Scotsman Homes area focus: Haddington

The Lammermuir Festival has returned after a two-year hiatus and is underway at some of East Lothian’s most picturesque locations.

Haddington High Street

Running until this Sunday, the event brings together historic architecture, classical musicians and the communities of the many towns and villages nestled between the rolling Lammermuir Hills and the east coast.

In Haddington, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will perform on Saturday evening at the majestic St Mary’s Parish Church, on the town’s Sidegate, which can be traced back to the 14th Century.

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Also known as the Lamp of Lothian, the kirk is the longest parish church in Scotland, and is sure to provide euphonious acoustics for the performance.

Haddington – otherwise known as “The Hidden Toun” – provides the perfect setting for a festival dedicated to East Lothian’s beauty. The place is filled with stunning architecture, and at its centre stands the 1745-built Town House, designed by the world-renowned architect William Adam.

The High Street comprises shops and apartments in colourfully-painted traditional stone buildings, and at the end of the distinctive thoroughfare stands the impressive former George Hotel, with its battlement-topped turret and arched windows.

During King David I’s reign in the 1100s, Haddington was made a Royal Burgh, allowing it to flourish into a market town.

By the 1400s, the birthplace of the Reverend John Knox had become the country’s fourth-largest town, behind Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.

During the following centuries, Haddington grew as a producer of cloth and was home to numerous mills before being at the centre of the 18th-Century Scottish Agricultural Revolution.

Today it is the seat of East Lothian Council and has a 10,000-strong population. Less than 20 miles from the Capital, it is appealing to commuters seeking a quiet location with easy access to the countryside and the coast.

A property there will cost on average about £300,000, according to Zoopla – a rise of 3.83 per cent over the last year.

Park Lane and West Road in the west of Haddington are highly desirable addresses where the average value for a property is £306,155 and £700,182, respectively. That said, properties here have sold for more than £1 million of late.

The leafy streets feature large Victorian and Edwardian houses with well-maintained gardens and driveways, and uninterupted views towards the Lammermuir Hills.

Hope Park, west of the town centre, is also a popular domain that has a number of traditional stone terraces. Properties there are valued at about £239,000, but have sold for £433,000 in the last 12 months.

And those seeking a more modern abode have a wealth of choice.

High-end luxury family homes can be found at Alderston Gardens, in north west Haddington. It is a modern development of large detached houses with landscaped gardens, double integrated garages, with an average value of £621,730.

On the other side of West Road is Gaffney Gardens, which features similar properties with similar price tags.

Those with a lower budget should view Cala Homes’ Letham Views development off Pencaitland Road, with three, four and five-bed homes priced from £349,995.

Schools in the town include Haddington Primary School on Neilson Park Road and Knox Academy on Pencaitland Road. Independent education is provided at The Compass School and other independent schools in Edinburgh are just a 40-minute drive away.

Groceries can be bought at Tesco, Co-op and Aldi, as well as numerous independent retailers.

However, the farmers markets held on Court Street on Saturdays provide an opportunity to meet some of the local producers from in and around the town, while sampling the delights of some of East Lothian’s rich larder.

Market Value

Average market value of a property in the area (Source: Zoopla)

Detached £520,548

Semi-detached £255,924

Terrace £232,535

Flat £166,742

Attractions

John Gray Centre on Lodge Street covers the history of East Lothian through 1,000 objects housed at the venue’s free interactive museum, pictured. There are two galleries with one hosting an ever-changing programme of exhibitions. There is also a library and computer and function suites. The museum is open from 10am to 4.30pm, Tuesday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. It closes for an hour at 1pm.

St Martin’s Kirk on the eastern outskirts of town is a rare and fine example of a12th-Century parish church that has survived since the reign of King David I. The ruins are maintained by Historic Environment Scotland and are free to visit all year round.

Lennoxlove House two miles south of Haddington was home to the dukes of Hamilton, and dates from the 14th Century. Still a private home, it opens its doors to the public on certain days of the year and pre-booked guided tours for individuals and groups can be arranged until the end of October. They cost £10 or £9 per person for groups up to 20 and can be arranged by calling 01620 823 720.

Amisfield Walled Gardens on the outskirts of Haddington is one of the largest and most spectacular in Scotland. Its network of paths is based on maps from the 18th Century and there are A-listed pavilions in each of garden’s four corners. It is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Saturday between 10am and 1pm. To find out more, visit www.amisfield.org.uk