Abbotsford Art Retreat

The Hope Scott Wing, at Abbotsford House
Melrose, Scotland

May 14- May 21, 2024
Limited to just eight artists
THIS RETREAT IS NOW FULL. Please complete the application to be added to the wait list. 

Abbotsford was the home of Sir Walter Scott, and is the brain-child of his rich, large-scale, romantic imagination. He designed his home to be a place of constant creative inspiration. The castle and estate are now owned by the Scotland National Trust, and is a public museum.  Sir Walter Scott built a beautiful wing onto the castle, The Hope Scott Wing, for his niece. This eight-bedroom, stunning wing will be our home for the week of our retreat! We will be able to enjoy after hours access to the gardens and the 120 acre estate, and will have the privilege of experiencing Abbotsford in a way that not many get to experience it. 

This is the Hope Scott Wing at Abbotsford Castle, where you will be living for the week! 

 These retreats are not based on your portfolio... they exist to invite artists of all mediums to experience time and space away from their daily routines, environments, and obligations. They allow creative time to reflect, make art, relax, and explore a new area with new inspirations. Immersion into an area other than your home can be healing and inspiring. Something magical happens when artists explore their creativity within a new community!

What's Included in your Retreat?

There are no mandatory scheduled events during these retreats, but there will be mini-classes if you would like to go out of your comfort zone and try something new! Included in the cost of your retreat will be three art mini-classes (about 3 hours each), as well as a private tour of Abbotsford House, a private Abbotsford Gin tasting, a tour of the ruins of Melrose Abbey, a tour of The Great Tapestry of Scotland, and High Tea on the estate. In addition to this, you will have opportunities to do additional art classes as optional add-ons (Amanda will let you know when these become available). 

The week is all yours to do what you wish. These retreats are meant to give YOU time to reconnect with your creative self, and have the freedom to explore your own medium in a new environment. Do as many or as few of the scheduled events as you wish! 

Meals (other than the high-tea) and transportation are not included in the cost of your retreat. There is a kitchen where you can prepare food, and a wonderful cafe serving breakfast and lunch on the estate. These retreats are designed to give artists freedom during their week, and having to pause your creative process for meal-times goes against that idea. Also, these retreats are designed to make sure that even the introverts among us can feel comfortable attending! There have been writers and artists that are hardly ever seen, as well as attendees that enjoy socializing with others. The week is yours to do what you wish, when you wish, without interruption, obligations, or guilt! 

Abbotsford, and some of the gardens on the estate.

Please note that Abbotsford House is open the public, and is a museum. The Scott-Hope Wing is private. We will have after-hours access to the estate. The gardens and walks will be shared by those visiting the estate during the day, but our wing and it's courtyard will remain private throughout our stay. 


The Itinerary may change or evolve as time goes on! Additional art classes will be added as optional add-ons!Artists who attend the retreat will be sent a confirmed itinerary 6 months before the retreat.

Day 1: Arrive at Abbotsford. Relax, wander the gardens, and meet the other artists in the sitting room at 6:00 PM for a meet and greet. 

Day 2
Morning Class: Create your own sketchbook in the first class of your retreat! Keeping with the literary theme of where we're staying, we will be using antique books and Amanda's book-binding skills to create beautiful watercolor grade sketchbooks for you to use throughout your retreat, and after! 
In the afternoon, we will be given a private tour of Sir Walter's Scott's home and museum. 

Day 3
Introductory Watercolor Color Class, at Abbotsford, with wonderful local artist, Maria Koeva. 
Traditional High Tea on the Abbotsford Estate. 

Day 4
10 AM: Plein Air Watercolor and Sketching in the walled garden at Abbotsford. This very casual plein air class will have you practicing your new, or old, skills in the beautiful walled gardens on the estate. 
In the afternoon, we will head into Melrose Village and be given a private tour of the Melrose Abbey Ruin. After the tour, we will have hours to walk around the village, shop, sketch by the river, watercolor at Melrose Abbey, etc. 

Day 5
10:00 AM Tour of The GreatTapestry of Scotland! Crafted by 1,000 stitchers, illustrating 12,000 years of Scottish history on 160 hand stitched panels!  
Evening; Private Abbotsford Gin Tasting 

Day 6
FREE DAY. This would be great day to hop on the train to Edinburgh, or go see some of the other sites in the Melrose area: Gardens, Roman ruins, 

Day 7

Living Room

Beautiful Landscape around Abbotsford. 


The cost of your retreat will depend on which room you choose. You will see the price of the retreat next to each room choice below. 

Pricing for the week ranges from $1250-$2000.

Half of the cost of your retreat will be due when your spot if confirmed. The second half of your retreat cost will be due January 2024. 

