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Jedburgh Town Centre © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Ancestry

Things To Do In The Scottish Borders Itinerary

Our big cities may have their fair share of exciting attractions, but did you know our regions have lots of hidden gems to discover too? When it comes to your next holiday, slow and steady could win the race. Let us introduce you to the Scottish Borders. From its rolling hills, adrenaline-fuelled mountain biking trails, distilleries and historic castles and abbeys, there's so many reasons why the Scottish Borders is the perfect holiday destination.

To help you make the most out of your time here, we're taking things slowly with our 4-day itinerary as you take in its wonderful sights dotted across the region, so you don't miss out on anything special. Enjoy!

Transport

Car Cycle

Days

4

Miles

87

Route

Starting in Peebles, the route follows many great visitor experiences across South Scotland travelling through Innerleithen, Duns and Melrose. The final stages of the itinerary take you around the wonders of Kelso, Jedburgh and Hawick.

Highlights

Beautiful botanic gardens, cycling, stunning walking routes, historic museums and abbeys, a chocolate making workshop at Cocoa Black and a distillery tour of The Borders Distillery.

Areas Covered

Scottish Borders

Day 1

overview

Peebles

We're off to kickstart our slow adventure in the pretty town of Peebles. Situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders and just a 45-minute drive from Edinburgh, get ready to invest your time in the town's wonderful array of attractions. Reinvigorate your senses by heading out into the fresh air, you'll find lots of walking routes with different lengths. Why not round off your day with a special treat by paying a visit to Cocoa Black for pure chocolate indulgence?
  • Miles

    8.1

  • Km

    13

  • Stops

    2

  • Transport

    Car

Peebles High Street © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Dawyck Botanic Garden

Retreat away from the crowds and enter the peaceful oasis that is Dawyck Botanic Garden. Home to a stunning collection of trees and shrubs, you'll be impressed by its vibrant bursts of colour all year round. When spring has sprung see swathes of snowdrops or immerse yourself in autumn colours, with hues of mustard yellows, glowing oranges, and vibrant reds to help you celebrate this picturesque season.

After exploring the garden, you'll have no doubt worked up an appetite. Stop off and soak in the views at the café. You'll find lots of tasty dishes to choose from and with their Taste Our Best accreditation, you can never go wrong on quality here.

Did you know? Dawyck Botanic Garden is just one of the many attractions that can be found along the John Buchan Way. This 13-mile route which starts in Peebles and finishes in Broughton boasts stunning scenery and a wide variety of attractions. Highlights include Caidemuir Hill, Stobo Kirk, John Buchan Centre and Neidpath Castle.

If you're willing to explore more of Peebles on foot, check out these other fantastic walking routes.

Cocoa Black

If you're looking to sweeten up your day, we've got just the treat for you! Head to Cocoa Black and live your dreams of becoming a master chocolatier. Put on your apron and head into the kitchen where you'll be taught how to make delicious desserts from afternoon teacakes, pastries, and even vegan chocolates. At the end of your class, you'll be able to take home your wonderful creations to try out. Mmmm!

Day 2

overview

Innerleithen and Duns

You've taken walking in your stride but now it's time to enjoy the thrill of mountain biking. With four downhill trails to choose from, Innerleithen is an outdoor haven for every cyclist. In the afternoon, brush up on your Scottish history with a visit to Traquair House, the most prominent Jacobite house in South Scotland. If motorsport gets your heart racing, take a trip down memory lane at the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum where you will learn more about one of the greatest racing drivers of all time.
  • Miles

    38

  • Km

    61

  • Stops

    3

  • Transport

    Car Cycle

Racing Car at The Jim Clark Room, Duns, Scottish Borders © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

Mountain biking at Innerleithen 7Stanes

Fancy an adrenaline rush this morning? Explore the Borders' natural beauty on two wheels with Innerleithen 7Stanes. Located at Innerleithen Forest, this is a prime location for downhill riders and offers four main tracks to hone your skills. If you really want to test your mountain bike out, take on the challenging red-graded Innerleithen XC trail. This thrilling single-track route is complete with lots of jumps and drop offs for a challenging but fun ride.

It's not just mountain biking that Innerleithen is renowned for. Cool down and take a leisurely stroll through the forest with lots of walking trails to choose from or take in the beautiful scenery while on horseback.

Traquair House

It's fair to say that Scotland has a few tales to share from its historic past. Extend your stay in Innerleithen by visiting Traquair House. Once a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland, discover more about its turbulent history from Catholic priests seeking refuge in times of danger to the involvement of the Stuarts of Traquair during the Jacobite era.

Today, Traquair House helps visitors relive its past through its range of collections of embroideries, letters and much more. There is even a working brewery where it is believed that Mary Queen of Scots enjoyed a tipple or two. Stock up on a few ales or bring back home a souvenir for friends and family.

Jim Clark Motorsport Museum, Duns

You don't need to live life in the fast lane to enjoy this wonderful attraction. Discover the incredible legacy of racing driver, Jim Clark. From his humble beginnings working as a farmer in the Scottish Borders to becoming the most decorated Formula One driver of all time, take a trip down memory lane to look back on his remarkable career. Watch short films of him competing in races, browse through his impressive trophy cabinet and view two of his winning race cars, the Lotus Cortina and the Lotus 25.

