Lady Lairds is a two part BBC documentary following the trials, tribulations and successes of women over a year as they run their Scottish estates and country houses. The documentary offers a rare insight into the day-to-day running of four Scottish estates where life isn’t as much romantic but sheer hard work.

Featured in episode 2 is Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair and her family. Filmed over nine months last year the cameras followed the many activities at Traquair including the many events from the Easter Eggstravaganza to the Beyond Borders Festival that take place at the house.

Catherine commented, “It was quite an experience for all of us but we got used to having the cameras around and we are happy with the end result. I hope it gives a glimpse of some of the things that go on at Traquair how we are trying to run a modern estate in the 21st century”

The programme is available on BBC iplayer until 11th April.



Traquair House, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire

Easter Sunday March 27th 201

Grounds Open 11.00am

Activities from midday


The Easter Egg Extravaganza at Traquair is the biggest event of its kind in the Borders. With over 5,500 mini eggs hidden in the Maze and some larger eggs to be won as well we guarantee that no child shall leave empty handed.

Recently featured on BBC’s “Lady Lairds” programme, the Easter event marks the beginning of the season at Traquair and Catherine Maxwell Stuart commented;

“We have been busy preparing for the event this year and are constantly refining the event to make it run as smoothly as possible. There will be lots of activities all day so it is not just about chocolate!”

 Other activities will include the painting of a gigantic 6ft Easter Egg which all are invited to decorate as well as traditional egg painting with eggs kindly supplied by Glenrath.

In the Walled garden children can also enjoy Easter Bonnet making, Musical Instrument making, Sand Art and Face Painting. There will be storytelling sessions at the house and treasure and scavenger hunts in the house and grounds.

Michael Angelo, the extraordinary stilt man will be entertaining the crowds and leading the Easter procession at 3.00pm for everyone to show off their bonnets!

This year there are three egg hunts planned for the under 10’s.

At 1.30pm the first hunt will be for 5-6year olds in the Maze. Then at 3.30pm there will be an under 5’s egg scramble in the Old Walled Garden and at 4.00pm a hunt for 7-9 year olds will be held in the Maze.

Light meals, a hog roast and delicious home baking will be available from our award winning 1745 Cottage Restaurant and Traquair House is open to the public from 11.00am – 5.00pm.

Admission: Adults £6.00 Child/Concs. £5.00 Under 5’s free

House entry is additional

All enquiries Tel; 01896 830323

Ian Cameron, Head Brewer at Traquair, retires after 45 years

Ian Cameron is retiring from Traquair this week having worked on the Traquair estate since 1970 and as head brewer since the late 1980’s.

His involvement at Traquair started over 45 years ago when he moved from Newcastle to live in the area originally as an electrical engineer but soon started helping out the 20th Laird, Peter Maxwell Stuart at the newly restored Traquair Brewery on an occasional basis. He then progressed to working as a groundsman while continuing to work in the brewery part time honing his skills as a brewer.

Finally in 1988 he took over as head brewer under the direction of the Laird and from then on never looked back.

After Peter’s death in 1990 and the brewery was taken over by his daughter, Catherine. Ian oversaw the development and expansion of the brewery from producing several hundred bottles a year to the current production of a quarter of a million bottles that are exported all over the world. The beers have won awards and recognition including being voted 20th best brewery in the world in 2005 by the website,

In the 1990’s Ian was joined by assistant brewery Frank Smith who takes over from Ian as head brewer with new trainee Ross Doherty who was recently appointed.

Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair, commented:

“We will all be very sorry to see Ian retire as he has put so much work and commitment into the estate and the brewery over the years but he has certainly earned his retirement.  Fortunately, he is staying on at Traquair so I am sure we will be calling on his many years’ experience now and again!”

When Mary Came to Stay...

Press Release

1566 – 2016

450th Anniversary of the visit of Mary Queen of Scots to Traquair House

When Mary Came to Stay...

450 years ago in 1566 Mary Queen of Scots stayed at Traquair while on a hunting expedition in the Scottish Borders.

Invited by John Stuart, 4th Laird of Traquair who was the Captain of her Bodyguard, the house was in a state of high excitement but the visit was not to be a happy one… 

This year Traquair is celebrating the family’s close connection with Mary Queen of Scots and their loyalty to the Stuart monarchy. The house contains many treasures belonging to Mary including the bed where she slept on her visit, the cradle where she rocked her baby son, James, and her rosary and crucifix.

