Areas in the Scottish Borders

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VisitScotland The Scottish Borders Guide
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  • Abbotsford House
    Abbotsford House
  • Cyclists in the grounds of Floors Castle
    Cyclists in the grounds of Floors Castle
  • The Braw Lad crossing the water at the Galashiels Braw Lad’s Gathering
    The Braw Lad crossing the water at the Galashiels Braw Lad’s Gathering
  • Looking towards Hawick, the Scottish Borders
    Hawick, the Scottish Borders
  • Yachts on St Mary's Loch
    Yachts on St Mary's Loch

Covering an area of approximately 1,800 sq miles, the landscape of the Scottish Borders is characterised by green rolling hills and moorland in the west, the gently sweeping valleys and rich agricultural plains of the east, and the picturesque Berwickshire coast with its rocky cliffs and secluded beaches. From walking and mountain biking to golfing and fishing, enjoy a range of outdoor pursuits and explore the region’s inspiring countryside and charming towns and villages.

River Tweed and the Tweed Valley

Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but closer than you think - the River Tweed and the Tweed Valley are less than an hour by car from Edinburgh.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be in heaven with the fantastic array of activities on offer. Explore Glentress & Innerleithen, one of the 7stanes mountain biking centres in the region, and discover mile upon mile of natural trails criss-crossing the Tweed Valley to suit walkers of every age and ability. Internationally recognised for offering some of the best mountain biking in Scotland, the area also boasts biking facilities that rival those found in Northern America and Europe.

Keen anglers won’t be disappointed either. Regarded as 'the queen of salmon rivers’, the River Tweed catches more Atlantic salmon than any other river in Britain. Extending from Berwick-upon-Tweed in the east to Galashiels in the west, it flows past many interesting sites, including Scott’s View and the home of Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford, as well as three of the region's four ancient abbeys in Dryburgh, Kelso and Melrose.

Berwickshire coast

If you’re looking for a place to walk, head to the beautiful Berwickshire coast and explore its charming natural harbours, secluded beaches and coves.

Taking in quaint towns and villages, the Berwickshire coastline offers great outdoor activities and magnificent birdlife set against high cliffs and deep, clear waters.

The popular and attractive Berwickshire Coastal Path runs from the fishing villages of St Abbs along the clifftops and beaches before reaching Eyemouth, and excellent views can be had from the many paths that run along the surrounding coastline.

Discover St Abbs, a magnet for holidaymakers, walkers and divers, and uncover rocky reefs at the world-class diving spot of St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve. Home to an astonishing array of marine flora and fauna, grey seals are regular sights and if you’re lucky, you may even spot dolphins and whales.

Situated within the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, Coldingham Sands is a popular surfing destination. Put your wetsuit on and surf the waves at Coldingham Bay, or why not head north to the sheer cliffs at the National Nature Reserve of St Abbs Head? Admire the dramatic views of the Berwickshire coastline and watch thousands of cliff nesting birds constantly hovering between the narrow inlets.

With a fishing history dating back to the 13th century, foodies should not miss the historic port of Eyemouth where local restaurants and pubs serve freshly caught seafood, including succulent salmon, trout, crab and more. Golfers will be pleased to hear that the 6th hole at Eyemouth Golf Club was once voted Britain’s most extraordinary golf hole, while anglers can experience some excellent sea angling in the area.

Kelso, Melrose, Jedburgh and St Boswells

Once described by Sir Walter Scott as the ‘prettiest, if not the most romantic town in Scotland’, the picturesque town of Kelso is full of architectural and historic interest.

Discover the ruined abbey and the towers of Smailholm and Greenknowe which bring to life its fascinating past, and don’t miss the nearby Floors Castle, the largest inhabited castle in Scotland. See inside its splendid interior with a wonderful collection of artworks and furniture on display.

The charming Melrose has it all. Explore the triple peaks of the Eildon Hills, the most distinctive single landmark in the Scottish Borders, admire the unusual carvings that decorate the walls of Melrose Abbey, including hobgoblins and even a bagpipe playing pig, or why not take a walk to the ancient apple orchard in Priorwood Gardens?

If you’re a fan of rugby, you definitely don’t want to miss the Melrose Sevens. This brilliant rugby sevens event, held annually in April, originated in Melrose at the end of the 19th century and now has a worldwide following.

To follow in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Mary Queen of Scots, visit the picturesque market town of Jedburgh, a Royal and Ancient Burgh steeped in history. Experience the imposing majesty of the 12th century Jedburgh Abbey, or choose from an array of tartan apparel and souvenirs in over 250 weaves at Clan Tartan Centre at Jedburgh Woollen Mill.

Keen walkers can make St Boswells their base if following the Borders Abbey Way which passes by the village. Pay tribute to Sir Walter Scott at his final resting place among the beautiful ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, and if books are your thing, browse thousands of titles at the delightful Main Street Trading Company bookshop.

Peebles, Galashiels, Selkirk and Hawick

Nestled in the heart of the region, Galashiels is steeped in history. This once important textile producing centre not only boasts handsome 19th century architecture, but is also well-known for its beautifully made cashmere knitwear.

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the area on two wheels by following the breathtaking Tweed Cycle Way, or on a walk along the Southern Upland Way. No foodie should leave the town before sampling a regional delicacy known as Galashiels Soor Plooms, sour tasting boiled sweets.

The genteel and handsome Peebles is a peaceful town of outstanding natural beauty. Situated only 23 miles south of Edinburgh, it sits on the bank of the River Tweed offering plenty of parkland with pleasant riverside walks, while the wide high street has an attractive mix of Victorian architecture.

Indulge in some excellent arts and craft shopping in the town, once named the Top Independent Retailing Town in Scotland, soak up the area’s fascinating art and history at the Tweeddale Museum and Gallery, or go fishing on the River Tweed, one of the top salmon rivers in the world.

In Selkirk you can admire the stunning vistas along the banks of St Mary’s Loch, southern Scotland’s largest body of water and a popular watersports destination. Did you know that Sir Walter Scott and fellow writer James  Hogg would meet at Tibbie Shiels Inn on the loch’s shore where they would discuss local folklore?

While visiting the town, don’t miss browsing the bustling farmers’ markets where you can buy directly from the producers, and sample the Selkirk Bannock, a wonderfully fruity bread which is said to have been a great favourite of Queen Victoria.

To learn about the region’s proud textile heritage head to Hawick where the Borders Textile Towerhouse reveals how the world’s leading designers, including Chanel and Dior, have used the skills of the Scottish Borders’ workers.

Hawick also boasts a state-of-the-art Heritage Hub where you can trace your family tree and uncover your ancestral connections with the region, and for everyone with a sweet tooth, there is the chance to try another of the region's sugary delights, Hawick Balls, boiled peppermint flavoured sweets.

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