Girl with bird of prey at Winton House


On Sunday 19th of April (12 noon – 4.30 pm), Winton House near Pencaitland in East Lothian is hosting its annual Family Spring Open Day, with funds being raised for The Bethany Christian Trust, the Scottish charity for the homeless, and Scotland’s Gardens which supports Maggie’s cancer care charity.

James Maynard, Winton’s General Manager, describes what’s on:

“Elite Falconry are bringing their birds of prey, and they’ll be putting on one of their dramatic falconry displays at 2.30pm.

“We have lots of family entertainment: face painting, a bouncy castle with slides, trampolines, archery, have-a-go highland games and our recently launched segways.

“Café Winton will be in the dining room offering its popular homemade sandwiches and cakes. The famous Lucas ice cream van will also be here.

“If you’re interested in local culture you can go on guided house tours to see Winton’s intricate Scottish Renaissance ceilings, and hear about the house’s links to the powerful Seton family, Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Elgin Marbles.

“Anyone taking good photos should post some on our Facebook wall so we can create an open day gallery.”

Picnicers are also welcome and garden enthusiasts will enjoy walking through the walled and terraced gardens. Most of the plants at Winton are raised from seeds and cuttings in the polytunnel and glasshouse. These are also a source of cut flowers for clients’ events in the House.

Head Gardener, Toby Subiotto, adds:

“Visitors will be able to see Winton’s famous wild daffodils in full bloom. Early flowering cherries, shrubs, hellebores, cyclamen and early bulbs should also be on display.

“We’re now into the final stages of our garden development plan. The terraced gardens have been planted with wall shrubs, climbers, and tender and semi sub-shrubs, such as Salvias and Echiums.

“In the walled garden sunflowers, squashes and sub-tropical bedding will provide a colourful late season display.

“The Dell woodland has been opened up by cutting back the rhododendron cover, allowing more planting opportunities and more light. It is now planted with Camellias and other shrubs for early spring colour.”

Nearer the house, the walk between the car park and the house has a new ‘winter garden’ planted with cherries, witch hazels, daphnes, winter sweet and other shrubs.