Aikwood Tower

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Sleeps: 10 Bedrooms: 5 Bathrooms: 6
Oliver Approved

Overview

Wedding Venue Recommended Chateaux & Castles Quirky
Heritage Collection
Ideal for Kids Pets Welcome Walk to Village All Bedrooms En-Suite Ideal for Parties Stag/Hen Allowed

Wildly romantic, blissfully rural, perfectly tranquil and stunningly beautiful, Aikwood Tower offers the most magical holiday experience. Rich in history, charm and decor, the castle is a Grade A-listed traditional Border Peel Tower located in the Scottish Borders and surrounded by rolling hills, woodland trails and the stunning rivers of the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys. The pretty village of Ettrickbridge is 3 km away, Selkirk 5 km away and the mighty City of Edinburgh is an hour’s drive north. Aikwood Tower sleeps ten guests in luxurious comfort and offers dreamy reception spaces and a beautiful garden. The tower has been brilliantly and sensitively restored in sumptuous contemporary style whilst retaining its fabulous character. Aikwood Tower offers a gorgeous, historic setting for romance, laughter, adventure and relaxation. The tower is a perfect setting for a wedding, special event or family or friends get together.

Surrounding this hidden Scottish gem is a stunning landscape of rolling hills perfect for walking, cycling, fishing, shooting and horse riding. The list of activities and excursions is endless. The Borders is a beautiful area sprinkled with castles, towers, magnificent stately homes and ancient ruins. It is steeped in mystery, stories and sorcery. Its folklore and tales of magic have inspired writers such as Sir Walter Scott and John Buchan. Guests staying at the tower can follow in the writer’s footsteps soaking up these dreamy landscapes and pondering on their beauty. The traditional weaving and textile towns of Hawick, Galashiels and Selkirk are on the doorstep waiting to be explored and a stay at the tower cannot be complete without a day trip into Edinburgh.

Aikwood Tower brilliantly combines its five star, luxury offerings and boutique feel with its ancient charms. It boasts five gorgeous bedroom suites, a Great Hall, a superb games room, a fabulous Aga heated kitchen, a dining room, study and upper living room. In addition, the attached Laich Hall is perfect for special events including weddings. You enter through the west door, passing the beautiful walled garden, to a tower full of endearing, captivating quirks of architecture and craftsmanship. A glorious Kerry-handed spiral staircase leads you to the numerous enchanting rooms that are perfect for relaxing and entertaining. You will enjoy the huge roaring fire in the Great Hall on chilly autumn or winter evenings, curled up on sumptuous velvet sofas and chairs. The games room with its table tennis table and games is fabulous, the perfect spot for spending fun, quality time with family and friends. The open plan kitchen and dining room is a warm, inviting, characterful space where you can enjoy hearty Scottish breakfasts and perhaps a wee dram or two. The arched ceiling is spectacular adding atmosphere to this wonderful space. It is a perfect setting for a special meal by candlelight. The upper living space is a modern wonder with a gorgeous beamed ceiling, trendy chairs and a sofa, a large television and shelves full of books.

The five bedrooms enjoy names after the Scott family clan who have owned Aikwood Tower for five hundred years and with a direct link to the tower. They are named Buccleuch, Sir Walter Scott, Steel, Wizard and Harden. They are brilliantly finished with exceptional taste and luxury, offering Duxiana beds, the ‘most technologically advance sleep system in the world’. Each of the beds is beautifully adorned in crisp cottons and gorgeous fabrics, perfect for lazy lie-ins and indulgence. For sure, you will enjoy the sleep of kings. Each bedroom come with an immaculate, stylish ensuite bathroom together with fluffy towels, bathrobes and quality Arran Aromatics toiletries. The bathrooms offer a mix of showers and roll top baths, all are beautifully tiled and ooze luxurious appeal.

Aikwood Tower’s south west facing walled garden is beautiful. You can soak up the sun enjoy a glass of your favourite tipple on the terrace, play croquet or other games on the lawn or pick apples in the orchard. The garden is dreamy and so relaxing.

Aikwood Tower hosts up to fifteen weddings a year, each with up to sixty guests. It would be hard to find a more intimate, exclusive, special place to get married. The tower’s first registered marriage was in 1602. Today, Aikwood Tower is available on an exclusive hire basis for religious, humanist or civil weddings. The building’s character, natural stonework, picturesque walled gardens and orchard make for a perfect setting.