Through an exhibition from the archives, a contemporary art exhibition and other events there will be many opportunities to learn more about this extraordinary Queen and her tragic life.

From 1st May to 30th June there will be an exhibition of sculptures, paintings and embroideries specially created by the artist Giulia Resteghini and installed throughout the house. “Memento Mori” explores the life of Mary; her regrets, friendships, betrayals and consolations within the very walls which once echoed with her voice.

From June to September there will also be a special exhibition focussing on Mary's association with the Stuarts of Traquair which will include some rare documents signed by her that still lie in the archives.

Traquair will be offering Mary Queen of Scots' themed tours for groups and you can also stay here in one of the three luxurious bedrooms on a Bed & Breakfast basis. This year the Mary Queen of Scots Experience will offer you two nights’ bed & breakfast and dinner with a Franco Scottish theme. You will also be provided with a self-drive itinerary of the places Mary Queen of Scots visited in the Scottish Borders with suggested stop overs for delicious locally produced lunches and teas.


A Feast of Festive Fun at Traquair!

Press Release…..

A Feast of Festive Fun at Traquair!


Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November

10.30am – 4.00pm

Traquair’s annual free open weekend will get everyone in a festive mood with the house decorated in Victorian Christmas style, stunning flowers by the Peebles Floral Art Society and a host of Christmas shopping opportunities, with local crafts, food, drink as well as sales in the Traquair Gift & Brewery shops.

For younger children the main lure will be Santa who will be arriving in his carriage and will be seeing children in the wonderful backdrop of the eighteenth century Lower Drawing Room with a crackling log fire.  They can also enjoy puppet shows, face painting, scavenger hunts and workshops.

Throughout the weekend there will be music in the Chapel and courtyard with St Ronans Silver Band, St Ronan’s School Choir, the Traquair Village Choir and Tweed Valley Male Voices.

With hot chestnuts, hot dogs, mulled wine served in the Dining Room and delicious home cooked lunches and teas in the 1745 Cottage Restaurant you can make a day of it in the beautiful surroundings of Traquair.

Contact: Catherine Maxwell Stuart/Sarah Macdonald Tel: 01896 830323 email:

Photographs available on request.


Traquair House is welcoming the coming of the Borders Railway with some special offers in September and October this year.

Visitors who have used the Borders Railway to visit Traquair will be offered a 50% discount on normal admission prices. Just show your rail ticket on the same day of your visit to redeem this offer.

Follow in the footsteps of 27 Scottish monarchs to visit this remarkable home which is steeped in 900 years of history. With its close association to Mary Queen of Scots and later the Jacobites it is a house full of treasures as well as a secret escape for Catholic priests during times of terror. In addition, the working brew house can be seen in one of the wings of the house and in the grounds you can lose yourself in the large hedged maze and walk in the ancient woodlands before enjoying a tasty lunch or tea at the 1745 Cottage Restaurant.  

In addition, guests who would like to take the opportunity of staying at Traquair in one of our three luxurious bedrooms will be collected and returned free of charge from regular bus services in Innerleithen that connect to Galashiels.

Staying at Traquair is a unique experience; enjoy exclusive use of the Lower Drawing Room in the evening beside an open fire while sipping a glass of Traquair Ale, then tour the house at your leisure and in the morning set yourself up for the day with a full Scottish Breakfast served in the eighteenth century Still Room.

To visit Traquair by rail, disembark at the Galashiels transport Interchange and take a 62 bus to Innerleithen that depart every 20 minutes. It is then a short 15 minute walk to the house or take a local taxi.

Catherine Maxwell Stuart commented:                         

“We are very excited about the coming of the Borders Railway and delighted that the Scottish Borders will be now firmly on the map for visitors from all over the world. Traquair is only a short bus journey away from the Galashiels station and we hope visitors will take advance of this unique train journey and exploring what the Borders and discovering its history.”



Americana Fair at Traquair House

Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd August

Final preparations for the Traquair Fair are under way for the 33rd Traquair Fair. This year, for the first time there will be an Americana theme including an Elvis tribute act, Danny Allan as well as Wild West Shows, Classic American Cars, Film, and a great line up of music throughout the weekend.

