The Castle - Touring with our Floors Castle Guides
"My team of guides and I have all been on the estate for many years, and we all have a deep love and interest in Scotland's history.
Floors is steeped in history and what better place can there be in which to work than a castle filled to the brim with fine works of art, timeless tapestries and a beautiful collection of antiques! Because we have such a keen interest, our knowledge is extensive; we can relate all of the castle's fine details as well as many quirky stories that are certain to enthral our visitors. My team and I are delighted to share our interest and knowledge of Floors. As you'll discover from the warmth and friendliness here, this is not just a castle but a home!"
Floors Castle is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and has been home to the Dukes of Roxburghe since it was built in 1721 for the 1st Duke.
The 10th Duke of Roxburghe and his wife, Virginia Mary, live at Floors Castle for much of the year. Within the apartments visitors will sense the freshness and vibrancy that comes from being in a real family home. Floors Castle is one of the few castles that has managed to survive & prosper as a family home.
The Floors Castle tour is organised by our experienced castle guides and starts from the covered porch where visitors might have disembarked from their carriage in the 19th century. Your guide will cover a selection of rooms including
- The Entrance Hall - and imposing start with a gallery of paintings and fretwork ceiling
- The Ante-room - one of the oldest parts of the castle with panoramic views
- The Sitting Room - early Georgian design and the work of Robert Adam
- The Drawing Room - with its distinctive 17th century 'Brussels' tapestries
- The Needle Room - originally a closet to the State Bedroom
- The Dining Room - contains a display of silver gilt from some of Britain's finest silversmiths
- The Ballroom - the largest room in the Castle with magnificent bay windows and views.
- The Billiard Room - originally Playfair's State bedroom contains some fine family portraits.
- The Bird room - contains the 6th Duke's vast array of stuffed birds.
- The Gallery & Robe Room - contains the Roxburghe Coronation Robes and family costumes
- The State Dining Room - not normally open to the public
The basement of the house also has some exhibition areas featuring a collection of prams, carriages and a variety of other items of historical interest.
Visitors also have access to a large area of the castle grounds which include a footpath by the River Tweed, a children's playpark and The Floors Castle plant centre. You can also see the Holly Tree that marks the spot where King James II was killed in 1460 by the explosion of one of his own cannon during a siege at Roxburghe.
The Entrance Hall
The Castle is entered by the carriage porch added by Playfair in 1843.
The design of the Entrance Hall is a reminder that Floors has an earlier house at its heart. The fretwork ceiling was executed by a local plasterer named Pirie.
The wall-lights in Louis XVI style are a reproduction of a model produced for Louis XV's hunting lodge, Saint Hubert.
The oak centre-table with lions' paw feet and the oak bookcase are part of Playfair's original furnishings.
The Ante Room
Although remodelled by William Adam with a Georgian cove, the small size and massive walls indicate that this is one of the oldest parts of the Castle.
This room takes full advantage of the panoramic view overlooking the River Tweed, the Cheviot Hills and the remains of Roxburgh Castle.
In the park can be seen a holly tree marking the spot where King James II of Scotland was killed in 1460, when his own cannon exploded while laying siege to Roxburgh Castle.
Above the fireplace is the 15th century Brussels Tapestry, woven as an alter piece with silks and gold thread.
Among the many fine examples of French furniture is a late Louis XVI bureau, a cylindre by Pierre Denizot.
The Sitting Room
The early Georgian decoration makes it easy to identify this room with the work of William Adam.
Duchess May, wife of the 8th Duke, had this room refitted in 1930, including the black marble hearth from Lenygons, who were leading specialists in period rooms.
It is also apparent that the Duchess was attracted to gilt gesso furniture. The room has now been painted to create a less formal sitting room.
The recent portrait of the present Duke, by Howard Morgan, which now hangs in the recess, is in keeping with this new spirit.
The Drawing Room
This room was also refitted by Lenygons in 1930 to accommodate the set of Brussells tapestries known as ' The Triumphs of the Gods '. Duchess May inherited them after the death of her mother in 1929 and brought them here from the family's mansion at Rhode Island.
The quality of Duchess May's collection of French furniture was confirmed in 1963 when Piere Verlet, Chief Curator of the Louvre Museum in Paris, was taking tea in this room and realised that the commode in the right hand recess was a French royal piece.
It was supplied by Gilles Joubert in 1773 for the bedchamber of the Comtesse d'Artois at the Palace of Versailles.
The Needle Room
This room in the south-east turret retains its Georgean Cove and originally served as the Closet to the State Bedroom.
Playfair added the diamond coffering to the ceiling. Duchess May also redesigned this room in Louis XVI style, reflecting American enthusiasm for Marie Antoinette.
The room has been refurnished recently to display some of the most important smaller works of art from Duchess May's collection.
Works of art, including Matisse, Odilon Redon and Augustus John and early needlework, show her flair for decorative objects of superb quality.
The Dining Room
Playfair's Billiard Room was speedily re-fitted in 1842 so that it could serve as a temporary Dining Room while the principal Dining Room in the West Front was extended and redecorated.
The Dining Room is now used to display a selection of silver-gilt, which include works of art by many of Britain's greatest silversmiths.
Hogarth's portrait of the actress, Peg Woffington, exemplifies how these particular portraits held particular appeal for Duchess May.
The State Dining Room
This was the principal Dining Room in the West Front of the castle which Playfair had extended and redecorated.
It is obvious why Playfair chose this room to impress guests, as the views overlooking the River Tweed to the Cheviot Hills are breathtakingly beautiful.
The State Dining Room is the private dining room of Their Graces The Duke and The Duchess of Roxburghe, and is therefore not open to the public.
This large reception room with two walls of large bay windows was added by Playfair in 1842 to command the panoramic view across the River Tweed.
The interior was altered by Duchess May to display many of the larger works of art in her collection, particularly the late 17th century 'Gobelins Tapestries'.
The ballroom has two large Savonnerie carpets and a superb collection of gilt furniture.
The Billiard Room
The billiard table occupies Playfair's State Bedroom, now united with part of the adjoining State Dressing Room, to create a larger room.
Playfair tried to give this small 18th century room space by adding the deep bay window and the geometric ceilings.
When Queen Victoria stayed at Floors in 1867, her son, Prince Leopold, occupied this room.
The full-length portrait of Duchess May, painted by Edward Hughes, is here, as well as other paintings of the 6th Duke's children.
The Bird Room
This room testifies to the scientific interest of the 6th Duke, who succeeded his father at the age of seven years.
Many of the birds were mounted by Mr Heckford of Kelso, who's skills were highly esteemed locally.
The exceptionally Gothic mahogany cases are not in keeping with the style of Playfair's improvements and must predate them. These fitted bird cases have ensured the survival of a solitary William Adam marble fireplace.
As well as many well-known species of birds, the Bird Room contains some other less common examples, including the now extinct American passenger pigeon.
The Gallery & Robe Room
The Gallery is Playfair's Billiard Room passage and retains his attractive picturesque casement windows.
The existing display cases were intended for trophies of ' fur, feathers and fin ', but have now been adapted to display a selection of the porcelain and smaller works of art from Duchess May's Collection, which used to decorate every surface in her rooms.
The Robe Room was the 6th Duke's laboratory, but is now used to display the Roxburghe Coronation Robes and part of the family's costume collection.