The first mention of Aikwood was in 1455 when it was leased from King James III to Lord Home. In 1517, the grounds of Aikwood were granted to the Scott family during the reign of King James V and it has been owned within the Scott clan ever since. From the mid eighteenth century, the tower was abandoned as a home and the farm was let out. The tower was used for agricultural storage. In 1988, the ninth Duke of Nuccleuch made David Steel’s, now Lord Steel of Aikwood, dream come true to restore the tower as a home. With his Scott blood, the long clan tradition continues. It was restored with the help of local Selkirk craftsmen, winning no less than five architectural awards including the prestigious Europa Nostra. During its time, there have been many wonderful stories and legends involving the tower with Sir William Scott, Sir Walter Scott and Michael Scott, the Border Wizard all featured. The Scottish Borders were the scene of some of the most dramatic history in Scotland with wars during the late Middle Ages between Scotland and England.

Aikwood Tower is blessed by its location. Guests are enthralled by its beauty, its luxurious touches and its surrounding area of outstanding scenic landscapes brimming with valleys, forests, lochs and rivers and stretching from the rugged east coast to rural Dumfriesshire and the historic City of Edinburgh.

Oliver Approved

What you should know…

  • Guests with mobility issues will find the stairs very difficult. There are 62 steps to the top bedroom!
  • The tower is available for up to 15 weddings each year and is perfect for other special celebrations. You will enjoy such a memorable stay in this fabulous building and its gardens

Property Features

Wi-Fi/Internet BBQ All Bedrooms En-Suite Satellite TV Games Room Indoor Games Outdoor Games DVD Working Fireplace Heating Conference Facilities

Ground Floor
- Entrance hall with vaulted ceilings and original doors
- Hall with table tennis table and doors to garden
- Fully-equipped kitchen with AGA, microwave, two fridges and Nespresso machine
- Dining area with dining facilities for 10
- Spear room with a single bed
- Cloakroom

First Floor (accessed via spiral staircase)
- Gallery living room with fire place
- Living area with sofas and TV
- Reception room with laptop
- Bedroom with double bed and en-suite bathroom with shower

Second Floor (accessed via separate staircase)
- Bathroom with bathtub
- Bedroom with double bed and fire place

Third Floor (accessed via separate staircase)
- Small tea area with all facilites
- Shower room
- Bedroom with double bed and en-suite bathroom with shower
- Bedroom with double bed and en-suite bathroom with shower

Top Floor (accessed via separate staircase)
- Bedroom with double bed and en-suite bathroom with bathtub

Exterior Grounds
- Enclosed southwest facing walled garden
- Terrace
- Dining facilities
- Croquet lawn
- Orchard
- Portable barbecue

Additional Facilities
- Wi-Fi connection
- TV & DVD
- Ping pong table
- Selection of books
- Towels, bathrobes & slippers are provided for each guest
- Hairdryer in each bedroom
- Travel cot & highchair available on request basis at time of booking
- Plenty of parking

*Please ensure that you request whether you would like the bedrooms set up as twins or super-king doubles at time of booking to ensure that they are set up correctly for your arrival.

*Two additional single beds with full linen are available for an additional charge of £55 per bed, per night raising capacity to 12. Please request at time of booking.

Location

About the surrounding area of Aikwood Tower
Walk to Village Walk to Restaurant Rural Location Walking/Hiking Paths Golf Nearby Stalking/Hunting Fishing Outstanding Landscapes Outdoor Pursuit & Activities Tourist Towns & Villages
Loading map

Aikwood Tower enjoys a fabulous location in the Scottish Borders. It lies just less than 3 km from Ettrickbridge and 5 km from Selkirk which lies on the Ettrick Water, a tributary of the River Tweed. The people of the town are known as Souters, which means cobblers. The area surrounding the tower offers excellent walking, cycling, shooting, fishing and horse riding so guests that enjoy the outdoor life will have a ball. The Shooting Times regularly lists the neighbouring Bowhill Estate pheasant shoot as one of the country’s Top 10. The River Tweed offers legendary salmon fishing nearby.

The area is also perfect for those that love cultural activities. There are magnificent stately homes, romantic abbey ruins and many castles and towers to discover, all with a fascinating history. Some of the most popular spots are the ruined abbeys of Dryburgh, Jedburgh, Melrose and Kelso. The castles include Thirlestane and Floors and the stately homes that should not be missed include Traquair, Abbotsford, Bowhill and Paxton. There are also some stunning, colourful parks and gardens such as Kailzie, Priorwood and Dawyck.

