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Castle Venlaw Hotel


(Venlaw Castle, Smithfield Castle)

A baronial mansion in the Scottish Borders, Castle Venlaw Hotel (also known as Venlaw Castle, or formerly Smithfield Castle) is located in 4.9 ha (12 acres) of wooded policies a half-mile (0.8 km) north of Peebles, on the northwestern slopes of Ven Law. It opened as a small hotel in 1949, now with 14 rooms.

The core of the house is a Georgian two-storey villa built by Alexander Stevenson, who was Sheriff Depute for Peeblesshire, on the site of Smithfield Castle in 1782. This had been the home of the Hays of Smithfield from the 14th C. This villa was bought by Major Archibald Erskine in 1796 and significantly extended in the Scots Baronial style by MacGibbon and Ross for Admiral Sir James Elphinstone Erskine in 1892. This features crow-stepped gables and a large corner tower, with a slated conical roof.

Venlaw was used during the First World War as hospital for sick and injured soldiers. In 1948 it was bought by Alexander Cumming and his wife, Jean Brownlee, but converting it to a hotel proved problematic, due to the imposition of a "development tax". Cumming fought to have this tax abolished. The hotel continued in the family until 1997. It was bought PAG Hotels Ltd. in 2007, but this company went into administration in 2010. The hotel was sold once again to private owners. A walled garden in now in separate ownership, with a modern house within in the 1990s.


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