Winton House with a Magnolia in the foreground
Winton House with a magnolia in the terraced gardens.

On Sunday 7th of April (12 noon – 4.30pm), Winton House near Pencaitland in East Lothian throws its doors open for its annual Family Spring Open Day, with funds being raised for Maggie’s Centres, the Scottish cancer care charity, and Scotland’s Gardens. Winton House is castle, now used as an exclusive use hospitality and wedding venue just half an hour from Edinburgh.

Morag Morrison, Deputy General Manager, tells us what is planned for the day:

“After last year’s success, we’re having another crafts fair with stalls for locally made arts, crafts, clothing, and, of course, plants.

“There will be lots of entertainment for families and children: face painting, a bouncy castle, obstacle courses, Winton Combat Challenge, miniature hovercrafts and a few surprises still to be announced! And, of course, delicious homemade soup, sandwiches and cakes at Café Winton.

“Visitors will be able to go on guided historical tours of the House with its amazing carved chimneys, fine Scottish Renaissance ceilings, master pieces on the walls, and links to Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Elgin Marbles.”

Irises at Winton House near Edinburgh
Irises showing their colours in February.

Picnics are welcome and visitors will enjoy walking through the walled and terraced gardens, which are six years into a major replanting plan. Most of the plants at Winton are raised from seeds and cuttings in the poly tunnel and glasshouse. These are also a source of cut flowers for clients’ bespoke events in the House.

Head Gardener, Toby Subiotto, gives an update on the garden’s redevelopment:

“Both of the walled garden borders have been planted with a mix of herbaceous plants for impact and height, with shrubs following on from early spring bulbs. The walls have been planted with old fashioned roses, Jasmines, honeysuckles and tender wall shrubs. Salvias, sunflowers and squashes will provide interest later in summer.

“In the terraced garden, the middle terrace has recently been planted with old fashioned shrub roses, and, in time, will be complemented by plantings of campanulas, pinks, sweet williams and lavender.

“As a result of thinning of the Dell near the House, the woodland area has been opened up. The areas at each end will be planted with shrubs, with complementary planting along the edges. Fine ornamental tree collections of Japanese maples, flowering dogwoods, magnolia and witch hazels are being built up, many grown from small pots. Himalayan rowans, parrottia, nyssa, and euonymus will provide further autumn colour and interest, creating a middle canopy height in time.”

We look forward to welcoming you to Winton’s Open Day.


For concert lovers, here’s another date for your diary: Margaret Wakeford and Simon Coverdale will be performing a piano duet recital including works by Schubert, Ravel and Barber at Winton House on Sunday April 21st at 3.30pm. For tickets and enquiries please email Margaret Wakeford via, or call 0131 447 1796 or 07795 076951. See our latest blog for more details.