Melrose Abbey is a magnificent ruin on a grand scale with lavishly decorated masonry.
Due to access restrictions in place as a precautionary measure while we undertake high level masonry inspections, there is currently no visitor access to the abbey. Find out more about our conservation work.
The abbey grounds, cloister and museum are open.
Probably the most famous ruin in Scotland, the abbey was founded by David I in 1136 for the Cistercian Order, and it was largely destroyed by Richard II's English army in 1385. The surviving remains of the church are of the early 15th century, and are of an elegance unsurpassed in Scotland. Objects found during excavation are displayed in the Commendator's House.
The exterior of this magnificent ruin is decorated by unusual sculptures, including hobgoblins, cooks with ladles and a bagpipe playing pig.
The abbey is also thought to be the burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart, marked with a commemorative carved stone plaque within the grounds.
An alternative route around the abbey avoids steps. The church, cloister and museum grounds are suitable for visitors using wheelchairs or those with limited mobility. Audio tour tapes are available, including a version for visitors with learning difficulties.
Very occasionally the property has to close at short notice due to adverse weather conditions or other reasons out with our control. Please check the Historic Scotland closures page for any unexpected site closures https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/check-for-closures/. You can also follow closure tweets from @welovehistory using #hsclosure. Alternatively please call the site before setting off to check they are open.