The Borders is the name given to the Scottish side of
the border between Scotland and England.
For travelers touring by car this area is often their initial contact with Scotland.
Gently rolling hills, storybook vales, and smooth flowing rivers grace
the landscape of the Borders with beauty and combine to convey a feeling of serenity.
The Borders region,
the southeast of Scotland, can offer a pleasant diversion during a
visit to Edinburgh. The area's main towns are an easy drive
from Edinburgh and most feature interesting, historical ruins,
attractive shops and a number of quality restaurants.
The Borders region is known as
the "short weekend" capital of Scotland. It is easily
accessible (especially from Edinburgh), compact and filled with
diverse attractions. Few of the attractions are earthshaking
or take long to see,
but they are interesting and the time passes too quickly when
you wander the Borders.
The Borders area was once the textile capital
of Scotland and you will still find sweaters, tweeds and other cloth
goods in abundance. Many of the
villages now have economies dependent on the tourist trade, but seem
to have done so in a manner that it not excessively commercial or
even "out of place".
There is a lot of history to be
discovered in this region, but doing so takes some looking and a
little research before you arrive. If not, you will stumble
over a number of historically important spots anyway, none of them
earth-shattering, but all are interesting, and most involving a
historical name that will be familiar to you.
Golfing, fishing (the Tweed
River), walking, hiking and cycling are highlights of the outdoor activities
in this intriguing area of Scotland.
Located on the Tweed River, Melrose is known for the
finest of the four great abbeys built during the reign of David I, who
is regarded by many as the first king of a unified Scotland. The
abbeys were attacked many times and subsequently rebuilt.
During the sixteenth century, all four abbeys
were destroyed by the English. After this last sacking of the abbeys,
the Scots decided not to rebuild them. Today, the hulking ruins of
these former house of prayer add a dramatic flavor to the countryside in the Borders.
The ruins of the Abbey at Melrose are
striking. The construction used a reddish
sandstone that adds a stunning depth to the ruins of the building. Legend has it that
a reliquary in
Melrose Abbey contained the heart of Robert the Bruce, who was
instrumental in rebuilding the abbey after an attack in the 14th
Just down the road from Melrose are the ruins of Dryburgh
Abbey (in St. Boswells), another of the four great abbeys that were
constructed in the 12th century and destroyed by the British during
the 16th century. While little remains of this abbey, its cloisters
have been preserved and its church contains the grave of Sir Walter
If you are a fan of Sir Walter
Scott, his mansion, Abbotsford, is near Melrose and is a
delightful place to visit, especially if you are familiar with his
writing. For information about visiting
Abbotsford, see this
In addition, Scott's View, on B6356
near Bemersyde, is an overlook that provides what is claimed to
be Sir Walter Scott's
favorite view of the Scottish countryside.
town of Jedburgh sits alongside the Jed River. Jedburgh is known for the Jedburgh Abbey,
whose interesting Visitor Center details the lives of monks at the
time the abbey was flourishing. The town also contains a Mary
Queen of Scots Visitor Center that is located in a house where Mary lived for a short
Jedburgh Abbey is an impressive
building, even though only ruins remain. Although the glass is
missing, one of the walls contains the support structure for what
must have been an impressive rose window that is known as St.
Catherine's Wheel. The ruins of the Abbey include a three-story
section that is quite impressive.
Kelso is the village that Sir Walter Scott declared the loveliest in
Scotland and it has a different feel than many of the other towns in the
Borders. Kelso's Abbey was the largest of the four great abbeys in the
Borders, but little remains of its grandeur.
In addition, see Floors Castle
(one mile north of Kelso) overlooking the River Tweed. See
this site for information on the castle and information about
Finally, visit the Mellerstain House (by
William Adam) located on the edge of Kelso. It is
considered by many to be one of Scotland's most attractive Georgian homes.
The exterior and interior of the house are well worth seeing, as are
the 200 acres of grounds. For visitor information, follow this
the home of the Selkirk Glass and its noted paperweight artists. In
addition, Selkirk is located near some extraordinarily scenic areas.
For more information, visit this
If you plan to visit this
attractive section of Scotland, visit the
official website for the Borders.
If you need information about another travel destination, try
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.