Smailholm Tower, Kelso

4.3
#2 of 19 in Things to do in Kelso
Smailholm Tower is a peel tower at Smailholm, around five miles (8 km) west of Kelso in the Scottish Borders. Its dramatic situation, atop a crag of Lady Hill, commands wide views over the surrounding countryside. The tower is located at grid reference, just west of Sandyknowe farm, and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the care of Historic Scotland. In June 2007 it was awarded the maximum "five-star" status as a tourist attraction from VisitScotland, a rating bestowed on only eight other sites in Scotland.
Smailholm Tower was originally built in the 15th century or early 16th century by the Pringle family. This family, originally spelt Hoppringle, who were followers of the Earl of Douglas, held the lands of Smailholm from the early 15th century, and managed part of Ettrick Forest for their feudal superior. The word -holm stands for little island. And Smail might be Smale, Smail, Smaile, Small, Smalles, Smalls, and Smeal(l), derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "Smael" meaning "small, slender or thin", and was originally given as a nickname to one of slight stature.
Smailholm Tower was designed, in common with all Scottish peel towers, to provide its occupants with protection from sporadic English raids. The tower was attacked by English soldiers in 1543, 1544 and again in 1546, when the garrison of Wark Castle sacked the tower and carried off prisoners and cattle. The castle was successfully defended against the English in 1640, by Sir Andrew Ker of Greenhead.
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Smailholm Tower Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
199 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Really well presented and complete fortified tower. The view from the roof level is spectacular, and it's easy to see why Smailholm was built where it is. A bit off the beaten track, but very well wor...  more »
  • Had some spare time on recent golf trip so swung by Smailhome on our way to Roxburghe. Lovely building in a great spot on some rocky crags made for some decent images. Did not go inside as time was li...  more »
Google
  • A historic building, a relic from the 1600's it certainly gives a feeling of what life would be then. It's not a wow place like Edinburgh or Stirling castle's but its definitely worth taking the time to visit. It has a connection with Sir Walter Scott and his family also the views from the roof across the borders on clear days is spectacular. It won't take long perhaps 30-45 minutes but if you want a taste of borders history a visit is worth it.
  • Another historic location in the Scottish Borders. I am giving it 4 star because you have to pay over £5 per person to go inside. Typical of historic Scotland. To be honest the outside is the only interesting part.
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