I have never been a fan of Retro-Castles, such as Neuschwanstein or Disney's Cinderella Castle. There are so many real castles that are far more interesting. Walter Scott's Abbotsford House has me rethinking my erstwhile opinion.
Scott invested his last years and his fortune building this dream. What separates this 'castle' from the ersatz variety is its reflection of its 'author'. The building contents evince Scott's broad range of interests and curiosities.
As is so often the case in the UK, it is the volunteer hosts who bring these places to life. Their knowledge is matched only by their passion for the properties. We spoke with many of these people and found each and every one of them praiseworthy, and often wryly humorous.
Make sure you check out the overview at the visitor's center before you visit the house. It will significantly enhance your enjoyment of the site. Special tip: try the restaurant for a good meal or snack at a very affordable price.
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