Abbotsford has 120 acres of incredible gardens, river walks, and trails to explore.

There is a kitchen to cook meals if you would like to. This large space (with a table for 12) will also be where mini-classes will be held.  

For eating your meals, there is a beautiful dining room! 


Getting to Abbotsford

Your best choice is to fly into Edinburgh. You will take the Train services from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank.  Amanda will be picking up those traveling by train at the Tweedbank Station, which is just 1 mile from Abbotsford. 

While you're staying at Abbotsford, the Abbotsford minibus runs from the Tweedbank Station Wednesday through Sunday, and Melrose Abbey to Abbotsford Wednesday- Sunday. You will be given a time table for using the minibus when you arrive. 

The Bedrooms

On your Application, you will list your top three room choices. 

The Hope-Scott Master Bedroom

Grand master bedroom complete with beautiful four-poster bed with canopy, Victorian chaise longue, dressing table and two stylish armchairs, where one can sit and admire the view of the beautiful walled gardens. This elegant bedroom shares an ensuite 'Jack & Jill' style with the Hope Scott Twin bedroom.

The Maxwell-Scott Room

A Deluxe suite that is both spacious and luxurious. The beautiful room overlooks the River Tweed with a large ensuite bathroom complete with both a free-standing roll top bath and accessible shower.  This room is accessible via elevator, and is a great option for anyone with mobility differences. ***For maximum comfort and relaxation this bedroom also has a private wonderfully equipped sitting room furnished with a Victorian walnut table, sumptuous sofa and charming antique armchairs. 

Hope-Scott Twin Room

The Hope Scott Twin, originally a nursery for the Hope-Scott family, shares a well-appointed ensuite with the Hope Scott Master bedroom, complete with separate shower and bath. 

The Sophia 

Named after Scott's eldest daughter, Sophia, this bedroom is beautifully designed with unique bird wallpaper and a stunning view of the River Tweed and hillside beyond. The  ensuite has both a separate shower and bath, where one can relax whilst gazing out at the picturesque woodland scenery.

The Lockhart


 Named after Sir Walter’s son-in-law, John Gibson Lockhart, this luxurious double bedroom is beautifully furnished with items including a Victorian dressing table and several precious ornaments. It's sophisticated ensuite has a large shower over bath with views over the Wing’s private courtyard.

Princess Alice 

Named after Princess Alice, who visited Abbotsford regularly, this exceptional designed bedroom exudes both elegance and class. Guests can sit in the bay window and admire the stunning views of the garden and pavilion. The soft green décor of the room continues into the adjacent private bathroom complete with a divine roll top bath and shower, perfect for one to truly rewind and relax. 

The Lady Scott Bedrooms, shared room, but better! 

$1200 per person


These rooms are perfect for close friends, or those wanting to share a space to make the retreat more economical!   Each person will have their own, adjoining bedroom, and will share a private bathroom. Please note that these two rooms are exactly as stated: "like sharing a room, but better". You must walk through room #1 to get to room #2. For those who enjoy sharing a space, and looking for a less expensive option, this is a wonderful choice! 
The Lady Scott bedroom 1 is elegantly decorated with Mrs Patricia Maxwell's wedding furniture, including two Victorian burr maple dressing tables and a pair of French satin tub chairs.

The adjoining bedroom (Lady Scott bedroom 2) is furnished with a Victorian burr maple queen-sized bed and beautiful furniture.

Bedroom 2 and theshared bathroom are down a small flight of stairs with great views of the gardens and house.

More things to see and do on the Estate! 

On the estate is the Ochiltree's Cafe! Ochiltree’s is open every day 10am- 4pm. If you do not want to prepare meals, or travel into town to eat, this cafe serves freshly prepared meals and refreshments made with locally-sourced ingredients including morning coffee, and lunch. The modern light interior offers commanding views over Abbotsford and the surrounding countryside providing the perfect place to relax, have snack or meal, and even sketch for while! Their menu can be seen here

Walking Trails on the Abbotsford Estate

On the estate, there are 120 acres of land beside the River Tweed, made up of meadow and native woodland, planted by Scott and his factotum Tom Purdie. You'll find s sumptuous, rolling landscape, river walks, and woodland trails. See the below map for detailed trail paths. 

The Town of Melrose

The picturesque town of Melrose is located next to the Eildon Hills close to Scotland's border with England. The triple peaks of the Eildon Hills are the most distinctive single landmark in the Scottish Borders. At their feet in the valley of the Tweed lies Melrose. Ruined Melrose Abbey dates from 1136, and is a short walk from downtown. Downtown Melrose is very picturesque, and loaded with shops, pubs, and galleries. 

As you explore more of this area, you will find that there is SO much to see and do, and creative inspiration around every corner!