Grounds & Gardens

Grounds & Gardens

The grounds of Paxton House today are a tranquil haven for wildlife but also a place for entertainment with plenty of space to explore. Come with the whole family and bring the dog!


Explore Paxton House Gardens where you will find something to enjoy in every season from woodland walks to tranquil flower gardens.

Family Fun

There is a real sense of freedom for families in the grounds at Paxton House. Find your own adventures and enjoy some family time together.


The grounds of Paxton House hide many surprises. Have you seen our working waterwheel, our icehouse or booked a river adventure?

explore the gardens

Woodland Gardens

Paths wind through a shady woodland garden between natural ravines while specimen trees screen and reveal the outstanding views across the river Tweed to the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland to the South. As new species of plants were introduced to Britain in the 19th century the woodland gardens were planted with varieties of rhododendrons.

Explore the gardens

Spring Bulbs

Paxton House is famous for displays of daffodils. Lining the roads and massed at the entrance to the house, daffodils and narcissus have come to mean the arrival of Spring at Paxton House. Make a spring visit a family tradition. A varied collection of spring bulbs is also a feature of the Well Garden.

Explore The Gardens

Flower Gardens

There are two main areas of flower gardens.  The flower garden terraces to the South and West of the house were introduced by George Home when pure landscape became less fashionable in the Regency. Today, colourful, well stocked herbaceous borders lead to a circular lily pond.  Further down the slope is the Well Garden, developed by John Home Robertson in the 1960s with ornamental shrubs, azaleas and ferns. There is something to see in every season lovingly maintained by our team of garden volunteers.

Family Fun

There is a real sense of freedom for families in the woodland gardens at Paxton House. For more adventure experience our Woodland Playground with its slides, zip wire and climbing towers or discover your inner Robin Hood in our Den Building Zone. For a family game, try your skill at croquet or practice your putting skills. Golf was, after all, invented in Scotland. Make a family discovery together, the waterwheel or the salmon netting station or book a river adventure.



In 1758, the family at Paxton House relied on water drawn from wells nearly 100 metres below the house. Within the first 20 years of the house’s life, a new technology  was installed at Paxton using a beam engine – with a horse engine for back up – to drive a giant waterwheel which lifted spring water up to the house.

This historic water system, the earliest to survive in Scotland, has now been fully restored and runs daily during the summer season between 1:00pm and 2:00pm.

Salmon Netting

See the science on the river Tweed.

Highland Cows

Meet our herd of Highland cows.

Out and About


Paxton is perfect for fresh air. Regain your sense of well being with a quick stroll to the flower gardens, the waterwheel or the Bird and Squirrel Hide (10 mins). Or a longer one through the woods to the river Tweed, the boathouse and salmon netting station (15 mins) A little further will take you to the historic Union Chain Bridge, Britain’s first suspension bridge (30-45 mins) or around the grounds (45 – 60 mins) and back for tea in the Stables Café.

out and about


Dogs are welcome at Paxton. There are 80 acres to explore so just make sure you keep them on the lead and pick up after them (there are regular dog poo bins). Your pooch is welcome in the Stables Tearoom, either outside in the Courtyard or inside the Harness Room (though not in the main house). You might even find something for your doggie wardrobe in the Gift Shop.

out and about


Go quietly and you may spot some of our plentiful wildlife. We are actively encouraging habitat cover for birds, small mammals and invertebrates. The Bird and Squirrel Hide is the best place to spot some of our shy creatures. Along the river Tweed, herons, cormorants, mute swans, mallard, otters and sometimes even seals all inhabit the riverbanks.

out and about


Our gorgeous Highland cows are having a cushy time in the lowland pastures of Paxton House.  They are bred to withstand the harsh conditions of the Highlands in winter, with long woolly coats, stocky bodies and sweeping horns.  They are members of the oldest registered cattle breed in the world.  Ours come in two colours, black and ginger. Black was the original colour of the breed but since Queen Victoria liked the ginger ones better, the red colouring has tended to predominate. Which colour do you like best?

out and about

The Appleyard

The south facing brick wall dates from the 1760s and makes this a real sun trap.  Heritage apple trees, plums and mulberries are trained up the wall and the surrounding beds are planted with soft fruits and herbs.

The Edinburgh Window was rescued when the lofty Life Association of Scotland building, which once stood on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, was demolished over 50 years ago, and is now  rebuilt as the centrepiece of the Apple Yard.  It dates from 1855 when geologist David Milne-Home lived at Paxton and would have walked past it regularly on his journeys round Edinburgh. Now we can all enjoy the intricate stone carving, its cherubs, columns and swags. This striking historic garden feature is a great spot for a selfie or maybe a romantic tryst.