What to do

A wealth of sporting facilities and leisure pursuits are available in the area. In Duns they include a swimming pool, football and rugby pitches, hockey pitches, a badminton club, a bowling green, tennis courts and Duns Golf Club. There is an active gym at Putton Mill, near Duns, with children’s play areas, a fitness centre and a golf driving range.

Duns Castle has a nature reserve open to all, and there are numerous local walks beloved by the local dogs and their owners. The annual Berwickshire County Show is held in the Castle grounds. This was also the venue for the town’s first drive-in movie, in September 2020. The Castle itself was used as a location for the 1997 film Mrs Brown, starring Judi Dench and Billy Connelly.

Nearby Manderston is one of the last great Edwardian country houses, open to the public at certain times throughout the year.

The Jim Clark Motorsport Museum, which has a long association with the worldwide motor-sport community and attracts many visitors to the town, has recently been upgraded and expanded.

The Market Square during the Summer Festival

Duns Summer Festival, or Reiver’s Week, celebrates the town‘s history and traditions in a week of sports, concerts, horse riding and parades. Held in early July, the festival includes sports, music, dancing, children’s entertainments, a Common Riding of the Parish Bounds, and the traditional Handba’ game in the Market Square.

A core purpose of A Heart for Duns is to run events and activities in the Volunteer Hall, involving all sections of the community. Before the current Covid-19 restrictions, regular events included monthly community lunches and recent film screenings, a beer and food festival, scratch choir performances, a Christmas market, and a family friendly Hogmanay ceilidh.

Much of the area’s cultural life is based at the Hall. This includes regular performances from local groups such as Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society and Duns Players. The latter held the first DunsPlayFest there in 2019; this eight-day festival featured new dramatic writing by playwrights from the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh. The Hall is also visited by touring groups including Scottish Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.