Historic Newhailes House reopens with new ice cream parlour following major renovations

A grand 17th century villa on the fringes of Edinburgh has reopened its doors for the first time in three years following a major refurbishment.

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Conservation experts at the National Trust for Scotland have been working on restoring Newhailes House on the edge of Musselburgh since 2018, and have introduced a brand-new visitor experience inside the house and opened new catering facilities on the estate – including an ice cream parlour.

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The Palladian villa, which is Category A listed, was forced to close in February 2018 due to a sprinkler system malfunction and a moth infestation.

Built in 1686, the house is frozen in time, and contains a number of original furnishings and possessions dating back to its earliest days of habitation.

Able to reopen following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, the house has undergone a programme of restoration work to be able to welcome visitors again and the stable block on the estate has been refurbished to create a new welcome centre and café.

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Children can also enjoy Weehailes Playpark and visitors can try The Dairy – a brand new takeaway ice cream parlour and coffee shop.

The Palladian villa was forced to close in February 2018 due to a sprinkler system malfunction and a moth infestation.

The dairy premises once provided milk, cream and butter for all that lived and worked on the estate in days gone by.

In addition to The Dairy, Newhailes is now home to the Stables café, with outdoor and indoor seating and serving up breakfast, lunch and an array of cakes and pastries.

The team at Newhailes have developed three brand new visitor tours, one of which can now be pre-booked on www.nts.org.uk. The first tour explores the last 150 years of habitation at Newhailes and the Trust’s role in saving the house and estate for future generations to enjoy. The second tour sheds further light on the property, telling the tales behind the art collections and objects in the house. The final tour is targeted at families and explores the home through storytelling.

Claire Grant, Operations Manager for Edinburgh said: “We’ve been taking steps to revitalise Newhailes since before 2018 and plans were further delayed when the pandemic hit. We wanted to create a new experience that the local community could enjoy, in addition to offering a good quality food and drink experience.

A new ice cream parlour has opened at the historic site.

“We’re really excited to be welcoming visitors back to Newhailes House after what has been a very long period of closure and we hope they enjoy some of our new additions, like our Dairy and Stables Café. So many people love this place, and we’re really pleased to be able to welcome visitors from near and far back once again.

“All of our properties across Edinburgh and the Lothians have been making visits as safe as possible. Pre-booking is in place at a few sites and there are smaller groups for house tours. We’d highly recommend booking your slot to Newhailes in advance to avoid any disappointment.”

Newhailes House is open for the 20th century tour Wednesday to Sunday, the Dairy is open 10am-5pm, the Stables Café and shop are open 9am-5pm and Weehailes Playpark is open 10am-5pm, with last entry at 4 pm.

Pre-booking is advised – visit www.nts.org.uk.

The former stables block includes seating areas for families to enjoy a bite to eat or a beverage.

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