The area boasts a rich literacy history with the borders inspiring the likes of Sir Walter Scott, James Hogg and John Buchan. The Borders Book Festival is one of Scotland’s most prestigious literary events attracting poets, authors, musicians and comedians from all over the globe.

The Borders are home to many of Scotland’s historic textile towns such as Hawick, Galashiels and Selkirk. They have produced some of the world’s finest tartans, cashmere and tweeds in all shades. World renowned names including Pringle, Belinda Robertson, Lochcarron and Lyle and Scott were born in the Borders. Visitors can tour the mills and buy souvenirs to take home.

Tours of breweries and distilleries have become increasingly popular.  Beer was first brewed in the Borders at Traquair House in the sixteenth century when Mary Queen of Scots visited. The Born in the Borders Brewery is an award-winning microbrewery with tours and special events. Kelso is home to Rutherford’s Micropub and the Tempest Brewery in Tweedbank is equally popular. Lilliard Gin is a local gin, handcrafted using ingredients foraged in the Scottish Borders. Whisky also flows steadily at the Borders Distillery.

The captivating City of Edinburgh enjoys a wealth of top attractions for the whole family, excellent shopping opportunities and sensational fine dining. With a stunning backdrop of the dramatic Arthur’s Seat, the Pentland Hills and Edinburgh’s waterfront, this ever popular city is a remarkable place to visit. In just a few days you can take a cruise on the River Forth, explore the ancient castle, visit the zoo, wander around the National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery, climb aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, shop until you drop, wander through the cosmopolitan streets of the Port of Leith, listen to bagpipes and dine until you burst. The Edinburgh Festival which takes place in August is the world’s leading arts, culture and comedy festival. At the top of the Royal Mile on the top of Castle Rock, you can enjoy Edinburgh Castle, the number one visitor attraction in Scotland and the most iconic building in the city. It looks even more impressive at night with clever lighting so you should bag a table in one of the rooftop restaurants such as the Thai Chaophraya, asking for a table in the glass box. Perched on the top of an extinct volcano, the castle and its esplanade offers astonishing views of Edinburgh. Inside, you can visit St Margaret’s Chapel, The National War Memorial and the Half Moon Battery. The regal Crown Square is home to the Grand Hall and Scotland’s crown jewels. Visitors discover Edinburgh’s grisly history at The Edinburgh Dungeon, coming face to face with Scotland’s ravenous cannibals and infamous killer duo Burke and Hare. There are plenty of ghost walks and lots of light-hearted fun with immersive, actor-led shows and state-of-the-art special effects. Edinburgh is especially popular during the August Festival and at Christmas and New Year. Edinburgh is also home to three excellent galleries, The National Gallery on the Mound, the Portrait Gallery on Queen Street and the Gallery of Modern Art. The Scottish National Gallery boasts some of the world’s finest art by the likes of Rembrandt, Monet and Raphael. The Scott Monument is the largest monument to a writer in the world, celebrating the Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott. It was built in the 19th century and is one of the most striking landmarks on the Edinburgh city skyline. Visitors can climb the 287 steps to enjoy far reaching views of the city and surrounding countryside. The Holyrood Palace is The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Some areas of the Palace are open to the public including the State Apartments, the Throne Room and the Morning Drawing Room. Away from the galleries, museums and shops, the Royal Botanic Gardens are located in Stockbridge, a very attractive area 20 minutes walk from the city centre. You will discover a beautiful collection of more than 100,000 plants and 70 acres of stunning green space. The Royal Yacht Britannia was Her Majesty The Queen’s floating palace for over 40 years and is one of the city’s best attractions. You can enjoy a complimentary audio tour and follow in the footsteps of royalty exploring this wonderful yacht that is permanently moored beside Ocean Terminal.

Local Amenities
Nearest Airport Edinburgh

(36-40 km)

Nearest Ferry Port Leith

(51-60 km)

Nearest Village Ettrickbridge

(3 km)

Nearest Town/City Selkirk

(5 km)

Nearest Restaurant Selkirk

(5 km)

Nearest Bar/Pub Ettrickbridge

(3 km)

Nearest Beach Scremerston

(71-80 km)

Nearest Golf Selkirk

(5 km)

Region

Ah, bonnie Scotland! A wild and beautiful part of the world, where you can explore the rugged highlands or enjoy the colour and vibrancy of cultural capitals like Edinburgh and Glasgow.

