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Robert Smail’s Printing Works
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Scottish Borders

Robert Smail’s Printing Works

Oldest working commercial letterpress printers in the UK – a living museum of Victorian history

Planning your visit

We want you to enjoy your visit to Smail’s – your safety is our priority. This means we may have had to make some changes so that we can keep everyone safe. Please read our Guide on what to expect before you set off.

This property is part of the ‘We’re Good to Go’ scheme, which means we have carried out an official COVID-19 risk assessment to check we have everything in place to reopen safely.


We have to limit the numbers of visitors in Smail’s at any one time so that we avoid overcrowding and ensure physical distancing.

We have set up a pre-booking system to make your visit at Robert Smail’s Printing Works easier and safer.

We strongly advise that you pre-book before travelling to Smail’s. If you do not pre-book, we cannot guarantee entry to the printing works and you may be turned away.

Book your tour time at Robert Smail’s Printing Works

Please allow 1 hour for your visit. Tour slots are at set times throughout the day and are at 11.00, 12.00, 14.30 and 15.30 on Monday, Friday and Saturday and 13.30, 14.30 and 15.30 on Sundays. Due to restrictions in space, tours are currently restricted to 6 people made up of no more than 2 household groups, which must be pre-booked.

Dogs (except assistance dogs) are not permitted at Smail’s.

For more information about planning your visit, please see the drop-down facilities below or our frequently asked questions.

If you’d like to speak to us we can be contacted by email: or telephone 01896 830206.

Facilities & access

Unfortunately, our Caseroom is not suitable for wheelchair access.

We have an ongoing programme of accessible content development. Detailed accessibility guides for the most visited Trust places are available on our Accessibility pages as well as links to useful resources.

We’d love you to visit the Euan’s Guide website to review the accessibility of Trust places and tell us (and others) what’s good and where we need to do better.

With the exception of the Caseroom on the first floor, all areas of Smail’s are accessible for buggies.

Visits to Robert Smail’s Printing Works include a guided tour in three sections as well as a hands-on element. In the Office you’ll find out about the generations of the Smail family and see some of our fantastic archive. In the Caseroom you’ll be put to work by the compositor – can you pass the first year of your apprenticeship?! And in the Machine Room you’ll see some of our original presses in action.

Hearing loop

A large-print version of the guidebook is available.

Smail’s has a fantastic gift shop, selling an exclusive range of letterpress stationery produced on the premises, alongside quality and quirky items from across Scotland.

With the exception of the Caseroom on the first floor, all areas of Smail’s are accessible for wheelchair users.

Opening times

Printing works

Access to the printing works is by pre-booked time slots only. Please note that spaces are limited.

Current period1 Nov–1 Apr 2021, closed 2 Apr–31 Oct, Mon, Fri & Sat 10.30–17.00; Sun 13.00–17.00 1 Nov–31 Mar 2022, closed
Gift shop

Current period22 Dec–1 Apr 2021, closed 2 Apr–31 Oct, Mon, Fri & Sat 10.30–17.00; Sun 13.00–17.00 1 Nov–21 Dec, Mon, Thurs, Fri & Sat 10.00–16.00 22 Dec–31 Mar 2022, closed

Entry prices

Printing Works
One adult family

Members go free

At all Trust places, admission is free for members.

Join from £50