Duns Castle - Scottish Borders

Duns Castle is a rare and exceptional 14th century tower house, still intact but with extensive additions over the centuries to provide a fine Gothic structure that is at once imposing and beguiling. Since 1696, it has been lived in by the Hay family and still remains, after 3 centuries, their private home.

Duns Castle enjoys a serenity and timelessness rare in the modern world. The family now offer it as their home for guests to share with them. Guests are made to feel utterly at home, with quiet unobtrusive service and the personal attention of the current generation of the Hay family. There is a tremendous warmth in the rich interior with comfort and authenticity being the key words. The food is simple, genuine, imaginative and Scottish, and the staff willing and enthusiastic.

The castle, which was built around a 14th century Pele tower given by King Robert the Bruce to the Earl of Moray, was bought for William Hay of Drummelzier by his father the Earl of Tweedale in 1696. The Hay family have lived there in unbroken succession ever since.

The family have considerably enlarged and embellished the building into its final Gothic Revival form, designed and completed by the celebrated architect James Gillespie Graham between 1818 and 1822.

Duns Law on the estate is the historic scene of the Scottish Covenantors against King Charles 1 in 1639 under General Leslie, who was quartered in the Castle.

Accommodation comprises 4 four-poster bedrooms, 3 double bedrooms, 2 twin bedrooms, 1 single bedroom, 9 bathrooms (5 en-suite), 1 dining room, 1 drawing room. There are also 6 cottages on the estate for additional accommodation if required.


Private Stays Although not open to the public on an open basis, the family offer the castle for guests to share with them either for individual lunches, dinners or for residential stays.




The essence of the arrangement is that those visiting are in every aspect welcomed as guests in a private home and looked after by professional and friendly in-house staff.

Large areas of the old part of the house have been brought back to life with all the advantages of modern plumbing, wiring and computerised central heating.


Weddings and Parties The castle is ideal as a secluded exclusive venue for anything from one couple to 60 people, or larger numbers if marquee erected. Whether you decide to marry in the castle itself, or in any of the three local churches, we put you in touch with the local minister(s) for the religious ceremony and the helpful registrar who guides you through the legal paperwork (which is very simple in Scotland). If you choose to marry in the castle, you have a choice of the cathedral-like gothic hall for small parties, or the beautiful vaulted main reception room for larger groups.

The reception can take any form you wish - a good Scottish tea, with your champagne/sparkling wine & possibly the cake/speeches, followed later by perhaps the piper/dancer entertainment and then a sit-down dinner.

Corporate Events Duns Castle is suitable for a wide variety of corporate and incentive events. It is a spacious and secluded property with a wide variety of facilities. For large functions, marquees can be sited on the lawn and specialist caterers can be arranged. Leisure and sporting activities can be arranged on request.

Filming Duns Castle and the Estate afford a rare and exceptional historic venue for those seeking an unusual filming location. The castle is set in lovely parkland and surrounded by beautiful gardens, and offers amazing opportunities for long views and floodlighting effects of impressive house facade and gardens.

Standing the test of turbulent times | Scottish Borders Battles - Flodden

Kelso Border Union Show
Grey Mare's Tail
Smailholm Tower
Scott's View
Melrose Abbey
The River Tweed