Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 2 December 2020

Property of the week UK: Live like royalty in Scotland's most expensive home

Seton Castle is built on the site of Seton Palace, a haunt of Mary Queen of Scots

From its bustling metropolises to quaint villages, the UK offers diverse locations for luxury living. Spectacular residential properties range from historic country castles to cutting-edge city apartments. In this new series, The National showcases the best and most luxurious the UK has to offer.

Featured property

Seton Castle, Longniddry, East Lothian, EH32 0PG, £8,000,000/$10,545,112 (offers over)

Hail Mary

The modern Georgian Seton Castle was erected on the site of Seton Palace in 1789.

In its first incarnation Seton was regularly graced by Scottish aristocracy with Mary Queen of Scots a frequent visitor.

On one of these visits Mary somewhat scandalously played golf nearby.

Mary certainly couldn't have picked a better place to play golf. Seton is situated in East Lothian near the sea, an area so associated with the game that it has been given the moniker the "Golf Coast".

Mary Queen of Scots is documented as having caused scandal by playing golf at Seton in 1568. Getty
Mary Queen of Scots is documented as having caused scandal by playing golf at Seton in 1568. Getty

So if any keen golfers failed to purchase Cherry Hill, the Wentworth Championship course property featured in October, then Seton offers redemption. The pick of the panoply of courses which surrounds the castle is Open Championship host Muirfield, a mere Bryson DeChambeau seven iron away.

And if a love of golf is combined with a love of archaeology, then Seton is a nirvana as buried under the front lawn are the largely preserved remains of the original palace.

The Adam Family

Seton Castle in its current guise was designed by the acclaimed architect and designer Robert Adam using stone from the original palace.

The Adam family was to architecture what the Kanneh-Masons are to musical instruments. Robert's father William was Scotland's leading architect and his older brother, John, and younger brother, James, were also in the family trade.

It is a fair bet that anyone has made it in a particular pursuit when their name is used to describe a style or technique. The "Adam Style" revolved around the idea of architectural motion.

Left: Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England. Right: The Royal Infirmary in Glasgow, Scotland. Both buildings were designed by Seton Castle architect Robert Adam. Getty Images
Left: Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England. Right: The Royal Infirmary in Glasgow, Scotland. Both buildings were designed by Seton Castle architect Robert Adam. Getty Images

The usage is figurative though; there certainly isn't any danger of Seton Castle subsiding given it is built with incredibly thick walls.

Thick walls are a hallmark of Scottish buildings through the ages. When Scots first settled in Australia, they baffled natives with their penchant for girthy fortifications but it soon became clear that the method kept them as cool as it did warm.

So whilst Seton might not match the efficiency of this Bloomsbury eco-house, for a castle its energy conservation is outstanding.

Great Scot

In 2007 Seton was bought for £5 million, making it the most expensive house in Scotland.

It had been comprehensively renovated before the purchase but the current owners have done lots of additional work.

It's on the market with Savills and sales agent Jamie Macnab cites the "striking French oak flooring throughout".

His favourite feature, however, is the parterre courtyard, modelled on the gardens of the French renaissance.

It provides the perfect space in which to entertain and, for the more commercially minded buyer, Mr Macnab points out that it could easily be used to host functions and weddings.

Much is made of having a room with a view but anyone who buys Seton Castle could take this one step further.

"The views from the top of the castle looking over Edinburgh are incredible," says Mr Macnab.

He also highlights a medley of other beguiling features which you can see in the video at the top of the page and in the gallery below.

It would be remiss not to mention one particularly quirky feature bound to appeal to the discerning drinker. In one wing of the castle is an authentic cobblestoned tavern, an idyll for a post-work libation or three.

Edinburgh can be seen from the ramparts of the castle. Savills
Edinburgh can be seen from the ramparts of the castle. Savills

Seton Castle highlights

  • Seven bedrooms and three separate self-contained cottages
  • State-of-the-art gym, cinema, playroom and billiard room
  • Huge double AGA kitchen and magnificent silk-lined dining room
  • Working stables including a foaling stable
  • 10,000-bottle wine cellar
  • Sweeping spiral staircases
  • Interior featuring array of silks
  • Within 12 miles of Edinburgh and ideally located for some of Scotland's best schools, including Loretto

Seton Castle is on the market with Savills

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This gallery shows pictures of Seton in all its glory but if the life of a laird isn't for you, then here you can read why London is in high demand from Middle East buyers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Updated: November 13, 2020 07:53 PM

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