Mount Stuart, on the picturesque Isle of Bute, off the west coast of Scotland, is simply astounding. Behind its Victorian gothic exterior, this huge mansion is more like a marble palace and its estate extends to some 10,900 hectares, encompassing pretty much the whole island. And, when it comes to mod cons, Mount Stuart was the show home of the 19th century. It was the first home in the world to have a heated indoor pool, and the first in Scotland to have electric lighting, central heating, a telephone system and a Victorian passenger lift.
The magnitude of the house’s ornateness is breathtaking and includes a marble hall with an 80ft vaulted ceiling and cut crystal stars embedded in stained glass windows; a marble staircase; a chapel lined with brilliant white Carrara marble; a dining room with two splendid Louis Quinze chandeliers; and a Purple Library with a beautifully carved French walnut ceiling.
In the grounds, wildflower meadows and a distinctly west-coast shoreline wilderness provide an apt contrast to the carefully composed beauty of our lawns and gardens. Wooded areas stretch away along the drive and down towards the Firth of Clyde. Each year, the trees give shelter to carpets of vivid daffodils, followed by prolific bluebells.
Tel: 01599 555 202; www.mountstuart.com