Balcarres Estate has been in the possession of the Lindsay family since 1586 when the properties of Balcarres, Balniel and Pitcorthie were purchased by John Lindsay, Lord Menmuir. In 1595 he built a semi-fortified house at Balcarres which became his main residence. The house itself has undergone much change over the years with two principal extensions, the first in 1840 when General James Lindsay commissioned William Burn to design the South West wing and the second when Sir Coutts Lindsay employed David Bryce in 1864 to build an extensive addition to the North of the property. Sir Coutts was also responsible for the design and construction of the impressive garden terraces.
There is an extensive garden and landscaped park around the house which incorporates a chapel built in 1635 by David, 1st Lord Balcarres, a spectacular Gothic folly on the Craig built by Robert Lindsay in 1813 and also a recently restored square doocote. Other properties associated with the house include the North Lodge designed by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1896 and also the Estate Office also by Lorimer in 1903.
In 1986 the family leased the house together with the gardens and park to a Charity, The Balcarres Heritage Trust which is now responsible for the maintenance of the property.
In recent years much effort has been made to maintain the character of the park with significant new plantings undertaken to compliment the original designed landscape. Ornamental plantings of rhododendrons, Eucryphias and Magnolias are interspersed among the ancient woodlands that run the length of the Craig and the Den.
The village of Colinsburgh lies directly to the South of the park. The village was built by Colin Lindsay, 3rd Earl of Balcarres in order to resettle soldiers from his regiment after the 1715 rising. The Estate continues to have links to the village providing the Recreation Ground and also a woodland area which is used by the Primary school.
The main commercial activities of the Estate are farming and house rentals. The farming enterprise includes an in-hand organic unit and three Limited Partnerships. Mixed arable farming incorporating beef and lamb production as well as growing wheat, barley, potatoes and vegetables forms the basis of the farming activity. With 800 acres of woodlands much effort is made to ensure that these areas are properly maintained as an amenity for the local community. There is an ongoing focus on environmental issues with particular emphasis on increasing the diversity of wildlife through the creation of grass margins, hedge planting and pond creation. A red squirrel conservation project is also delivering encouraging results.
Over the years the Estate has invested considerable sums in upgrading the housing stock and is now seen as a highly attractive place to live. There is a range of two and three bedroom properties but availability is limited due to the low turnover of tenants.