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Castles and Historic Houses
Places to visit
HOUSE of the BINNS
REVIEW of ATTRACTION 2011
The House of the Binns, which is sometimes simply referred to as The Binns is an historic house near Linlithgow on the East coast of Scotland. The historic seat of the Dalyells (pronounced D,L), who still live in the property, it is currently managed on behalf of the nation by National Trust (for Scotland)and is currently open to visit but with restricted opening times. The house gets its name from the estate in which it is situated, between two hills (or "Binns" / "Bens" in Celtic)
The House of Binns is, visually, an imposing mansion house, which illustrates the change from stout castles to a more homely, spacious and luxurious style adopted by the aristocracy. Extended considerably in the 18th century, the crenellated towers were added in the 19th century. Inside there are fien examples of moulded plaster ceilings and cornices, which were amongst the earliest ever made in Scotland.
Upon arrival at the property, you will enter the house via the Laigh (or lower) hall. This is where you start your accompanied tour (you are not allowed to freely walk round the property) but this has its advantages as you will be informed of many interesting snippets which you would otherwise miss. For example the first room contains the table at which General Tam Dalyell (died 1685), who founded the Royal Scots Greys, was reputed to have played cards with the devil. The guide will then proceed to tell you of a further part to the story which adds credibility to the tale.
the tour continues through the Blue Room, having passed the secret passageway, into the Business Room, Telephone Room and the Smoking Room (which still survives despite the anti smoking lobby!)
The Generals kitchen is the final room on the ground floor which contains, unsurprisingly, a variety of exhibits pertaining to the kitchen. One of the interesting facts that the guide will provide you with, is that legend has it that the General roasted his enemies alive in the ovens (which are certainly big enough) in this former Bakehouse. The tour continues upstairs where you will see the High Hall, the Stairway itself leading to the first floor and the King's Room.
The House of Binns is certainly worth a visit and is suitable for most ages. However, having been there with three 8 year olds, this is perhaps a little young due to the "regimented" nature of the property.