Pavilion and Furnace House

This late-Georgian glasshouse, known as the Pavilion, is thought to be the last structure built at Abbotsford during Sir Walter Scott’s lifetime.

The Gothic structure was built in the summer of 1825 by talented local mason, John Smith of Darnick. It was the culmination of a period of extensive work in the gardens, encompassing changes to the garden walls and the creation of other new structures for cultivating fruits and tender plants, all of which are now lost. The interior of the Pavilion was originally heated around its perimeter by a coal-powered furnace, situated in the sunken Furnace House.

Visitors can now enjoy a multisensory storytelling experience inside these buildings, following a complex restoration project from 2022-24. The experience features light, sound, tactile and visual interpretation,  bringing Walter Scott's love of green spaces to life and telling the unique history of his gardens. The Pavilion is at the heart of this experience and features Sir Walter Scott’s Botanical Cabinet as its centrepiece, offering twenty compartments containing an interactive handling collection for all ages. Cabinet contents include replica seed packets, dinner invitations and photo albums preserving Victorian views of the gardens. The Pavilion’s Listening Bench offers 30 minutes of high-quality audio content, featuring Scottish actors Maggie Service, Mark Bonnar and David Rintoul, and contributions from Abbotsford’s staff and volunteers. An activity table offers a flexible creative station for anyone who wants to write, draw, or compose, including activity sheets and supplies.

In the Furnace House, the engine room that once created the conditions needed to grow tender or exotic plants and fruits such as hibiscus, lily of the valley and peaches in the Pavilion, visitors can now experience an immersive soundscape reimagining this working space as it might have been for one of Abbotsford’s 1820s groundsmen.