But how do you know you’re getting the very best out of your trip? That’s where we come in. If you’ve had a browse through our range of luxury cottages and castles in Scotland, you’ll know there’s some great places to stay, but to find all the great things to do, see and eat you’ll need our handy Scotland travel guide  – so read on and enjoy! 

Download our Scotland Travel Guide >>

Kids

Best Suited For: All Ages
Ideal for Kids Ideal for Teens

Children are overjoyed to stay in such an iconic and historic building. Fancy telling their classmates that they are staying in a 500 year old Scottish tower! The building allows them to engage in history. The games room is wonderful with table tennis and an excellent selection of family games. In the garden there are giant dominoes, giant jenga and a playhouse.  

The surrounding area is brilliant for outdoor pleasures and attractions. Locally children can explore abbey ruins, stately homes, castles and beautiful gardens. They can have fun in rivers, enjoy hikes, cycling, shooting, horse riding and fishing.

Traquair House, Grounds and Garden are brilliant for family days. Traquair is Scotland’s oldest inhabited house which dates back to 1107 and has been visited by 17 Scottish Kings and Queens. It has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491. It was originally a royal hunting lodge, playing host to Mary Queen of Scots and many others. Today families enjoy the house, the maze, the craft workshops, the famous Traquair House Brewery and the garden cafe.

The stunning Dawyck Botanic Garden offers a wonderful collection of flowering trees and shrubs and is particularly beautiful during the Spring rhododendron season and the bluebell season. There are lovely riverside pathways, tumbling streams and an abundant wildlife to discover.

Edinburgh enjoys many family friendly attractions. One of the most popular is Edinburgh Zoo which is home to over 1000 animals including the UK’s only giant pandas as well as flamingos, koalas and chimpanzees. The zoo enjoys a beautiful parkland setting just out of the city centre. There are lots of educational talks by the expert keepers, a penguin parade and much more. Children enjoy visiting Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions, an attraction that has been delighting guests since 1835. There are many hands on experiences, unbelievable effects, illusions, tricks and puzzles. You can serve your own head up on a silver platter, pick the people of Edinburgh up in your hand, find your way out of the magical mirror maze, try and stay on your feet in the vortex tunnel and visit the room where little and large become interchangeable. The National Museum of Scotland is an excellent excursion where children can discover the delights of the natural world, see treasures from around the world and explore world cultures. There are many exhibits, interactive displays and games. Even just gazing at the beautiful building is worth the trip! The Museum of Childhood is another popular stop where youngsters can learn about children of the past and see a fabulous range of old toys and games. There is a puppet theatre and a dressing up area. For some thrilling fun, you can head to Fountain Park, a fantastic activity centre with cinemas, laser tag, trampolines, bowling, crazy golf and a rock climbing wall.

Baby and Toddler Equipment

  • Cot(s)
  • High Chair(s)

Kids Activities Close-by

  • Walk to Village
  • Walk to Restaurant
  • Fishing
  • Outdoor Pursuit & Activities
  • Tourist Towns & Villages

Onsite Facilities

  • Board games
  • Tennis rackets
  • Games Room
  • Indoor Games
  • Outdoor Games
  • DVD

Services Available

  • Chef/Cook Available
  • Maid Service Available
  • Babysitting Available

Extras

Oliver's Extras

  • Chef/Cook Available
  • Maid Service Available
  • Babysitting Available
  • Welcome Hamper Included - with local ground coffee, jam, biscuits, a Selkirk bannock (our local cake delicacy), crisps and milk

The house can recommend local caterers who are available to make the most sumptuous dinner:
- Full Scottish Breakfast £20 pp.
- Lunch from £25 pp.
- Dinner from £55 pp.

At Oliver’s Travels we pride ourselves on going that little bit further for our guests. From private chefs to babysitters we can help you arrange those little extras that make it a truly memorable holiday. Simply fill in the concierge request form or contact the Oliver’s Concierge Team who will be happy to help. We can typically help you arrange any of the following:

- Maid service/extra cleaning
- Private chef/cook/catering
- Welcome hamper/pre-stocked fridge
- Local day-trips or tours
- Airport pick-up/drop-off
- Babysitting/childcare services

Please note that all extras are subject to availability and must be requested in advance of the holiday (prices on request). Due to some rural/remote locations, not all services will be available at all properties. However, we will always do our best to fulfil your requests!

