Visitor guide to Duns in Scottish Borders. Includes info on what to see and do, sleeping and eating and interesting facts about areas around Duns. Also the write-up on Duns as 'Not such a Dunce' will interest you.
Phone code: +44 (0)1361
The former county town of Duns has an air of an old Scottish burgh even today. The spacious Market Square and the old fashioned buildings are well complemented by the great views offered by Duns Law, rising 714 feet above sea level.
The quiet market town of Duns lies in the middle of Berwickshire, surrounded by the fertile farmland of the Merse. Duns is best known as the birthplace of Jim Clark (1936-68), a former farmer who went on to become world motor racing champion twice in the 1960s and who remains one of Britain's greatest ever racing drivers. His successful career was tragically cut short when he was killed in a crash while practising at Hockenheim in Germany.
There are some good local walks, detailed in the leaflet Walks Around Duns. The best walk is to the top of Duns Law (714 ft), from where there are terrific views of the Merse and the Lammermuir Hills to the north. Also at the top is the Covenanter's Stone, which marks the spot where the Covenanting army camped in 1639, awaiting the arrival of Charles I's troops.
Not such a Dunce
Duns was also the birthplace of John Duns Scotus (1266 -1308), a medieval scholar and theologian of some note, who taught at the universities of Oxford and Paris. He opposed the orthodox views of Thomas Aquinas and his teachings divided the Franciscans and Dominicans. After his death his ideas quickly fell out of favour and those who held them were derided as being stupid, and so we have the word "dunce" derived from the heterodox views of John Duns Scotus.
Local Sights & Activities for Duns
There are many interesting things to do and see in Duns. The elegant Edwardian Manor House of Manderston, designed in the Georgian style was the erstwhile grand country residence of the Palmer family. The delightfully pretty interiors with an unusual silver staircase makes it a must see destination. It is surrounded by lovely gardens and a tea room, both of which are open to visitors.
Duns Hotels & Accommodation
The best place to stay, if you can afford it, is the Chirnside Hall Hotel, Tel +44 (0)1361 818219, Fax 818231, www.chirnsidehallhotel.com, a mile east of Chirnside on the road to Berwick. This Victorian mansion house offers luxurious accommodation and excellent food all day at mid-range prices (booking essential). A cheaper alternative is Wellfield House , Preston Rd, Tel +44 (0)1361 883189, www.wellfieldhouse.com, a traditional Georgian house offering great value (no smoking). Also recommended is the non-smoking St Albans, Tel +44 (0)1361 883285, www.scottishbordersbandb.co.uk, on Clouds, a lane behind the police station.