Now in its third year, an innovative partnership between Dumfries House and Ochiltree Primary School has produced another generation of mini tour guides who led their friends and relations around the stately home on Saturday 3rd December.
The girls and boys from P6 and P7 had prepared for their big day for weeks: an initial demonstration tour of the fabulous house and collection of Chippendale furniture was followed by in-class practice and an intensive rehearsal session at Dumfries House just a few days before the tours were launched. Ms Pamela Lockie, Deputy Head from Ochiltree Primary said ‘The children have been so excited by the opportunity to perform as tour guides at Dumfries House. They found the training very stimulating and put a lot of effort into their presentation skills’. Charlotte Rostek, Curator at Dumfries House, added ‘This has been the most rewarding year in the partnership yet. The children were exceptionally keen and fully embraced the challenge.’ The kids also designed their own tickets, which were sold at £6.00 each and included tea/coffee/juice and mince pies for everyone after the tours were finished.
The parents and relations had come in large numbers to see their youngsters talk about the history of the house and some of its priceless furniture. Many of them had never visited the house before and were beaming with pride. They agreed that the children’s confidence had been given a great boost by speaking in front of so many people.
The children themselves clearly loved the experience. Young Calan said: - ‘I loved being a Dumfries House Tour guide. It was awesome and fun to talk about history.’ Iona echoed the enthusiasm shared by all her peers: ‘I loved it a lot and I want to be a Tour Guide. I want to do it again.’
The programme is designed to give young people a sense of ownership of this important local visitor attraction which was saved for the nation by HRH, The Prince Charles, in 2007. The brain child of Charlotte Rostek in 2008 the idea has been enthusiastically supported from the outset by Fiona Black, Headteacher at Ochiltree Primary School, and Pamela Lockie.
Next spring there will be another opportunity for children from the school to train and perform as tour guides. With any luck, perhaps some of them have already have found their vocation.
Christmas has come to Dumfries House! The House, Stables Restaurant and Coach House Café will be open to public during December and our programme of Festive Activities has something for everyone. Don’t miss the opportunity to see inside this magnificent historic house, specially prepared for the festive period.
Stables Restaurant at Dumfries House
Enjoy exquisite festive food within a magical winterland setting.
Friday & Saturday Evenings, 18:30 – 21:30, £17.50pp for 2 Courses
Sunday Festive Lunch Menu, 12:00 – 15:00, £15.50pp for 2 Courses
Our Special Festive Menu is available from Friday 2nd December
A spectacular Fireworks Display was held at Dumfries House on Saturday 12th November.
This event was organised as a ‘THANK YOU’ to the many volunteer groups and individuals from throughout East Ayrshire who gave their time and energy to assist with a recent and ongoing volunteer project to prepare allotment plots at Dumfries House for use by community groups. Around 450 local people attended and witnessed a magnificent display of fireworks with synchronized accompanying music. The idea for the event came from the volunteer groups themselves and we would like to record our heart-felt thanks for their assistance with the project to date.
Dumfries House restoration wins Georgian Group architectural award
The remarkable restoration achievement that has taken place at Dumfries House, the 18th Century mansion in East Ayrshire, Scotland, has been recognized by the Georgian Group Architectural Awards, sponsored by Savills.
The awards recognize exemplary conservation and restoration projects across the country.
Dumfries House received the special award during a ceremony at Christie’s in London on Monday 31st October, recognizing the accomplishment of saving Dumfries House – and its unique contents – for the nation.
Hallowe'en Tours Extended To Meet Demand
Our Hallowe'en Weekend on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th October 2011 was certainly a spooky success. Due to popular demand we extended what was initially intended to be a one-night event into a two day extravaganza. With almost two hundred witches, warlocks and other fancy-dressed visitors attending, everyone had a terrifyingly good time. After the Spook Tour everyone was treated to pumpkin soup, hamburger and chips, a chocolate brownie and every child left with a Hallowe'en bag of goodies.
Check out our facebook page and the Cumnock Chronicle to see the rogues gallery of gals and ghouls who were there on the nights.
Scare yourself silly this Halloween at Dumfries House!