Oliver's Travels Chef Service: A Gourmet Dining Experience
Make hosting a memorable dinner party at your villa an absolute breeze with our superb Chef Service. Our chefs will take care of everything for you from start to finish so you can just sit back and enjoy the gastronomic experience. They will bring all the necessary ingredients, cook and serve the food and even clean up afterwards. To find out more visit www.oliverstravels.com/chefs

Event information

Steeped in history and romance, Aikwood Tower makes the perfect choice for couples looking for a unique venue for their special day. The picturesque grounds really possess the wow factor and make a truly special setting for the photographs you will treasure forever.

Wedding Reception

A reception with up to 60 people can be hosted in the barn, a great space for events or smaller groups up to 20 people could have a reception in a hall in the tower. Dancing could continue in the main hall with up to 60 people or in the barn for up to 75 with music playing until midnight.
 
Wedding Ceremony
A ceremony in the Great Hall could host small groups up to 10 people or in a different hall in the tower for up to 60 people. The property is fully-licenced to hold legal marriages.

Where to Stay
Up to 10 guests can sleep at the property. Remaining guests would be able to find accommodation within a short distance of the house amongst a nearby a selection of hotels, self-catered houses and B&Bs. The property owners can supply details of local transportation firms.

Wedding Planning
Wedding planning is provided by the venue and is part of the event rental fee. The venue has a lot of recommended suppliers and can help build and style all the elements of the event day.

Catering
Aikwood Tower have a range of caterers to suggest to clients. Corkage fees apply if clients want to bring their own drinks. Venue bar packages available also.

Other information
Friday to Monday bookings or minimum 2 nights mid-week.
The event fee varies depending on guest numbers

Please note that any event rental may be subject to additional charges, venue hire fees and to a higher security deposit, which will be in addition to any published rental rates and fees.

All events are on request only and subject to prior agreement from the owner, who reserves the right to refuse all events without their prior authorisation.

Terms & Conditions

These terms and conditions may be amended from time to time.

Security deposit £500 due prior to arrival and to be refunded in full subject to a damage inspection on departure
Arrival time 4pm
Departure time 10am
Energy costs included? Yes, included in rental price
Linen & towels included? Yes, included in rental price
End of stay cleaning included? Yes, included in the rental price
Changeover day Any except Saturday & Sunday
Minimum stay Please note that there is a 2-night minimum stay, this may be increased at peak times
Pets welcome? A maximim of 3 well behaved dogs are allowed on a request basis for an additional charge of £20 per dog, per stay.
Smoking Allowed? No smoking
Insurance It is recommended that all guests take out insurance to cover against potential cancellation and any accidental damage caused during your stay at the property.
Other Ts and Cs Two additional single beds with full linen are available for an additional charge of £55 per bed, per night. Please request at time of booking.

Rental Rates

Prices based on an occupancy of 10 people:

Rental period 2 Nights 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Jun 30th 2022 - Jul 1st 2022 - £2,730 £2,993 £3,255 £3,308
Jul 1st 2022 - Sep 2nd 2022 - £3,150 £3,334 £3,518 £3,675
Sep 2nd 2022 - Nov 4th 2022 - £2,730 £2,993 £3,255 £3,308
Nov 4th 2022 - Dec 20th 2022 £1,838 £1,995 £2,153 £2,310 £2,389
Dec 20th 2022 - Dec 27th 2022 - - - - £6,930
Dec 27th 2022 - Jan 6th 2023 - - £5,565 £6,258 £6,930
Jan 6th 2023 - Mar 31st 2023 £1,943 £2,205 £2,468 £2,625 £2,625
Mar 31st 2023 - Jun 30th 2023 - £3,045 £3,360 £3,675 £3,675
Jun 30th 2023 - Sep 1st 2023 - £3,465 £3,870 £4,043 £4,043
Sep 1st 2023 - Nov 3rd 2023 - £3,045 £3,360 £3,675 £3,675
Nov 3rd 2023 - Dec 20th 2023 £1,943 £2,205 £2,468 £2,625 £2,625
Dec 20th 2023 - Dec 29th 2023 - - - - £7,140
Dec 29th 2023 - Jan 1st 2024 - - £5,880 £6,594 £7,140

Prices based on an occupancy of 10 people:

