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Mount Stuart

Mount Stuart is the family seat of the Stuarts of Bute. The Bute family are direct descendants of King Robert the Bruce whose daughter Marjorie married Walter, the then "Steward of Bute", in 1315. Their son, King Robert II of Scotland, thus became the first Stuart King. The Stuart name is derived from the hereditary office of "Steward of Bute" held by the family since 1157.

The hereditary appointments of "Sheriff of Bute" and "Captain and Keeper of Rothesay Castle" date back to 1385 and 1498 respectively.

The original Mount Stuart house was built in 1719 by the 2nd Earl of Bute (1682-1723). Following a disastrous fire on December 3rd 1877, in which the central part of the building was destroyed, the 3rd Marquess of Bute embarked upon his ambitious plan to build the existing house, although parts of the project remained incomplete at the time of his death in 1900.

A programme of major renovation and refurbishment was carried out by the late 6th Marquess before the house was opened to the public in 1995.

Mount Stuart, a spectacular Victorian Gothic house, is the magnificent architectural fantasy of the 3rd Marquess of Bute (1847-1900) and the Scottish architect Robert Rowland Anderson. It is situated on the island of Bute in the Firth of Clyde. The island is only a short journey away by ferry from either Argyll or Ayrshire, making it one of the most accessible islands on the beautiful West Coast of Scotland. The house reflects, in its artistic, astrological and religious content, the diverse interests of the 3rd Marquess.

The scale and ambition of Mount Stuart is equalled only by Bute's collaboration with William Burges to restore Cardiff Castle. Indeed, many craftsmen from Cardiff were involved in the building of Mount Stuart.

The profusion of astrological designs, stained glass and marble is breathtaking, and all combine to envelop the visitor in the mystique and history of the house. The fine collection of full-length family portraits illustrate several hundred years of the Bute family history.

The house sits in 300 acres of designed landscape and 18th-century woodlands established by the 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-1792), who advised on the foundation of Kew Gardens.

To the south of the house lies the secluded "wee garden" and to the north, a Victorian kitchen garden, recently recreated and replanted by the late Lord Bute and Rosemary Verey. This garden includes a large octagonal glass pavilion, which is currently undergoing an ambitious planting project to recreate a "microcosm" consisting of montane and rainforest material from Borneo and Papua New Guinea. Adjacent to the kitchen garden lies the mature Victorian Pinetum of North American conifers, and beyond, a newly-planted Arboretum has been divided into sub-units representing each of the main regions of the world. This forms part of the Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh's International Conifer Conservation Project.

The beautiful Limetree Avenue leads visitors to a stretch of sandy shoreline, one of the most beautiful and peaceful in the West of Scotland.

In order to fully enjoy the many different aspects of Mount Stuart House & Gardens, plan to spend the day; picnic within the grounds or make use of the catering facilities provided on site.

  • Car parking available at the visitor centre.
  • Ticket Desk, shop, licensed restaurant, audio-visual and gallery at the visitor centre.
  • Adventure Play Area.
  • Picnic sites and way-marked walks within the 300 acres of grounds/gardens.
  • Courtesy transport from the visitor centre to house.
  • Pre-booked guided house, garden and ranger tours available on application.
  • House and majority of gardens accessible by assisted wheelchair users.

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    Mount Stuart Postcode for SatNav: PA20 9LR


    +44 (0)1700 503 877
    +44 (0)1700 505 313

    Mount Stuart
    Isle of Bute
    PA20 9LR

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