Things to do in the Scottish Borders

The Scottish Borders, a region of breathtaking landscapes and rich history, stretches across the southeastern part of Scotland, bordering England. This area is renowned for its rolling hills, rugged coastline, and the River Tweed, which is famous among anglers for salmon fishing. The Borders is steeped in history, with numerous historic houses, abbeys, and castles dotting the landscape, each telling a story of Scotland’s turbulent past. From the ancient ruins of Melrose Abbey to the grandeur of Floors Castle, the region offers a glimpse into centuries of Scottish heritage.

Aside from its historical significance, the Scottish Borders boasts a vibrant cultural scene. The annual Common Ridings are a unique tradition celebrating community spirit and history through horse riding events that date back hundreds of years. Additionally, the region is known for its textile industry, producing world-renowned cashmere and tweeds. With its picturesque villages like Kelso and Peebles offering charming shops and local eateries, the Borders provides a tranquil escape into Scotland’s heartland where visitors can immerse themselves in natural beauty and cultural richness.

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Things not to miss...

  • Melrose Abbey: Explore the stunning ruins of Melrose Abbey, one of Scotland’s most beautiful monastic buildings. Founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks on King David I’s request, it holds rich historical significance including being the burial place of Robert the Bruce’s heart.
  • Floors Castle: Visit Floors Castle near Kelso to marvel at Scotland’s largest inhabited castle. Home to the Duke of Roxburghe, this magnificent estate features opulent rooms filled with art collections and overlooks vast gardens along the River Tweed.
  • Jedburgh Abbey: Discover Jedburgh Abbey’s impressive 12th-century architecture. This historic site was once a major monastery near the border between Scotland and England. Its visitor center tells tales of medieval monastic life.
  • Hawick Museum & Scott Gallery: Delve into local history at Hawick Museum & Scott Gallery set within Wilton Lodge Park. Exhibits focus on Hawick’s textile heritage alongside fine art collections.
  • Kelso Abbey: Wander through Kelso Abbey’s remains in the heart of Kelso town. Founded in 1128 by David I for Tironensian monks from France; despite suffering damage during various conflicts throughout history it remains an evocative site.
  • Peebles Beltane Festival: Experience Peebles during its annual Beltane Festival celebrating local traditions with parades, concerts and crowning ceremonies rooted in ancient customs that herald summer’s arrival.
  • Bowhill House & Country Estate: Enjoy Bowhill House nestled within vast parklands offering walking trails that showcase scenic views alongside an impressive collection of art housed within this historic family home.
  • Thirlestane Castle: Thirlestane Castle invites visitors to explore one of Scotland’s oldest castles dating back to the 16th century located in Lauder featuring beautifully preserved interiors and fascinating family artifacts.
  • Dawyck Botanic Garden: Immerse yourself in nature at Dawyck Botanic Garden near Peebles – one of Britain’s finest arboreta renowned for its seasonal displays including spectacular spring bluebells and autumn colors.
  • The Haining Selkirk: The Haining offers a peek into Scottish country life set against a picturesque loch-side setting with opportunities to explore its historic house and grounds reflecting centuries-old heritage.
  • Coldstream Museum: Coldstream Museum presents an array of exhibits related to Coldstream Guards’ rich military history alongside local social history collections situated right on England-Scotland border town.