Rental period 2 Nights 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Jun 30th 2022 - Jul 1st 2022 - €2,977 €3,264 €3,550 €3,607
Jul 1st 2022 - Sep 2nd 2022 - €3,435 €3,636 €3,836 €4,008
Sep 2nd 2022 - Nov 4th 2022 - €2,977 €3,264 €3,550 €3,607
Nov 4th 2022 - Dec 20th 2022 €2,004 €2,176 €2,348 €2,519 €2,605
Dec 20th 2022 - Dec 27th 2022 - - - - €7,557
Dec 27th 2022 - Jan 6th 2023 - - €6,069 €6,825 €7,557
Jan 6th 2023 - Mar 31st 2023 €2,119 €2,405 €2,691 €2,863 €2,863
Mar 31st 2023 - Jun 30th 2023 - €3,321 €3,664 €4,008 €4,008
Jun 30th 2023 - Sep 1st 2023 - €3,779 €4,220 €4,409 €4,409
Sep 1st 2023 - Nov 3rd 2023 - €3,321 €3,664 €4,008 €4,008
Nov 3rd 2023 - Dec 20th 2023 €2,119 €2,405 €2,691 €2,863 €2,863
Dec 20th 2023 - Dec 29th 2023 - - - - €7,786
Dec 29th 2023 - Jan 1st 2024 - - €6,412 €7,191 €7,786

Prices based on an occupancy of 10 people:

Rental period 2 Nights 3 Nights 4 Nights 5 Nights Weekly
Jun 30th 2022 - Jul 1st 2022 - $3,109 $3,408 $3,707 $3,767
Jul 1st 2022 - Sep 2nd 2022 - $3,587 $3,797 $4,006 $4,185
Sep 2nd 2022 - Nov 4th 2022 - $3,109 $3,408 $3,707 $3,767
Nov 4th 2022 - Dec 20th 2022 $2,093 $2,272 $2,451 $2,631 $2,720
Dec 20th 2022 - Dec 27th 2022 - - - - $7,891
Dec 27th 2022 - Jan 6th 2023 - - $6,337 $7,126 $7,891
Jan 6th 2023 - Mar 31st 2023 $2,212 $2,511 $2,810 $2,989 $2,989
Mar 31st 2023 - Jun 30th 2023 - $3,468 $3,826 $4,185 $4,185
Jun 30th 2023 - Sep 1st 2023 - $3,946 $4,406 $4,604 $4,604
Sep 1st 2023 - Nov 3rd 2023 - $3,468 $3,826 $4,185 $4,185
Nov 3rd 2023 - Dec 20th 2023 $2,212 $2,511 $2,810 $2,989 $2,989
Dec 20th 2023 - Dec 29th 2023 - - - - $8,131
Dec 29th 2023 - Jan 1st 2024 - - $6,696 $7,509 $8,131

Please note that these prices/rates are a guide only and may not be correct at the current date. For an accurate quote, please enquire.

Owner Profile

Property Owner
Vicki

How long have you owned the property?
4 years.

What was it about the property that you first fell in love with?
We bought Aikwood Tower from Rory's parents, David and Judy, who undertook the original restoration. It was important to us that it stayed in the family, so that we and many more people could enjoy its peace, tranquility and perfect space for having fun!

Are there any interesting stories in its history?
Lots! Aikwood Tower is steeped in history - it even features in one of Sir Walter Scott's novels.

Have you ever had any famous guests staying?
Lord David Steel undertook the original restoration and lived at Aikwood Tower for twenty years. During this time he played host to many UK and international statesmen and politicians.

For anyone coming to stay is there anything in the surrounding area they should...
Really do?

If you can tear yourself away from the fire, then there's clay-pigeon shooting, riding, amazing walks and fishing all our doorstep.

Really eat?
At The Cross Keys in Ancrum.

Really see?
The Selkirk Common Riding in June.

Lastly, what insider tip would you pass on about the property or the area?
Mind your head! People were evidently much shorter in the 16th century when Aikwood Tower was built so some of the doorways are quite low.

History

The first mention of Aikwood comes in the Lord Treasurer of Scotland’s accounts of 1455, when it was one of the royal forest steadings of Ettrick Forest leased from King James III to Lord Home.

In 1517, the grounds of Aikwood were granted to the Scott family during the reign of King James V, and it has been owned within the Scott clan since. During the early seventeenth century ownership passed to the Scotts of Harden, a major Border family, whose head became ‘Baron of Harden and Oakwood’ (the name was then anglicised from Aikwood to Oakwood). They remained in possession of Aikwood for over 300 years.

