Overview

Penicuik House is the finest and most influential example of Palladian architecture in Scotland. Built in the 1760s and devastated by fire in 1899, the once magnificent buildings has stood as a ruin for over 100 years.

It sits at the centre of an important 18th-century designed landscape, which together form an exceptional physical record of the artistic patronage of the Clerk Family.

Penicuik House and its immediate surroundings are now in the ownership of the Penicuik House Preservation Trust, and the 6 year project to consolidate this magnificent ruin and improve access to the surrounding estate is now complete.

The second phase of the project has now commenced and involves the conservation and repair of the many eye-catching built features in the designed landscape, including the Roman Bridge and Knightslaw Tower.


Opening
Opening

2020

Ruin: All year round, tours available - see their website for further details.

Café: all year round, 7 days a week - 10am to 5pm.

Find Us
Find us

Situated on the western outskirts of the small town of Penicuik, just 15km south of Edinburgh

The public entrance to Penicuik House and Designed Landscape is located just off the A766 and clearly signposted Penicuik House Preservation Trust. 

Access from our car park is by means of an easy walk on a tarmacked surface. Provision for disabled visitors available by arrangement with one of our Rangers. Contact us on 01968 670738 to arrange.

Parking

  • Free

Admission
Admission

The designed landscape is open at all times.

No charge is made for access to Penicuik House or the designed landscape but donations from visitors are most welcome.

More admission details

Group Visits
Group Visits

Group visits can be offered including guided walks in the designed landscape and in the consolidated Penicuik House.

For more information please contact the Head Ranger by email at ranger@penicuikhouse.co.uk.

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Weddings


Opening
Opening

2020

Ruin: All year round, tours available - see their website for further details.

Café: all year round, 7 days a week - 10am to 5pm.

Find Us
Find us

Situated on the western outskirts of the small town of Penicuik, just 15km south of Edinburgh

The public entrance to Penicuik House and Designed Landscape is located just off the A766 and clearly signposted Penicuik House Preservation Trust. 

Access from our car park is by means of an easy walk on a tarmacked surface. Provision for disabled visitors available by arrangement with one of our Rangers. Contact us on 01968 670738 to arrange.

Parking

  • Free

Admission
Admission

The designed landscape is open at all times.

No charge is made for access to Penicuik House or the designed landscape but donations from visitors are most welcome.

More admission details

Group Visits
Group Visits

Group visits can be offered including guided walks in the designed landscape and in the consolidated Penicuik House.

For more information please contact the Head Ranger by email at ranger@penicuikhouse.co.uk.

Other opening

The Café

Penicuik House Café currently closed whilst we expand into the courtyard. We are aiming to be re-open the new and improved café before Easter but we will keep everyone up to date on the website and on social media.

Penicuik House Café is a short walk from our car park and is a perfect place pit stop during your visit. We are open 7 days a week from 10am to 4pm. We have snug indoor seating as well as outdoor tables and chairs with a dedicated hatch for those with dogs or who prefer to explore the amazing interior of Penicuik House. Our Café also hosts regular Supper Clubs which can normally be booked here but we have had to put these temporarily on hold whist the building work is going on.


Penicuik House's history and features

When the Barony of Penicuik was acquired by John Clerk in 1654, Newbiggin House was the family home on the Estate. John Clerk’s son – Sir John Clerk, 1st Baronet of Penicuik – initiated the agricultural improvement of the Estate by the enclosure of pastures and the planting of trees, and his son Sir John Clerk, 2nd Baronet was responsible for the creation of the Designed Landscape which survives, largely unchanged, today. Sir John, the 2nd Baronet, had considered extensively remodeling Newbiggin House but it was his son Sir James, 3rd Baronet who, in collaboration with John Baxter the Elder, demolished the existing house in 1761 and designed and built Penicuik House in its place, siting it in the heart of the magnificent Designed Landscape which had been created by his father in the early 1700s.

A Question of Symmetry

Sir James, 3rd Baronet, was a firm believer in symmetry, so Penicuik House was designed with two staircases of equal importance leading up from the front hall – a somewhat dated treatment as the fashion of the time was for a grand state staircase with a smaller secondary stair for servants.

The resulting elevated central portico, and the positioning of the bedroom floor on the attic storey under a platform roof attracted criticism from both Sir James’s family and the architect Robert Adam, whose sister Susanna was married to one of Sir James’s brothers, John Clerk of Eldin.

However the consciously outmoded design and the four-square planning of the rooms delighted Sir James and echoed the vision of his father, Sir John Clerk: “Above the attic floor a platform roof may be extended like a spacious field from where the many pleasant landskips [sic] round may be with ease and delight survey’d.”(“The Country Seat”, 1720s).

Find out more here