Day 3

overview

Melrose

Traquair House was just a taster of the Borders' rich history but we've got even more for you to uncover at Melrose Abbey and Abbotsford House. Once you've had your history fix, it's off for a delicious bite to eat at the Hoebridge before you escape and enjoy the peace and quiet of Harmony Garden.
  • Miles

    8.7

  • Km

    14

  • Stops

    4

  • Transport

    Car

Melrose Abbey

We're very lucky to share with you wonderful stories of Scotland's historic past, and Melrose Abbey is no exception. Originally founded by David I in 1136 for the Cistercian Order, the abbey is believed to be the final resting place of Robert the Bruce's heart. Although largely destroyed by Richard II's English army in 1385, you can take an audio tour around the site and see its striking architectural details up close. A few significant features to spot include hobgoblins, cooks with ladles and even a bagpipe playing pig. The question is, can you find them all?

Why visit one Borders abbey when you can visit another three, you're on holiday after all! Discover the magnificent ruined abbeys of Dryburgh, Jedburgh and Kelso along The Borders Abbeys Way. This 103 km walk takes you on a colourful journey through history dating back to the 12th century. Admire the picturesque scenery as you stop off to explore the pretty towns and villages or if you're looking to catch a bite, head to the River Tweed and River Teviot for a bit of morning fishing.

Abbotsford House, Melrose

Scotland has produced many great literary figures throughout the years, from Robert Burns to Val McDermid. No matter what your favourite genre is, there is lots of Scottish literature waiting to be added to your reading list. Today we're here to shine a spotlight on another of the country's finest writers, Sir Walter Scott.

Helping to capture the imaginations from readers around the world, step inside his home and see where it all began! You'll stumble across shelves upon shelves of books in his personal study, a grand library and lots of artefacts on display relating back to some of his most famous works. Outside, adults can enjoy the peaceful setting of the Regency Walled Gardens while the fun awaits at the Play Trail for younger visitors, complete with a wooden fortress and seven-metre tunnel slide.

2021 celebrates 250 years since the birth of Sir Walter Scott and Abbotsford are gearing up to celebrate in true birthday style. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events due to take place throughout Scotland's Year of Stories in 2022.

Have dinner at The Hoebridge

It's not just all about the history in the Borders, the food is a huge part of the experience too. If you're planning a holiday to South Scotland, be sure to make a reservation at The Hoebridge. Serving happy customers since 2015, this family-run restaurant uses the freshest of ingredients from local suppliers to create mouth-watering dishes. Choose from a selection of small or large plates to tantalise your tastebuds. Roast chicken croquette, chargrilled shaws Borders ribeye steak and grilled sea bass are just some of the foodie favourites that make a regular appearance on the menu.

Harmony Garden, Melrose

We have another opportunity for you to visit a beautiful garden on this trip. Enjoy a slice of paradise at Harmony Garden where you will wander around freshly cut lawns and view spectacular displays of flowerbeds full of vibrant colour. Make sure you have your camera at the ready, the garden is a great location to admire the ruins of Melrose Abbey and the Eildon Hills from a distance.

Fancy staying that wee bit longer? The garden also offers self-catering accommodation, perfect if you're looking to rest your head for the night.

Day 4

overview

Kelso, Jedburgh and Hawick

It's our last day in the Scottish Borders but before you go home, we still have a few suggestions left. Start off the day with another history lesson at Floors Castle or try something new by going grass sledging at Born in the Borders.

Of course, a trip to Scotland wouldn't be complete without trying its national drink. A wee dram of whisky at The Borders Distillery is bound to keep your spirits high. Sláinte!

  • Miles

    32

  • Km

    51

  • Stops

    3

  • Transport

    Car

Floors Castle, Kelso

Impressively grand and very much still intact, Scotland's largest inhabited castle is impressive even without its 5-star status. Built in 1721 by architect William Adam, it has been a family home to the Innes-Ker family for over 300 years.

With so much to see and do, one day may not be enough to view its vast collection of fine art, porcelain and tapestries, extensive gardens and woodlands walks, as well as its child-friendly adventure playground.

Born in the Borders, Jedburgh

Make food & drink a priority during your travels by exploring Scotland's culinary scene at Born in the Borders. The region prides itself on showcasing local produce and you'll find everything under the sun when it comes to foodie delights. Enjoy alfresco dining at the Pizza Garden or a spot of afternoon tea at the café. You can also try some classic Scottish dishes including cock-a-leekie soup and smoked salmon or if it's a burger you're craving, we highly recommend ordering the Buckfast Burger. To wash it all down, take a tour around the brewery and quench your thirst at the end with a refreshing pint. If you simply can't get enough of Scotland's food & drink, make sure to pop into the shop where you'll find craft gin, Tunnocks tea cakes and much more to take away in your suitcase.

Anyone for grass sledging? Yes, you read that right! This unique but fun activity is the latest craze currently sweeping the Borders. Grab your helmet and sledge as you uncontrollably zip down grassy slopes. The attraction is also a haven for osprey watching so be sure to bring your binoculars to see these magnificent birds of prey in action.

The Borders Distillery, Hawick

We're nearing towards the end of our trip and to make it extra special, we're off to The Borders Distillery for our final hurrah. Having opened in 2018, it is the first Scotch Whisky distillery to open in the region since 1837, offering visitors the chance to learn more about Scotland's national drink. Take a distillery tour and you'll uncover the secrets behind the distilling process of its Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Kerr's Gin and Puffing Billy Steam Vodka before finishing off with a wee dram at the distillery bar. Don't worry if you're the designated driver, you'll be able to take home a few samples to try in the comfort of your own home.