The Harden Scotts continued to own Aikwood up until just after the Second World War. In the early part of that time, it was usually occupied by the heir of the family, who took an active part in local Selkirk civic affairs. However from the mid eighteenth century, the tower was abandoned as a home and the farm was let out.

STORIES AND SORCERY

There are many fantastic stories and legends about Aikwood Tower. One of them features the seventeenth century owner, Sir William Scott of Harden who, along with his father, was a renowned ‘Border Reiver’.  On a raid to Elibank Castle by the Tweed, he was captured and given the choice between being hanged or marrying the Laird of Elibank’s daughter, ‘Muckle Mou’d Meg’ (big mouthed Meg).

Sir Walter Scott was a descendant of this union, and Aikwood Tower certainly fired his imagination with it appearing in his first great epic poem 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel'.

However, his contemporary, James Hogg, ‘The Ettrick Shepherd’, made even more use of Aikwood in his writings, including a legend about Michael Scott, the Border Wizard.

There is also a later story that associates the Laird of Aikwood with Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite rebellion and relates his escape from Government forces after the Battle of Culloden.

NEW LIFE & A FAMILY HOME

For the majority of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the tower itself served as a building for agricultural storage. The tenant farmer, who did a lot to keep the tower in a decent state of repair, tried living in it, but just one winter proved too much for him. It then remained uninhabited for 100 years.

In the late 1940s Lord Polwarth, head of the Harden Scotts, parted with the farm to their kinsman, the eighth Duke of Buccleuch.

Then in 1988, the ninth Duke of Buccleuch made possible the realisation of the dream of David Steel (now Lord Steel of Aikwood) the long-serving MP for the Borders, which was to restore the tower as a home. Sir David - who, with his Scott blood, continues a long clan tradition with Aikwood - and his wife, Judy, restored it using local Selkirk craftsman and moved in with their younger son, Rory, in 1992.

The restoration of Aikwood has won no less than five architectural awards, including the prestigious Europa Nostra. For nearly twenty years it has been a hub for artistic creativity and a meeting place for national and international politicians.

It is now under the ownership of The Honourable Rory David Scott Steel and his wife Vicki, who have refurbished the property, upgrading its facilities. Their wish is that many more people enjoy its magical charms in the years to come.

Local History

The Scottish Borders has some of the richest and most dramatic history in the whole of Scotland. During the late Middle Ages, Scotland and England were frequently at war, with the Borders bearing the brunt between the two countries. Cattle rustling, feuding, murder, fire-raising and pillaging were all common occurrences and the families of the area lived in a state of semi-lawlessness. They were rugged, tough people who became know as the 'Border Reivers' and today their descendants can be found all over the world.

The legacy of the Reivers lives strong throughout the Scottish Borders. From the fortified Peel towers, such as Aikwood Tower, that were built for defence as well as homes, through to the annual Common Ridings (a celebration of the riding of the marches, when the townsfolk would ride around the boundaries of their borough's common lands to protect them from any encroachments).

Ancestral tourism

With over 50 million people across the world able to lay claim to Scottish ancestry, more and more people are becoming interested in researching their family roots and setting out on a visit to Scotland to explore their ancestry further.

We have links with some of the leading genealogists and tour guides in the Scottish Borders who can support you with research into your family history. And we really love to hear from families whose descendants were previous occupiers of Aikwood Tower!

ENQUIRE NOW

Reviews

  • Excellent stay!

    Posted by Nigel on 08/11/2018

    Stayed at Aikwood Tower for a couple of days to celebrate a birthday with friends. Forget any idea of cold, damp or threadbare! This is a beautifully restored, high spec, luxuriously warm, spacious, delightful escape in the "wilderness" of the Scottish borders. Plenty to do in the surrounding area - walks, houses and gardens to visit, eatieries, or simply chilling out. Plus an interesting history, both from the days of the border raiding parties and more recently as the life long down time project of Sir David Steele and his family. Thoroughly recommend it!

  • Our dream came true...

    Posted by Robin on 22/08/2018

    Our group had been planning a castle stay in the UK for around 10 years, and Aikwood did not in any way disappoint. This place is more amazing than any picture can describe, and Vicki and her family have done an beautiful job on it. We recommend lawn Jenga to anyone visiting the castle.
    We spent most of our time in the great hall, as it was so warm and inviting, and our family is always cooking something or other. The lounge areas are large and comfortable, rooms were clean and luxurious, and the bath tubs were the best bath tubs I have ever bathed within.
    If you want to pretend you live in a fairy tale, Aikwood tower is the place to make believe.

