Escape to Barns Tower, Scotland

by Jo Kenny

Well… we did it! After 13 years of food, fun and adventures, Q and I finally tied the knot!

We had the most incredible day up in Scotland at Myres Castle, and I’ll be doing a full blog post on the day for you just as soon as I have all the pictures back. I can’t wait to show you the food! Here’s a few sneak peaks:

(Wedding photo credit: Photos by Zoe)

Q and I have never been ones for throwing ourselves parties or being the centre of attention, so this was a real novelty, and a serious dive into the deep end! I can’t describe the overwhelming sensation of love I experienced, and it is so true that there is no better party than your own wedding with all your family and friends together in one room! What an absolutely unforgettable experience…

But when all the fun was over, the day after the wedding Q and I packed up all of our belongings, said goodbye to our families and disappeared off to our mini-moon destination.

We’re pretty self-aware of our quirks, and both being relatively introverted people we knew that after all the excitement we’d relish staying somewhere peaceful. I’d looked around at hotels and inns, but after a short search on Airbnb we came across somewhere that looked absolutely perfect, close to the Scottish Borders.

As we journeyed towards our destination, villages disappeared behind us, roads turned into tracks and the trees grew taller and closer… we really were disappearing to the middle of nowhere!

As we pulled up to our home for the next five days we both glanced at each other with wide eyes. What a building! Was that really a home? It looked so narrow.

This is Barns Tower and it is really, really old. Dating back to the 14th Century, it’s a Medieval defence tower which was built by the 4th Laird of Barns, who designed it to protect all his treasures, animals and loved ones from bandit raids which were rife back in the day. Funnily enough though, this guy was infamous in his time for doing his fair share of raiding. I guess that made him an expert in how to protect his treasures!

The tower has no ground floor windows, save for a little opening in what is now the bathroom which used to be for shooting arrows out of. The only point of entry into the building is through the front door, which amazingly is still the original! It’s solid oak and protected from the outside with an iron yett. If you look closely you can see the date ‘1488’ carved above the doorway.

Inside the door just continues to get cooler.

Look at the size of that lock! It makes a satisfying *clunk* as it slots into place. There’s even an oak post which can be placed in front of the door to barricade yourselves in and achieve an unbelievable sense of security and cosiness.

Best thing of all about this door? (Can you tell that I really love it?) It’s the key.

Look at it! Isn’t it incredible?! Stepping through the threshold I really felt like I had stepped back in time.

The quirks of Barns Tower do not stop at the front door however. This place is remarkable in how it has been restored to maintain so much of that medieval feel. Your journey begins up a narrow, rickety stone stair way.

The first room you find as you make your ascent is the kitchen. It’s equipped with all the pots, pans and utensils you would need for cooking. A reliable country oven and electric hob, fridge and freezer. Most importantly there’s a fireplace and cosy armchairs.

The tower is owned by Lady Lulu, who left us a lovely supply of bread, cheese, butter, milk, eggs, fruit, Scottish shortbread, coffee and a bottle of bubbly to help us celebrate. We also brought with us a beautiful Fortnum & Mason hamper which was a wedding gift. Looks like we had everything we needed to hunker down!

From here the stairway becomes a wooden one, which draws you up toward the living room.

This little room is cosy hideaway heaven! The walls are adorned with old pictures and paintings of the tower through the ages. There’s another fireplace, blankets, mod-cons with a TV and DVD player. And best of all? A snug.

I spent a lot of time in here. It was perfect, made even better when the weather turned and the wind began howling around the tower; this little nook felt incredibly romantic and cosy.

Bookworms and nap-enthusiasts would find this snug a little slice of heaven; I know I did!

The last flight of stairs leads to a bedroom in the old attic space, where there’s a large free-standing bath, a ceiling full of aged oak beams, skylights and the comfiest bed I have slept in for a long time!

There are tiny windows punched through the thick walls of the tower, offering mysterious little views out to your surroundings.

A Perfect Visit For…

  • Couples wanting a romantic retreat
  • History lovers
  • Lovers of long walks

Give it a miss if…

  • You have little ones.
  • Have limited mobility.
  • Are afraid of ghosts!*

*We didn’t experience any unexplained noises or occurrences, but that said this is a seriously old building with some inherently spooky features, such as a secret staircase leading to the bedroom!

I just loved how quirky it was though. Every time we returned home to our tower I would excitedly pull the ancient key from my bag and turn it in the lock. With Edinburgh just 40 minutes away it was a lovely contrast to come home to our rustic retreat after a day in the city.

Our mini-moon played out in a romantic routine of snuggling by the fire, falling asleep, drinking rum and nibbling our way through a good deal of edible gifts. If ever you’re looking for a Scottish retreat I highly recommend Barns Tower! At £90 per night it’s great value for such a unique experience.


Lou October 23, 2017 - 10:55 am

Very cool place to stay, it’s going on my list! Those jam jars from Fortnum and Mason look yum… Possible review coming up? Looking forward to a little insider peek of your big day, you both look so happy and handsome!

Jo October 25, 2017 - 6:47 pm

Thank you so much! I can’t wait to get the pictures back! Barns Tower is definitely one to bookmark for a Scottish break, really is lovely.


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