Catherine Maxwell Stuart who organises the event, commented:

“We may not be opening the Bear Gates just yet for this “king” but we can promise a sensational weekend of entertainment for all ages. There has been a great response already to the event and the Americana theme has touched a chord with many – who can resist Cowboys, Country, Cajun food and Cheerleaders! “

 With outdoor spectacles, music, theatre, film, dance and workshops for all ages this Is one of Scotland’s best loved family events and there is a packed programme to cater for every taste:

Highlights will include Martell’s Raiders, with shows including whip cracking, gun fights, fast draw and other stunning feats. In a slightly more tongue in cheek vein, the hilarious Calamity Jane will be presenting her own show including and her own line in lasso line dancing!

On the Music Stage in the old walled garden there will be music until 7pm with 11 bands over two days from Scotland and the USA. Featuring Country, Blues, Soul and Celtic Americana they include New York based Curtis Eller’s American Circus one of the quirkiest banjo players in the country.  From Georgia, Brooks Williams, a singer songwriter – ranked as one of the US top 100 acoustic guitarists. From Scotland, Dean Owens & The Whisky Hearts – one of Scotland’s most acclaimed and established singer songwriters described as Celtic Americana with a rocky pop edge. There will also be Edinburgh based choir, Got Soul; Foot stomping music and soaring harmonies from Glasgow based rootsy band, The Chaplins. Great blues music from 8 piece band, Blueswater.  Edinburgh based soul kings; Rising Souls, and Borders’ based country favourites The Frequent Flyers with Kathy Stewart.

Up in the courtyard there will be traditional Appalachian clog dance, storytelling, as well as a new show from the Award winning Two Faced Dance Company who will be presenting “Kapow” a high octane family show starring Batman, Superman and Spiderman coming to terms with modern day life. And an Americana theme would not be complete with some professional cheerleaders from Elite Pro Dance.

For children, there will be top quality entertainment for younger and older kids with theatre and puppet shows including the Latin American inspired puppets from Cusan Theatre, Macastory with some American inspired tales, Mr Boom, arts  and circus workshops, street theatre, swing boats, face painting, fairy wings and a range of other activities including the Rodeo Bull!

Out in front of the house there will be a display of classic American cars and motorbikes and up in the house a showing of some classic American films.

As well as all the entertainment there will be crafts, fantastic foods from around the world, local food producers and workshops for all to participate in including felt making, stone carving, green wood working as well of course, how to lasso!

For further details of the programme go to where reduced priced tickets can be purchased in advance until July 28th.


Editors Notes:

The Traquair Fair has been run since 1976 starting as a Craft Fair and growing into a large arts, theatre and music event. It is now run on a biennial basis.

Traquair is Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House and the event is held throughout the grounds and house.

The event regularly attracts 5 – 6,000 people over the weekend with camping available on site.

Contacts: Catherine Maxwell Stuart – organiser, Sarah Macdonald – marketing assistant

Tel; 01896 830323 

Email: or

Photographs supplied on request.

A Secret History Revealed at Traquair

Press Release…

Jacobite Tercentennary 1715 - 2015

Traquair’s close associations with the Jacobites are being brought to the fore in 2015 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the 1715 Jacobite rebellion.

The Stuarts of Traquair were prominent Jacobite supporters as were their close relations, the Nithsdales. The stories of these families include a dramatic escape from the Tower of London, the closing of the famous Bear Gates until the return of a Stuart King and an intricate system of secret communication including an unbroken coded letter.

A Jacobite theme will run through the year and a series of events and exhibitions will be mounted. The highlights will include the following:

  • A Jacobite Story – June 1st – Sept 30th. A new exhibition in the House will bring together rarely displayed documents and letters from the Traquair Archives telling the story of the Stuarts’ involvement in the rebellion and the Nithsdale escape along with a collection of contemporary Jacobite jewellery by Josephine Conkie. The exhibition will also include a loan from the Drambuie Collection of Jacobite glass that will complement Traquair’s own outstanding collection.
  • Traquair Harpsichord & Lute Recital – Saturday June 13th. A special chance to see the Jacobite exhibition after hours and attend a recital on the Traquair Harpsichord and Lute by Jan Waterfield and Jamie Akers. The Traquair Harpsichord dates from 1651 and has been recently restored. This will be the first time it has been played in public in over 20 years. Tickets available but limited!
  • A Jacobite Detective Trail will be linked to the exhibition and will encourage children to discover the many Jacobite secrets hidden in the house.
  • Secret Symbols and Hidden Meanings” will be the subject of a Jacobite talk with Murray Pittock at the Beyond Borders International Festival on the 22nd/23rd August.
  • A Jacobite Ghost Tour – The traditional Halloween Ghost Tours on 30/31st October and Fri 6th/Sat 7th November will have a historical Jacobite twist.