  • Amazing location for a wedding!

    Posted by Scott on 14/08/2018

    We got married here a couple of weeks ago. Aikwood Tower is a beautiful and unique locational to get married. Not only that - Vicki was so wonderful to work with and she worked so hard to make sure we were able to get what we wanted and for our wedding day to run smoothly. I had a stress-free wedding day as a result and an enjoyable stay at Aikwood. We had one of the best weekends of our lives and our friends kept saying to us how it was one of the best weddings they had ever been to. We were able to have a wedding that was bespoke and so personal and Aikwood will always be special to us. We can't thank Vicki enough and hope we can stay again!

  • No words can describe this...

    Posted by Dave on 27/04/2018

    No words can describe this.... but I will try.
    Aikwood Tower, is the most amazing place I have ever stayed. I have always wanted to stay in a Scottish Castle with my family and with my 60th birthday to celebrate with my twin sister, I started searching. We were there for 3 nights and lived like landed gentry. We were in awe of this wonderful property, the history and the location. Vicki, who owns the tower, was so helpful and an absolute pleasure to deal with. All ten of my family didn't want to leave. If it wasn't for the pressure of returning to work, Vicki would have had to drag us out by our feet as we held on to the door frames! Beautifully and tastefully restored, with sympathetic contemporary touches, it is no wonder they have received architectural awards for the restoration. I can only say, you must visit - then you will appreciate what I can't out down in words. My father now wants to return for his 80th birthday - we will be back. And hopefully for a longer stay. It was an honour to experience Aikwood Tower.

  • Breathtaking

    Posted by Ken on 17/04/2018

    Aikwood Tower in the glorious border region is an absolute gem of a place for a family gathering. It is a historic and impressive building by anyone's standards, but also wonderfully well equipped, with every comfort for visitors. It’s also, as you can imagine, a very robust setting for families. You are not walking on eggshells or over worried about the décor or arriving back from walks with muddy wellies etc. so ideal for our big group, plus the two dogs. The gardens are lovely as is all of the surrounding countryside. Cycling opportunities are many and varied from the front door - the borders really are one of the best areas of GB for cycling both on and off road. Little traffic and courteous drivers - the local people were very friendly and Selkirk has some excellent shops and sufficient supermarkets. An excellent butcher too. We went to a concert at Haining House Selkirk and it was obviously set up and organised by a local group who are helping with the hall and grounds - again, really nice people taking a pride in their community. The train from Tweed Bank to Edinburgh was well used by some of our guests and what good value it is on a lovely stretch of line. Edinburgh is less than an hour away and its far easier and cheaper than driving for a day return. There are lots of other attractions in the area but we had a lot of fun just staying in and around our stronghold! Everything was really well prepared and Tina was most welcoming on arrival. Vicki was so helpful also and we felt as if they wanted us to have a nice time and weren't listing rules and regulations. We had lovely flowers and Easter eggs and chocolates all round. Plus, some fantastic local bacon and sausage. We really enjoyed our stay despite the weather but then again, the hills looked lovely in the snow!

  • Marvellous

    Posted by Jill on 20/03/2018

    Beautiful castle stay, surprisingly affordable yet still felt wonderfully decadent. Would highly recommend Oliver's Travels and will be booking again.

  • Absolutely perfect!

    Posted by Claudia on 05/07/2017

    I'm not typically given to hyperbole, but I am having a hard time finding words that do justice to Aikwood Tower. It is simply gorgeous. The tower has been lovingly restored in a way that blends the charm of its history with the comforts of five star luxury accommodation. The gardens are beautiful, the views spectacular -- many times I stopped on my way to fetching a jacket or a book from one of the rooms to gaze out the window at a stunning vista and was so mesmerized that I completely forgot what I had originally been after. Owner Vicki is lovely and supremely helpful, and my energetic family -- three teenagers, and eight year old, my husband and myself -- felt welcome and very much at home. My young son had the adventure of his life exploring the many interesting nooks and corners of the tower and the delights of the gardens, including a play house in the orchard. Our stay was all too short, we were there a mere three nights but we filled the days hiking the hilly trails at Bowhill House and exploring the nearby villages. We are all in agreement that we cannot wait to return for a longer stay! Thank you, Vicki and family, for sharing this gem of a home with us and others.

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