The Scottish Borders is a peaceful place with picturesque scenery. It’s perfect for a relaxing weekend break. If you’re a bit of a history buff you’ll also find plenty to keep you interested. In this article we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about visiting the region.
Do I need to book my trip to the Borders early?
It’s advisable to book early during the summer months as this is a popular area for tourists. Book in plenty of time to ensure you get to see the best places.
Which area of the Borders should I stay in?
The Borders is full of quaint towns full of character. The most populous (in order) are Hawick, Galashiels, Peebles, Kelso, and Selkirk. Melrose, Kelso and Jedburgh are famous for their magnificent abbeys. Try to find accommodation near the attractions you’re interested in seeing.
Which type of accommodation should I choose for my trip to the Borders?
After spending the day looking at historical sites, why not spend the night in one too. There are a number of castles with accommodation, such as Dalhousie Castle and Barony Castle hotel. This is a perfect way of making your stay in the Borders that bit more special.
You can find self-catering cottages in all of the main towns and at all price points. Some of the best are located just outside of towns, allowing you to base yourself amongst the wonderful greenery of the region. A pine lodge is also a good self-catering option if you fancy a more rustic outdoors atmosphere.
You’ll also find B&Bs and hotels throughout the region, for all budgets.
What’s the best time of year to visit the Borders?
This region generally has mild weather throughout the year. Although the summer weather will allow you to fully appreciate the scenery, it can be quite busy at this time of the year. Autumn might be a good time to visit, as it’s past the tourist season but is still fairly warm. The winter weather is not unbearable, and there are also Christmas markets and fairs that might tempt you to come at this time.
What can I see in the Borders?
The Border’s rolling hills and the sparkling river Tweed are loved by many. Driving the A68 from England over the border is a great way to experience this scenery first-hand.
Many of the best attractions in the Borders are historical in nature. If you enjoy visiting castles, the Borders has you covered. Floors Castle is Scotland’s largest, and it’s well worth strolling through its beautiful garden and along it’s river walks. Other castles in the area include Thirlestane, Dalhousie, Hermitage and Tantallon. Bowhill House and Traquair House are also worth a visit.
The region has some fantastic ruined abbeys from the 12th century. Each was the home of a different monastic order. The Augustinians built Jedburgh Abbey, the Tironensian Order lived in Kelso Abbey, and Melrose Abbey was home to the Cistercians. You’ll learn a lot about medieval history by visiting them.
If medieval history is not your thing, why not plan a Sir Walter Scott themed day. Start by visiting his former home ‘Abbotsford House’. It’s open to the public and is a great place to learn more about the great man. Afterwards, have a picnic at ‘Scotts View’, a viewing station he often went to when he needed inspiration for his poems. End the day by visiting his resting place at Dryburgh Abbey. You might also like to visit ‘Mary Queen of Scots House’ in Jedburgh. It has a visitor centre where you can learn all about Mary’s life.
The most common outdoor activities here are leisurely in nature. There are a great number of golf courses, including Roxburghe, Cardrona and Eyemouth. Fishing is very popular, with people coming from all over the world to fish for salmon in the river Tweed. Afterwards, pop to one of the many equestrian centres in the area to try your hand at horse riding.
There are a number of great walking trails, including St Cuthbert’s Way and the Southern Upland Way. These can be arduous in places, so make sure you prepare beforehand. For a more leisurely walk, try the National Nature Reserve at St Abbs Head. This is a great spot for birdwatchers due to the many seabirds there.