The Anstruther family has been rooted in the East Neuk since the 12th Century, with Balcaskie as its home since the end of the 17th Century.
Largely, Balcaskie House is the creation of William Bruce, who made it his home around the time he was architect to the King for Holyrood Palace. Bruce went on to design Kinross House, Hopetoun House and several of Scotland’s most important buildings.
Later additions were by William Burn, the prominent Scottish architect involved in the later stages of the design of Stirling’s Wallace Monument. In 1905, George Elgood wrote that Balcaskie was ‘one of the best and most satisfying gardens in the British Isles’. Over the centuries, the gardens have seen input from Gilpin, Bryce & Nesfield. The house and gardens remain a private family home, although the gardens are open annually as part of Scotland’s Gardens project.
Balcaskie provides both tenanted and partnership farms. For more than a decade, we have operated around 850 hectares as an in-hand, mixed-use farm with both livestock and arable enterprises.
House rentals: the estate has a number of houses and cottages that are let.
Bowhouse: developed in 2016, Bowhouse is an old steading that is now a place for making food by transforming raw ingredients from the East Neuk’s farms and waters into finished products ready for customers locally and further afield. Bowhouse replaces a missing link in the food chain from farmer to consumer by providing dedicated space for producers to operate in. It also has a large, covered market and event space where customers can meet producers and growers and taste their food.
It connects small growers and producers with restaurants and shoppers, giving everyone better access to the best ingredients and finished produce that the East Neuk has to offer. There are a few reasons why the scale of the producer should be linked to the quality of the food and drink they produce. The very best producers are rarely the largest – the skill and passion of the producer is far more important.
Comielaw: converted from old 18th Century cow sheds in 2016 into creative workshops for a variety of different businesses who use the space to enrich creativity which is marketed globally.
Kinneuchar Inn: in 2016, Balcaskie took over the Kinneuchar Inn in nearby Kilconquhar. The Kinneuchar Inn is a 17th-century pub and restaurant which champions great food in an intimate setting. The Inn helps Balcaskie to create a link in the chain – enabling it to provide its food from field to plate.
James Ferguson and Alethea Plamer serve a daily changing ‘a la carte’ menu is based on ingredients sourced from the Balcaskie Estate and a handful of carefully curated partners. You can see sample lunch and dinner menus in ‘Food & Drinks’ Section.
Through our own in-hand farm, we are a source of quality beef, lamb, outdoor pork, milling wheat and rye for local mills, pulses and vegetables. We are members of LEAF – Linking the Environment and Farming, Soil Association and Pasture For Life Association – we believe that it is our responsibility to produce good food in a way that fully respects our responsibilities to the environment and to future generations.