Floors Castle – Home of the Duke of Roxburghe
Floors Castle is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and is currently the home of the charming Tenth Duke of Roxburghe. It stands on a natural terrace that overlooks the meandering River Tweed. In the distance from the natural elevation one can see the Cheviot Hills. Across the river on the opposite bank is the Roxburgh Castle, which at one time was the strongest fortress along the former border with England.
Floors Castle was built by William Adam for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe in 1721. Additions at the eastern end were made to an existing tower house to build a plain, but symmetrical Georgian country house. Many changes were made subsequently but except for the alterations to the roof by the 2nd Duke most were interior changes.
The 6th Duke had the castle remodeled into a magnificent 19th century baronial mansion by the leading architect of Edinburgh, William Playfair, between 1837 and 1847. He recreated a highly ornamented picturesque story book castle with its romantic roof-scape of turrets, pinnacles and cupolas. This absorbed the existing Georgian structure as well.
Floors Castle is open to the public and the Duke has taken pains to see that the tourists are guided well throughout the castle even while he is living in it. Except for their private bedrooms all the rooms, including the anterooms, living room, dining room and smaller rooms in the tower like the needle room, are open to the public.
The spectacular State rooms are tastefully decorated with a priceless collection of fine European paintings, tapestries and furnishings. The Roxburgh Art Collection, a lot by the 8th Duchess, the American Duchess May, includes paintings by Raeburn and Gainsborough, a collection of porcelain, 15th-century Brussels tapestries and a treasure hoard. The eighth Duchess redecorated the interiors extensively.
The Castle is surrounded by ample landscaped grounds. One can walk through woodland nature trails and see local wildlife and many rare trees. The extensive walled garden grows all the flowers, fruits and vegetables used in the Castle. There is a holly tree in the grounds that marks the place where King James II was killed by a cannon explosion.