Winton Castle Walled Garden

Winton Estate, Pencaitland is “Good to Go”. This award from VisitScotland is for the estate’s guidelines and cleanliness processes and mean that Winton’s luxury self-catering country houses are available to rent and much of the venue’s hospitality facilities are open for bookings.

Winton’s luxury self-catering country houses still have availability in July and August and there’s a massive 20% off late bookings (made within 30 days of your stay).

Francis Ogilvy, owner of Winton Estate, reflects on the centenary of the death of a lady who was once a county celebrity: “Constance Nisbet Hamilton Ogilvy was heiress to the estates at Winton, Archerfield and Biel with responsibility for nine parishes across East Lothian.

“Clearly privileged, she was described as shy with ‘a very humble and tender heart’. Her gravestone bears the family arms for Nisbets, Hamiltons and Ogilvys with the mottos ‘Fear No Earthly Danger’, ‘Forward’ and ‘Ride Through’. No less apt for today, particularly if we are to understand Martin Luther King Jnr: ‘We are not makers of history. We are made by history.’”

‘Fear No Earthly Danger’

Francis Ogilvy continues: “The rug may have been pulled from beneath us, but there are practical, progressive steps that can be taken. This badge from VisitScotland should serve to encourage businesses and families that their safety has been fully planned for.

“We anticipate that work teams will be keen to come together again for the first time in months. Likewise, families cooped up in the houses want to get away, safely for a break. Hopefully, Winton can cater for both.”

Ogilvy Coat of Arms
Winton Walled Garden and Potting Shed Events Venue


“The business offering is for companies wishing to regroup and allow dispersed teams to see each other again. Meeting outside is allowed; we can offer this at five venues. They all have space indoors for when the guidelines permit. We’re trialing it with our own colleagues at Ogilvy Chalmers based in Haddington. We offer rural surveying, architecture and letting agency but we, like most, have had to work from home so this will be the first time we’re able to physically be with colleagues.

“We’ll be using Winton Walled Garden and relaunched Potting Shed – with 2 acres of gardens there is no issue with physical distancing, and this is an inexpensive events venue. Guests can hire the Potting Shed and Walled Garden using a marquee in the garden or use the Potting Shed itself when regulations allow.

“It means that teams to come together again and communicate the way we’re good at – face-to-face to share stories; empathise over hardships; place our woes in perspective; plan for the future; enthuse and encourage.

“How much better to do this together out in the garden, before we allow ourselves to return to the old ways without reflection for how we can do things different and better. Surely, we need to learn from the past four months and come out as changed companies, teams and individuals – hopefully, for the better.

“It’s not a bed or roses, but we might as well be surrounded by them in the gardens as we consider the future!”

‘Ride Through’

Francis Ogilvy concludes: “There are countless heroes of the lockdown and most of them go unnoticed. Some of the Winton ones are those who have kept the place ready and open for business – particularly in the gardens which are still looking amazing.

“The gardens and footpaths through Winton Estate popular with walkers have been looked after during lockdown by Toby, Claudia, Douglas and Calum.”

For information on facilities for holding outdoor gatherings in safety at Winton, in the Walled Garden or at any of the three large farmhouses, each with private gardens for work use or for self-catering, please book online or call the Winton events office on 01875 340222.

Photo Captions & Credits

Thank you very much to Ken Hanley of Small World Tours for his excellent aerial drone photos used here.

Douglas Thomson on his trusty steed