Duns Castle, located in the Scottish Borders just one hour south of Edinburgh, is the centrepiece of a beautiful 1200-acre estate and has been the seat of the Hay family for over 300 years. Steeped in history, the oldest part of the castle dates from 1320 and it was here that the Covenanters amassed their forces in 1639 to protect Scotland’s freedom of worship.
Today the property is a haven of beauty and tranquillity, an idyllic venue for weddings, private hire, holiday lets and corporate retreats, where guests can simply unwind and make the most of their stay. In partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the estate boasts its own nature reserve, complemented by extensive forest trails and bespoke outdoor activities including falconry, archery, clay pigeon, 4-wheel-drive experiences and nature tours. Inside the castle, guests can enjoy a host of pre-booked cultural experiences such as wine and whisky tastings and art classes. Guests staying in the castle can enjoy the castle’s full-size billiard table as well as tennis and lawn-croquet free of charge.
The castle, not open to the public, is in a private and secure setting affording the discretion and exclusivity guests may desire, yet within easy reach of the charming small town of Duns. Family owned since 1696 and chosen as a location for the award-winning film, Mrs. Brown (starring Judi Dench and Billy Connolly), Duns Castle has stunningly beautiful public rooms, 12 unique bedrooms (sleeping up to 23), a happy, warm atmosphere and great vistas and views for photographs. Additional accommodation is available in the 6 holiday cottages on the estate, all within easy walking distance of the castle, with 17 rooms (sleeping up to 31) bringing the total sleeping capacity of the estate to over 50 guests. The castle can comfortably seat 60 for dinner and the extensive lawns offer numerous possibilities for marquees and larger events.
Attractions within easy reach include Abbotsford House (the home of Sir Walter Scott), the Border towns of Kelso, Melrose and Jedburgh (with their respective Abbeys), Rosslyn Chapel (as featured in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code) and Edinburgh (home to some of the largest cultural festivals on Earth). Golf and fishing are nearby and secluded sandy beaches are less than 30 minutes away. There are also numerous stately homes in the Borders region that open to the public as well as plenty of local culture to enjoy.
Among the many qualities of Duns Castle Estate, guests often remark upon how they appreciate the ambiance of the family home and the warm welcome of their hosts, Alick and Aline Hay, who remain in the castle in their own quarters while not compromising the guests’ enjoyment of the majority of the castle. The staff are experienced and willing and the whole team seeks to provide truly memorable experiences of a bespoke nature.
This is reflected in the property's multiple awards as the winner of "Venue of the Year" and "Customer Experience of the Year" at the 2017 Scottish Event Awards and also "Tourism and Hospitality Business of the Year" at the 2017 Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards.
Here guests relax, they enjoy the silence, the tranquility, the starry skies, the sight of the swans by day and sound of the owls by night. Here guests find their own rhythm, can disconnect from the fast pace of their regular lives, get close to nature and bathe in the beauty of it all.
Ideal for families, weddings, group holidays, bird-watchers, walkers, fishing enthusiasts and golfers.
Access to walks in the extensive grounds, which include woodland, hill vistas, a nature reserve, a splendid lake and a tennis court.
Special outdoor activities include croquet and tennis (free of charge) and falconry, fishing, archery, clay pigeon shooting and off-road driving (arranged at cost by prior request).
The village of Duns, offering a good selection of amenities (supermarket, shops, restaurants, library, public swimming pool, etc.), is only 10 minutes walk away.
Included: Parking, central heating, log fires and supply of logs (all fires tended by castle staff only), Bed linen, Towels, Freeview television, Electric cooker, Microwave, Dishwasher, Fridge-freezer, Washing machine. Cot and highchair by request. Limited free Wifi in the Reception areas.
Housekeeping: The owners, the Butler and other castle staff may occasionally need to access the rented areas of the castle for maintenance, administrative and house-keeping purposes but will remain discreet so as to not compromise guest privacy. The lighting, refuelling, maintenance and extinction of the log fires in the Dining Room and Drawing Room will be the sole responsibility of the castle staff. Guests are not permitted to add logs or other combustible items to the fires, nor to light any flames in the building, including the fireplaces in the bedrooms. 2 hours of daily housekeeping (09:30am-11:30am) are included for exclusive use bookings. For additional services, please contact the castle administrator.
Start dates for weekly bookings are flexible except for certain peak periods where shown (starting Fridays). For further information, please contact the Castle directly (www.dunscastle.co.uk). Smoking is not permitted inside the castle. No pets please.
During their stay, guests will have exclusive use of the areas mentioned in the Property Details above.
The castle remains a family home during your stay and the owners occupy private quarters within the castle.
The estate has a number of cottages that are used either as long-term lets of as holiday lets and their occupants have the same rights as the public in Scotland to use the estate walks (excluding the private areas immediately around castle).
Duns Castle is often booked for Private Hire, Weddings, Meetings or Events and prospective clients may wish to view the property. Guests will be informed at least 24 hours in advance of any such viewings and every effort will be made to time these when most convenient for all concerned.
Events and other activities are occasionally hosted on the estate and at a suitable distance from the castle so as to not compromise guest privacy. Guests will be informed of any such events prior to their arrival.
For further details: www.dunscastle.co.uk and www.dunscastleholidaycottages.co.uk