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Greywalls, East Lothian (also known as High Walls)


The early-20th-century ornamental gardens at Greywalls are associated with the house built by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901. The core of the grounds is a walled garden with curving walls at either end, which is divided into several compartments. The original structure remains although the planting has been modified over the years, most recently in the style of Gertrude Jekyll.

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Type of Site

Early 20th century formal gardens, integral to the overall Arts & Crafts composition of a small country house and gardens. An Edwardian holiday home taking advantage of coastal views and the nearby links.

Location and Setting

Grey Walls is located 6km (3.5 miles) west of North Berwick on the Firth of Forth and just over 1km (0.5 mile) from Gullane Bay. The house is built adjacent to the Muirfield Golf Course, home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. The setting and nature of the landscape dictated the orientation of the house and its walls witch shelter the gardens from the winds of the Firth and the links to the north. The panoramic sea views with the coastal links and dunes to the north, contrast with the pastoral landscape to the south, where open views across to the Garleton Hills and Lammermuirs were intentionally framed and form the principal vistas from the gardens.

The gardens cover approximately 4.5ha (11 acres), the boundary remaining the same since its design in the 1900s. The house is approached through a circular entrance court, with formal gardens laid out along its south front. Minor changes have been made within the perimeter walls, mainly involving additions to the house.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Grey Walls is described by Sir Lawrence Weaver as 'a house of singular charm' and is reputed to be one of Sir Edwin Lutyens' own favourites. It is basically L-shaped around a circular forecourt with the main rooms to the east around an H-shape. It is constructed from cream-coloured stone and roofed with distinctive grey pantiles. These details are used in all the associated garden walls and buildings. Sir Robert Lorimer designed the nursery wing to the north of the forecourt. There are also some ornamental gates and statues in the formal garden to the south of the house.

Drives and Approaches

The main approach to the house is along a wide drive leading to the circular forecourt and approaching the curved front of the house from the south-west. The entrance is framed by two lodges originally used as footmen's bothies; the garage is now to the south of these. The drive is lined with well-manicured lawns which extend up to the attractive curved walls of the gardens clothed with climbing plants.

The Gardens

A gate leads from the south of the forecourt into the formal gardens, laid out to the south of the house. These are walled with semi-circular curves at west and east ends, and with a high south wall which is lower in the centre, on the main design axis, to enable views from the house out across to the Garleton and Lammermuir Hills. The layout of the individual compartments of the formal gardens has been modified and simplified over the years for easier maintenance but the structure of the original layout has been carefully kept.

The west semi-circle is of lawns, crossed by radial paths to surrounding shrub borders and planted with Cotoneaster, Senecio and Geraniums. A lavender border lines the walls along its east side. The main square of the garden is divided into four compartments by hedges, once filled with small areas of bedding plants. The central grass path leads from the house leads to a gate in the south wall and is flanked by borders lined with distinctive flags. Many flowering cherry trees are planted along the grass walks, and an avenue of whitebeam has been planted along the southern boundary.

Following the central grass path to the north, it leads to the Rose Garden which is laid out in the shape of a Greek Cross. Part of this area of the garden is paved and the beds are planted with both shrub and hybrid tea roses. South of this area and to the east, the gardens broaden out into a wide semi-circle, formerly the vegetable gardens and now laid out as lawns bordered by Hostas, Pyrus and herbs on the west side. The greenhouses have been renovated.

To the north of the vegetable garden, an extension to the hotel was built on what was formerly the tennis court and has enclosed a small scheduled area now known as Martin's Garden. Here the flower beds are planted alternately with Potentilla and Senecio.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Reason for Inclusion

The house and gardens at Grey Walls are an important example of Edwin Lutyens 20th century design style.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

1900, 1909, 1911, 1972.

Site History

The garden layout was part of Lutyens' overall design for the property. Later, in 1911 Sir Robert Lorimer also worked on the house. Design plans for some of Lutyens designs exist but not for the Lorimer additions or for the gardens. Family tradition holds that Gertrude Jekyll helped Sir Edwin Lutyens with the garden.

Grey Walls, or High Walls as it was then known, was built for the Hon Alfred Lyttleton in 1901 to the designs of Sir Edwin Lutyens. Designed as a holiday home for a keen golfer, it is situated immediately to the south of the Muirfield Clubhouse. In 1905 it was purchased by Mrs William James, whose guests included Edward VII. The three lodges at the forecourt were added in 1907-09 by Lutyens. The north 'Nursery' wing was added in 1911 by Mrs James to the designs of Sir Robert Lorimer. After World War I it was let several times and in 1924 it was sold again to Sir James Horlick, famous for his plant collection at Achamore House (q.v. Inventory, Volume 2, p.111). The Horlick family used Grey Walls as a holiday home, only visiting it once a year. During World War II the house was requisitioned and in the later war years was used as a hospital.

By the end of the War, Sir James Horlick had given the property to his daughter, Mrs Ursula Weaver, who, with her husband, Colonel Weaver, decided in 1948 to run it as an hotel. It has remained as such since that day and many additions have been made including a new dining room in 1953, new bathrooms, and a new east wing in 1972.


  • 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
  • Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland


  • Hotel (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Garden Wall
  • Tennis Lawn
  • Croquet Lawn
  • Herbaceous Border
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


20th Century (1901 to 1932)





Open to the public


Electoral Ward