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Pollock House

A Home For All Seasons

Just outside of Glasgow, Pollok House and estate is an oasis of
Edwardian grandeur that rewards visitors at any time of the year.

BY STEPHEN MCGINTY

In the summer, I like to sit by the riverbank, feel the sun on my face and squint my eyes as the light reflects off the water. In autumn, there is the sharp crunch of crinkled leaves underfoot and a vast parkland of trails and trees ablaze with golden colours. In winter, there is seldom snow, but when the drifts do come, there is no better place to tramp through the crunchy pillows of white and, in the festive period, pay a visit to Mrs. Claus, who is in residence to ignite the delight of good little girls and boys and the dismay of the naughty. If ever there was a home for all seasons, then it is Pollok House and its surrounding country park.

Situated five miles outside of Glasgow city centre on the south side of the River Clyde, Pollok House and Pollok Country Park have been a relaxing respite from the din of the everyday for decades. The park is also site of the world-acclaimed Burrell Collection, an eclectic cornucopia of art and antiques gathered over a lifetime by William Burrell and gifted to the city on the condition that they build a permanent and dedicated museum and never lend his artworks abroad. Although the Burrell will be closed for an extensive refurbishment over the next few years, this will allow Pollok House, with its old-fashioned charm and sprawling grounds, an opportunity to shine, undisturbed by modern artistic competition.

If I'm honest, Pollok House is among my favourite buildings in Scotland. It is neither the grandest, nor the largest, nor the oldest, nor steeped in the richest, bloodiest of history...yet to me it is, well, just right. I tend to make several trips each year and on a recent visit in mid-autumn I experienced the same sensation as I do each time I drive through the narrow pillars that mark the unobtrusive entrance to the grounds -- that sense of exhalation, of stresses suddenly lightening in preparation to take flight.

A short distance from the busy main road, visitors are confronted by the old stone entrance to the original estate, and passing under the stone archway it's impossible not to think of those myriad generations who clip-clopped through on horse and cart.

The full text of this article is available in the Spring 2018 issue of Scottish Life.

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Photo © National Trust for Scotland, Pollok House