The Scottish Borders with their rolling hills, woodlands, river valleys and characterful towns are a holiday setting with plenty of appeal. In olden times, this Border country was a place of warfare and skirmishing. Its legacy today is a wealth of historic sites, notably abbeys, castles and stately homes. This area is also strongly associated with horses - it is said that the annual Selkirk Common Riding is the largest mounted gathering anywhere in Europe. As a result, the area has an excellent choice of riding and trekking centres.
Another important activity in the Borders is textile weaving - many of the towns have mill shops where hunting for a bargain can be very rewarding - for example Galashiels or Hawick. (Mill tours are on offer as well.) The area's association with textiles goes back to the time when the monks at the abbeys raised their own flocks. This is just part of the story told at the visitor centre in Jedburgh Abbey, a good way of getting to know the Border abbeys at Jedburgh, Meirose, Kelso and - most peaceful and atmospheric of all - Dryburgh by the River Tweed.
Sir Walter Scott's house at Abbotsford is a popular attraction, though just one of a number of historic houses. These include the Georgian splendour of Mellerstain and also Thiriestane Castle, with its impressive plasterwork and state rooms . Floors Castle, home of the Dukes of Roxburghe further extends the stately home choice, while for sheer atmosphere, a trip to the hilltop setting of Smailholm Tower with its panoramic views is also worthwhile.
Though angling on the River Tweed is justly famed, there are many other angling opportunities, with permits availably locally at very reasonable cost. There are also many walks for all abilities in the area, from sheltered woodland trails to all-day excursions. The signposted long-distance footpath, the Southern Upland Way, also crosses the area and can be enjoyed in easy day stages. With extensive forests as well as quiet byways, the Scottish Borders is excellent cycling country. The Glentress Forest near Peebles is just one of the places with waymarked trails for mountain biking. Sports facilities and swimming pools can be found in most towns in the area, for example Duns, Galashiels, Hawick and Jedburgh.
The Scottish Borders with their unhurried byways and little roads are ideal for country touring, with crafts and galleries, fine views, country pubs to discover, as well as a fascinating sea-coast at places like Eyemouth and St Abbs. From a preserved printing works (at lnnerieithen), by way of Scotland's oldest inhabited house (Traquair), to some of Scotland's most accessible and spectacular seabird colonies at St Abbs Head, the Scottish Borders have something for everyone.
Upcoming events & Things places to visit
Traquair is Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House. Visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens it dates back to 1107 and has been lived in by the Stuart family since 1491. Originally a royal hunting lodge, Traquair played host to Mary Queen of Scots and later as staunch Catholics they supported the Jacobite cause without counting the cost.
Today, it welcomes visitors from all over the world. Enjoy the extraordinary history of this lived in family home. Visit the house, grounds, maze, craft workshops, 1745 Cottage Restaurant and the world famous Traquair House Brewery situated in one of the wings of the house and sample the ales in the brewery shop and museum.
There’s many events throughout the year so visit their website for all the up to date goings on
Borders Railway itinerary
Ready for a fantastic day out? Follow this handy itinerary to explore the hidden gems along the recently launched Borders Railway route. Opened in September 2015, the railway connects Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, regions famed for their rich cultural history and stunning scenery. On route you'll pass picturesque towns, rolling hills and the sparkling River Tweed.
So what are you waiting for? Let's get you off to the train station, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy!
Dawyck Botanic Garden
Dawyck is truly one of the world’s finest arboreta. Seasonal displays of abundant exotic and native plants provide a breath-taking backdrop of colour throughout the year. The Garden also offers an award-winning visitor centre and hosts special events/talks, so click on their website for more information. Open daily 1 February to 30 November from 10am to 4pm/5pm/6pm
* Go Ape – Head to the forest for a treetop adventure of a lifetime!
Prices vary per package. Booking essential
* Biggar Puppet Theatre - home of the international Purves puppets
Visit http://www.purvespuppets.com/ for show schedule and pricing.
* Glentress 7Stanes – biking heaven with tracks for all ages and abilities.
* Culter Fell circular, near Biggar
* Glentress circuit from Peebles
* Salmon Leap Walk, Selkirk