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See & Do

Discover the home of Auld Lang Syne

Home, as built by Burns

There is so much to see & do at Ellisland Museum and Farm. The only home designed and built by Robert Burns, it’s the best place to see nature through the poet’s eyes and to take a journey through his creative inspiration.

This is his romantic first marital home with Jean Armour, who was only 23 when she arrived. You can explore the unchanged 18th century farmstead as well as woodland and riverside walks. Our fantastic collection includes many personal items, including Burns’s manuscripts and Jean’s milking stool. We have free visits for schools in 2023-24 and groups can hire our Tam o’ Shanter barn event space or the more intimate cottage rooms – all of them designed and built by Burns himself.

The Farmhouse

Visit the farmhouse built by Robert Burns at Ellisland Farm for himself and his family. Can you imagine what it would have been like without central heating or electricity? Burns and his wife Jean Armour lived here with their children, and you can experience what life would have been like for a rural family in the 18th century.

Burns could not have chosen a more idyllic spot, and today you can connect with the Bard and his life here at the farm through an extensive collection of artefacts, memorabilia and manuscripts housed at the home he built, lived and worked in.

Courtyard with the farmhouse in the background
A writing desk in the spence staged to appear as it would when Robert Burns was there.

The Spence

Burns designed his parlour or “Spence” as both a study where he could write and a good room for entertaining. This space has been preserved as he intended, with two windows allowing inspiring views of the surrounding landscape, including the River Nith. The Spence is hallowed ground for Burnsians, where the poet’s presence is felt strongly.

The Farmhouse and Kitchen

Find out more about what life would have been like for the poet and his family at the heart of the house, the kitchen. Warmed by the heat of the stove, the kitchen would have been a focal point because it would have been the warmest room in the house.

See if you can spot the ingredients in the larder and find out what you would have had for dinner in the 1700s!

Two people talking behind the farmhouse table beside the stove owned by Robert Burns
Two cases in the granary with a tour guide and 3 visitors

Granary Museum

Watch our evocative film about Robert and Jean’s life on the farm and discover the detailed displays in the Granary Museum. Connect with the Bard and his life through an extensive collection of artefacts, memorabilia and manuscripts.

You can even book a guided tour if you’d like a more detailed insight into Burns’s life at Ellisland and in Dumfriesshire.

Stables and Orchard

Farming would have been very different when Burns built Ellisland to what it is today. Explore the farm buildings, stable and orchard on your visit. The farm comprised of 170 acres with an orchard. The family had around 10 cows, four horses and some sheep. They even made their own cheese!

As well as writing poetry, Burns worked the farm before taking a job as an exciseman, which meant Jean Armour took on much of the farm work herself whilst also looking after her own children!

Burns’s first crop was apples and we have our own orchard with apples, plums and damsons. We have beehives in the orchard and sell our own honey in the museum shop.

Vintage farming implement in the orchard
The river nith

The Banks of the Nith

The peaceful River Nith and its picturesque surroundings inspired a lot of Robert Burns’s work. Wander the banks of the River Nith which Burns loved and found so inspirational, including the walk where he wrote Tam o’ Shanter and the field that inspired his poem The Wounded Hare.

Take a moment so sit and imagine what it would have been like to draw inspiration from the local environment. Can you spot any wildlife on your visit, or is there anything going on that might inspire a story in your mind?

The Dram and Bannock Tour

Thanks to support from South of Scotland Destination Alliance for the Year of Scottish Stories, we have developed our own specialised Dram and Bannock tour led by a local storyteller. The tour includes whisky and a specially baked Scottish bannock as Jean Armour once cooked on the Ellisland stove. This experience is bookable with special travel trade rates.

A man telling stories of Robert Burns to 4 visitors as they eat Bannocks and drink drams around a table.
A group of children sitting doing work on the grass on a sunny day

Free School Visits

Thanks to funding from Museum and Galleries Scotland we are able to offer school parties free visits. We can work with your School on a programme of activities including worksheets, games and sing-a-longs.

To take part in the Robert Burns School Visit Scheme please complete the form here.

For more information contact info@ellislandfarm.co.uk.

Hold your Event at Ellisland

Whether it is an intimate event in Burns’s cottage or a Burns supper or party in the Tam o Shanter Barn, a celebration at Ellisland is completely unique. For more information contact us on info@ellislandfarm.co.uk

Susi Briggs doing storytelling at Halloween for an event

Become a member

Find out how to become a member at Ellisland.

Burns at Ellisland

Burns experienced his most creative and fruitful years here at Ellisland with Jean Armour and their children. He found great poetic inspiration in the beauty of the surrounding countryside, the various people he met and the events he witnessed whilst living here.

Burns Attractions

Ellisland Museum & Farm is conveniently situated on the road between Robert Burns’ birthplace in Alloway and his final resting place at St Michael’s Cemetery in Dumfries. Ellisland is part of the Footsteps of Burns trail in and around Dumfries.

Our Collection

There is so much to see & do at Ellisland Museum & Farm, so please allow at least an hour for a short visit, however, two to three hours is recommended for a full visit. We’re a short, 5 mile drive from the centre of nearby Dumfries, just off the A76.

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