The unspoiled farm where Robert Burns wrote the world famous Auld Lang Syne is open for holiday stays for the first time.
Auld Acquaintance cottage, in the grounds of Ellisland Farm on the banks of the Nith, offers the only opportunity to holiday at one of the national poet’s homes.
All profits from the new venture will support the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, the charity focussed on saving the A listed farmstead, considered Burns’ most authentic surviving home and the only one he built himself.
Burns built the property for his young wife Jean Armour in 1788 and completed around one third of his songs, poems and letters there – including Tam o Shanter, Auld Lang Syne, Ye Banks and Braes and Killiekrankie.
Auld Acquaintance Cottage was originally built for a farm worker in the mid 20thcentury. Thanks to support from South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), the economic and community development agency for the region, the cottage was completely remodelled to ensure it was more in keeping with the traditional 18th century buildings. Seed funding to obtain the initial permissions was given by Museum Galleries Scotland Small Grants Fund.
The £230,000 refurbishment also made the building more environmentally friendly, with external insulation and an air source heat pump reducing its previous carbon footprint by around 90%.
Joan McAlpine, Project Director for the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust said: “Auld Acquaintance Cottage offers a unique chance to immerse yourself in one of the places which inspired Burns. It’s so romantic and will allow guests to see nature through the poet’s eyes. While Burns and his family endured hardship at their farms, this cottage allows guests to experience the traditional surroundings and atmosphere, but with every modern comfort.”
“All the profits from the cottage will be used to support the charity as we work to preserve the buildings and the museum collection, and in the longer term deliver a plan to turn the site into an international cultural attraction and education hub.”
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of SOSE, added: “Ellisland Farm is a site of historical significance which has become a major tourism asset for the South of Scotland.
“Ellisland is the site where key works by Robert Burns were written, which means it is critical it becomes sustainable for its long term future. The opening of the Auld Acquaintance Cottage is an important step towards helping maintain Ellisland.
“SOSE looks forward to continuing to work with the Trust to realise its ambitions for Ellisland Farm.”
“We have provided them with guidance alongside funding.
“We will continue to support the Trust alongside partners to realise their ambition for the whole Ellisland site.
The luxury accommodation includes an open plan kitchen dining area, an ensuite double bedroom and a single room. Residents can enjoy dinner looking over the River Nith, experiencing the views which attracted Burns himself to the location. The property can sleep four people using a sofa bed and welcomes dogs.
Interior touches include a wood burning stove manufactured by Dowling in Wigtownshire, hand carved furniture from Phil Crennell near Dalbeattie, antiques from 10 Castle Street, Dumfries, and blinds from Country Fabrics, Dumfries. Garden Furniture was made by EchoBenchez in New Luce. The lead contractor was Lewis Murray of Ecclefechan with contract administration carried out by McGowan Miller of Dumfries and internal decoration by Alex Dill of Thornhill. Plans for the remodelling were drawn up by Dumfries and Galloway based architectural consultant, David Lamb.
More information about Auld Acquaintance Cottage, including how to book, can be found here https://www.ellislandfarm.co.uk/stay/