The interiors of Floors Castle are just as impressive as the exterior. The castle is home to a vast collection of furniture, paintings, and other works of art by artists such as Gainsborough and Henri Matisse. It was Duchess May who married the 8th Duke of Roxburghe (1878-1937) who had a strong interest in art and bought artworks which are now on display in the Needle Room.

The Drawing Room has tapestries lining the walls which were created in 18th century Brussels and known as The Triumph of the Gods, which are a very impressive sight. Our guide pointed out the tapestries to us and explained how they had been cut to sit either side of a large doorway with no real regard to their historic significance. Oops!

Another stand out room is the Ballroom with ornate wooden carvings create by local craftsman from Kelso. The castle also has a number of private rooms, including the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe's private apartments. There is no photography allowed inside the castle, however, so if you would like to see the impressive rooms, you will just have to pop along.

The grounds of Floors Castle are just as beautiful as the castle itself. The grounds are home to a variety of gardens, including a formal walled garden, a woodland garden, and a riverside walk. There is also a children's play area and a cycle trail.

The gardens are very impressive and well worth a wander around. The herbaceous borders are spectacular and the parterre laid out in the initials of the 10th Duke and Duchess in the Millennium Garden are equally impressive.

When we had wandered around the castle and gardens, we took a walk around the wider estate. This took us through woodland and down to the River Tweed, which gave us brilliant views of the castle itself and views over to Kelso in the East.

There are plenty of loos and tea rooms on site, and it's very easy to spend a full day there if you do the riverside walk. A great place to visit if you're in the area.

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Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

More Places from Sandra
Sandra Clemens

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Find more fabulous places in Kelso, Borders and if you know of a place we haven't listed, then let us know.

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