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, when the land was gifted by King Robert the Bruce to the Earl of Moray after the Battle of Bannockburn. In 1639, the Scottish Covenanters amassed their forces at Duns from where the ensuing standoff with the English troops helped the Scots to maintain their 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 activities including falconry, archery, clay pigeon, 4-wheel-drive experiences and nature tours. A full-size billiards table is available in a dramatic room at the top of the castle and guests can also enjoy croquet on the lawn and a host of cultural experiences such as wine and whisky tastings, art classes and culinary delights provided by award-winning chefs.
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, 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 and bringing the total sleeping capacity to over 50 guests. The castle can comfortably seat 60 for dinner and the extensive lawns offer numerous possibilities for marquees and larger events.
When considering Duns Castle’s attributes, from its fairytale features to its stunning setting and from its service offering to offering an impeccable service, it is easy to understand why the property was chosen to star in HomeAway’s multi-million dollar brand-awareness campaign linked to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and subsequently won numerous awards including “Venue of the Year” and “Customer Experience of the Year” at the 2017 Scottish Event Awards and “Tourism and Hospitality Business of the Year” at the 2017 Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards.
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, making them feel more like guests than customers. The staff are experienced and willing and the whole team seeks to provide truly memorable experiences of a bespoke nature.