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On Sunday 19th of April (12 noon – 4.30 pm), Winton House near Pencaitland in East Lothian is inviting visitors to its annual Family Spring Open Day, with funds being raised for The Bethany Christian Trust, the Scottish charity for the homeless, and Scotland’s Gardens which supports Maggie’s, the cancer care charity.

James Maynard, Winton’s General Manager, describes what’s on:

“Elite Falconry are bringing their birds of prey, and they’ll be putting on one of their dramatic falconry displays at about 2.30pm. They hope to bring up to five of their beautiful birds of prey: a Harris Hawk, an Indian Eagle Owl, a Tawny Owl, a Golden Eagle and a Striated Caracara (from the Falkland Islands).”

Roxanne Peggie from Elite Falconry says: “There are lovely open grounds in Winton’s gardens with trees at the edges and no power lines or roads. This makes for a perfect setting, trees for the Harris Hawks to fly from and a beautiful backdrop for photos.”

“There will be lots of family entertainment at the Open Day: face painting, a bouncy castle with slides, trampolines, archery, ‘have-a-go’ Highland games and an opportunity to go through the grounds on our new segways,” adds James Maynard.

“Café Winton will be in the dining room offering its popular homemade sandwiches and cakes, and the famous Lucas ice cream van will also be featuring.

“Visitors can also go on guided house tours to see Winton’s intricate Scottish Renaissance ceilings, and hear about the house’s links to the Seton family, Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Elgin Marbles.

“Anyone taking good photos should post some on our Facebook wall so we can create an open day gallery.”
Picnickers are also welcome and garden enthusiasts will enjoy walking through the gardens. Most of the Winton’s plants are raised from seeds and cuttings in the polytunnel and glasshouse. Cut flowers from the gardens feature at clients’ events in the House.

Head Gardener, Toby Subiotto, adds:

“Visitors will be able to see Winton’s famous wild daffodils in full bloom. Early flowering cherries, shrubs, hellebores, cyclamen and early bulbs should also be on display.

“We’re now into the final stages of our garden development plan. The terraced gardens have been planted with wall shrubs, climbers, and tender and semi sub-shrubs, such as Salvias and Echiums.

“In the walled garden sunflowers, squashes and sub-tropical bedding will provide a colourful late season display.”

Entrance to the Open Day is free for children and £4 per adult. There is plenty of parking near the house. More information at www.wintonhouse.co.uk