From Jousting to Jacobites at Traquair’s Medieval Fayre…

Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May 2015

11am – 5pm

Traquair House Innerleithen Peeblesshire

Traquair is the magical setting for a wonderful weekend of medieval mayhem for all the family with a chance to find out how life was really lived in the Middle Ages and the entertainment they all enjoyed.

From spectacular jousting on the avenue to a full scale Medieval Tournament with plenty of competition between knights throughout the day to falconry, archery, living history demonstrations, medieval traders and wandering minstrels this is a superb weekend for young and old.

Children will be enthralled by the many activities and opportunities to participate in everything from how to medieval catapult firing, hobby horse jousting and a helmet and sword making workshop. There is storytelling from Mistress Quill and a Jester performing and making mischief wherever you go.

As Traquair commemorates the tercentenary of the Jacobite 1715 Uprising this year we will have an additional attraction of a visitation by some Jacobites from a later age who will be providing a living camp and some combat demonstrations to show how fighting techniques had moved on after Medieval times.

There could be no venue more appropriate than Traquair with its 900 years of history to host a Medieval Fayre. The wonderful grassed avenue with the house as a backdrop will fill you with awe while the old walled garden is transformed into an authentic medieval setting with crafts, traders, activities and music.

With Ye Olde Medieval Ale brewed on the premises, Hog roast and other delicious foods on offer the Medieval Fayre makes for a truly entertaining and educational and enjoyable weekend   

Reduced price tickets available until 19th May

Adults £12.00 (£10.00 advance) Child/Concs. £10.00 (£8.00 advance) Family £38.00 (£36.00 advance). Ticket price includes all entertainment and entry to house. Dogs welcome on leads. 

Traquair Celebrates 50 Years of Brewing with a Very Special Ale



Traquair is celebrating 50 years of brewing in the ancient brewery at Traquair, Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House.

In 1965, Peter Maxwell Stuart, 20th Laird of Traquair came upon an extraordinary discovery in the eighteenth century wing of the house. A complete brew house and tun room had been left untouched for over a century and used as the family junk store. Having uncovered the vessels, cleaned and restored the equipment he decided to try his hand at brewing. Together with his friend Sandy Hunter, then owner of Belhaven Brewery, they came up with a recipe for a traditional “wee heavy”, the orginal Traquair House Ale. The beer was first brewed in 1965 and is still brewed at Traquair today.

50 years on, Traquair has a built a world wide reputation as an iconic Scottish Ale with a unique heritage and rarity value. It was even voted 20th best brewery in the world by an American consumer website.

To celebrate this half century of brewing, Peter’s daughter, Catherine, who now runs the brewery has produced the TRAQUAIR 50, a limited edition ale (20,000 bottles only) packaged in a specially designed bottle.

With an ABV 9% this is not a beer to be taken lightly but promises to be a smooth dark  and well balanced ale.  Catherine Maxwell Stuart commented,

“We have had a tradition of producing “specials” down the years which have become real collector’s items and the Traquair 50 will be no exception.  The oak fermentation gives our ales a depth and complexity that gives our beers their really unique character. With a guaranteed shelf life of 10 years, you can keep this bottle in your cellar for some time!”

The Traquair 50 will be available from Traquair House from the 20th April which is open daily until the end of October and from selected independent retailers.

Editors notes:

 Traquair House Brewery is situated in the wing of Traquair House that was built in 1694. The original equipment includes the copper purchased for £8 10s in 1738 and the oak fermenting tuns made from Russian memel oak.

Traquair House Brewery produces 3 bottled Ales Traquair House Ale ABV 7.2% Traquair Jacobite Ale ABV 8% and Traquair Bear Ale ABV 5%.

Ingredients comprise Hops (East Kent Goldings), Malt, pure Spring Water and Yeast.

90% of the beers are bottled with only Bear Ale available on draught.

Traquair is sold to the USA, Canada, Japan, Finland, Denmark, Italy, France, Sweden, Russia, Brazil and China.

For further information, photographs and interviews contact; Catherine Maxwell Stuart, Traquair House, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire EH4 6PW