Comfort, charm and history in the heart of the Scottish Borders

The Scottish Borders is an area studded with reminders of its turbulent and often bloody past. Castles, abbeys, towers and fortresses punctuate the now peaceful landscape where in years gone by the infamous Border wars raged.

Kelso Abbey

Because of its position at the meeting place of two beautiful rivers, the Tweed and the Teviot, Kelso has always held an important place in Borders history. Springing up around the 12th Century Kelso Abbey (just around the corner from the Turret House), the town developed into a thriving market place. 'Horsemarket' and 'Woodmarket', two of the cobbled streets radiating from the town's elegant main Square are reminders of some of the trades that were once carried out there.

Today the horse sales have moved out of the town to nearby Springwood Park but the clatter of horses' hooves on cobbles can still be heard during the town's annual festival week in July when several 'ride-outs' to the surrounding countryside take place.

Turret House

The Turret House sits comfortably in this old market town and has its own story to tell.

As John Palmer, a boatman and the original occupant, carved his initials above the front door in 1678, he could never have imagined what changes would take place to his humble single-storey cottage on the banks of the River Tweed, over the next 300 years.

Carved date on lintel, Turret House, Kelso

During the next century and a half two further storeys and the imposing stone turret were added. These and the many other original features in the Turret House are protected for the enjoyment of generations to come by an agreement with the National Trust.

Boatman John Palmer has of course long gone, as have many of the other past occupants that came after him and called the Turret House home, including James Kirkwood, a school teacher in the late 17th Century and Katie Bennet who opened a sweetie shop in the ground floor in the 1920s.

Restored by the National Trust for Scotland, Turret House, KelsoA self-catering holiday allows you to take a place in the Turret House time-line where, even with the comfort of the modern conveniences that today's visitors expect, you will still feel the sense of history as soon as you pass under the lintel that John carved all those years ago.

Visitors will find more details of the past occupants of the Turret House when they arrive and there is a selection of local history books for you to browse through.

We hope that you will leave your own memories of this very special holiday cottage in our guest book and record for posterity your part in the history of the Turret House.

Spiral staircase at Turret House, Kelso

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