Come along on a terrifying “Spook Tour” of Dumfries House on Saturday 29th October. For one night only Dumfries House will be transformed into a haunted house! Let your ghoulish guides lead you from room to room, where you will encounter ghastly characters and hear their blood-curdling tales ... if you dare! After your tour enjoy a Ghoulish Supper in the Rothesay Room.
Tours begin at the Stables from 5pm and will run every half hour, the last tour leaving at 7pm. Please arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled tour. Entrance to Dumfries House estate is from the A70 Cumnock-Ayr road and parking is available at the stables. Fancy dress is optional but you are advised to wear weather-proof jackets and sensible footwear for the walk up to the House from the Stables.
Tickets: £7.00 Adults; £5.00 Children (6-16 years; children must be accompanied by an adult; not suitable for children under 6 years); £20 Family Ticket (2 Adults & 2 Children). Tickets include Scary Tour of Dumfries House (approx 30 minutes) and a Ghoulish Supper . Payment to be made at time of booking.
To avoid disappointment tours must be booked in advance on 01290 421742
HRH The Duke of Rothesay visits Dumfries House
We had a very special visitor to Dumfries House a fortnight ago - "The Boss". No, not Bruce Springsteen :O)... but "Our Boss" (as he's affectionately known) His Royal Highness, The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay. He was here as part of a visit to Glasgow and to the site of Knockroon: a new "neighbourhood" housing development initiated by The Prince's Charities Foundation between the villages of Auchinleck and Cumnock, working with Hope Homes Scotland (based in Drongan) and ZeroC (who have worked with The Prince's Foundation For The Built Environment at Poundbury, Dorchester). There was also a very nice dinner hosted by HRH as a thank you to those kind individuals who provided generous sponsorship for various projects already carried out at Dumfries House, such as conservation work to specific items and rooms. It was an overwhelming success and nice to see the House dressed with beautiful floral arrangements. We were all looking quite smart here too!! Alan Titchmarsh certainly approved of the flowers as he and his film crew were also here over the weekend - watch this space for more info!! It's certainly all go. So keep your eyes open next time you visit Dumfries House. You just never know who might be coming for dinner ... !
These Scots get everywhere ... !
Most people will have heard of the name Thomas Chippendale: the "Shakespeare of furniture makers". He published a catalogue of designs known as "The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director", and quickly made a name for himself as the greatest furniture designer of his generation. But did you know he had a business partner? James Rannie, of Leith, Edinburgh, was Chippendale's partner. Indeed the correct title of this franchise was "Chippendale and Rannie" (have a closer look at this image of an original bill received by the 5th Earl of Dumfries in the 1750s). So, perhaps, without the keen, financial guidance of a Scot the extraordinarily beautiful furniture collection at Dumfries House (or any house for that matter) might never had existed. What do you think?
"Get out of my dreams, get into my car ...!!"
Last Saturday - 10th September - a troop of classic cars stopped in at Dumfries House on their way from Moffat. A variety of classic, prestige and generally impressive automobiles were lined up outside the front of the house. Have a look at some here or go to our FaceBook page www.facebook.com/dumfrieshouse to see more. Have you got a favourite ...? If you're a member of a classic car club, or indeed an specialist interest group, why not hold an event here at Dumfries House? Get in touch for more information on group events.
Have you got any tales to tell about this House, the estate or the family who lived here?
During our first summer season open to the public in 2008, we here at Dumfries House got chatting to a lot of visitors who had very interesting links to either the Chrichton-Stuart family (The Marquesses of Bute), this house or the estate. People who had actually worked in the house as staff, estate workers and residents from Cumnock and other local villages. Not only was it intertesting but incredibly useful for filling in the gaps of what day-to-day life was like living at Dumfries House or on this extensive estate. Many people rememberd Lady Eileen, the Dowager Marchioness of Bute who resided here fromm 1956 till her death in 1993. One chap told as a great anecdote about removing a bees nest from inside the chimney of Lady Eileen's south-facing bedroom: quite a drama! All of these stories have been preserved in audio interviews and written transcripts (sometimes known as "Oral History"). Many of the people interviewed were also photographed and a fantastic exhibition of our interviewees was held this summer in the Baird Institue, Cumnock. It would be nice to add to these memories, so if you've got any funny, moving, unusual or informative tales to tell contact us and we can add them to our ever increasing folder.