Galashiels, Scottish Borders
Places to Visit
As you explore the Scottish Borders, let the scenery make its impression on you, from rolling hills and open countryside in the west to the gentle valleys and picturesque Berwickshire coastline in the east. The region is defined as much by the landscape as it is by its spellbinding abbeys, awe-inspiring stately homes and castles. It's really no surprise that these lands inspired the works of literary greats like Sir Walter Scott and John Buchan.
There are plenty of thrills to be had for those who dare; adrenaline-pumping mountain biking, off-road quad biking, archery, surfing and treetop adventures - not to mention some of the very best cycling and walking opportunities you'll find in Scotland.
Keep the pace leisurely with a round of golf or cast your line as you try angling on the rivers. Whatever you choose to do, you'll find that the Scottish Borders is a most wonderful place to unwind and get away from it all.
Melrose : 4.5 miles away
The picturesque town of Melrose is located next to the Eildon Hills and is the birthplace of Rugby Sevens.
The triple peaks of the Eildon Hills are the most distinctive single landmark in the Scottish Borders. At their feet in the valley of the Tweed lies Melrose.
Ruined Melrose Abbey dates from 1136. A casket discovered believed to contain the heart of Robert the Bruce was marked by a re-burial ceremony and commemorative stone tablet.
The area around Melrose has been inhabited for thousands of years. The Roman army arrived in AD79 or 80 and built a major fort nearby named Trimontium, 'Place of the Three Hills'. A signal station or shrine was built on the summit of the Eildon Hill North. The Three Hills Roman Heritage Centre houses the Trimontium Museum which is dedicated to Roman life in Scotland.
Visitors of a green-fingered nature can visit one of the two National Trust for Scotland gardens in the area: Priorwood has an apple orchard which cultivates many historic varieties and Scotland’s only dedicated dried flower garden; Harmony Gardens is a beautiful walled garden with magnificent views over the abbey and Eildon Hills.
The town is also the home or rugby sevens and takes on a carnival atmosphere when the Melrose Sevens takes place in spring. The first tournament took place in 1883 and the event is now an action-packed international tournament, which regularly attracts teams from places such as New Zealand, South Africa, England, France and Portugal.
Kelso : 17 miles away
A picturesque country town, Kelso lies in a fine setting at the junction of the rivers Tweed and Teviot.
Kelso is full of architectural and historic interest. In 1128 David I granted monks permission to build an abbey across the water from his Roxburgh castle. Even in its fragmented state, this is a superb piece of architecture. To the west, a grassy mound, deep ditch and a few ruined walls are all that remain of the once mighty Roxburgh Castle. James II was killed during a siege here in 1460, by an exploding cannon.
The spacious Kelso Square claims to be the largest in Scotland. At its centre is still the Bull Ring, a reminder of past market days. The square is now host to many specialist shops. The graceful five-arched bridge over the Tweed, built by John Rennie in 1803, was the model for London's Waterloo Bridge.
Floors Castle, Scotland's largest inhabited house, stands in parkland overlooking the Tweed. It holds outstanding collections of paintings, furniture, porcelain and tapestry.
The lively programme of events in the town reflects the predominantly agricultural community, with the Border Union agricultural show, ram and horse sales, Kelso Races, point-to-point and the Scottish Championship dog show. Kelso Civic Week, held in summer, is the town's annual festival, adopting many of the features of the older Border Common Ridings.
Peebles : 18 miles away
You will soon discover that gorgeous little towns on the banks of the River Tweed are a common thing in the glorious Scottish Borders. Why not start with Peebles?
Only a short distance from Edinburgh, it is certainly no ordinary town with its spectacular scenery, shopping, cafés, events and outdoors activities to keep you entertained all year long. You wouldn't be the first to feel inspired by the artsy town, with many notable residents including John Buchan, the Scottish novelist, choosing to make their home here.
Jedburgh : 18 miles away
The historic royal burgh of Jedburgh is an attractive town 10 miles north of the border with England.
Up to the 17th century Jedburgh's position as a frontier town placed it in the midst of national battles and cross-border raids. The red sandstone abbey on the banks of the Jed Water was founded in 1138 by David I and was pillaged and rebuilt many times. Mary Queen of Scots stayed here in 1566, at a house which now tells the story of her tragic life.
History aside, take a riverside walk or browse the shops in the colourful renovated buildings in the Market Place and Canongate. Nearby, visitors will find the 16th century Ferniehirst Castle, seat of Clan Kerr, which is open to the public in July.
If you fancy exploring a little further afield, take a trip to the Ale Water Valley, which is located between the historic towns of Selkirk, Hawick and Jedburgh. You’ll find lots of outdoor activities to take part in, such as cycling, horse riding, golf and more, as well as plenty of charming pubs, cafés and restaurants, where you can enjoy a tasty bite to eat.
Edinburgh - 32 miles away
Scottish capital of Edinburgh is only one hour drive from Woodlands via a the beautiful and winding A7.
With an abundance of history, top quality attractions and beautiful architecture, Edinburgh is a city that you won't forget in a hurry. Explore the Medieval Old Town and the elegant Georgian New Town, which sit side by side, and visit unique attractions throughout the city on a holiday in Edinburgh.
Whether you're short of time and can only manage a day trip, planning a full-blown city break or are visiting Edinburgh as part of a wider holiday in Scotland, there's lots to fill your time, from unforgettable historic sites and world-class festivals to fantastic shopping and mouth-watering dining.
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Glasgow - 75 miles away
Glasgow is one of the most exciting cities you'll ever come across. A city break in Glasgow offers a lively, bustling place, distinctive and full of character, where you are bound to get a very warm welcome indeed.
This is a city with striking architecture, contemporary art spaces and fascinating museums, many of which are free. Glasgow city centre is one of the best shopping destinations in the UK, outside of London's West End, and when it comes to nightlife, Glasgow knows what it's doing. With a diverse culinary scene, abundance of pubs and bars as well as some of the UK's best music venues, this is the city for the night owls.
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St. Mary's Loch : 23 miles away
St Mary's Loch is situated 23 miles west of Woodlands house on the amazing A708 road between Selkirk and Moffat.
Enjoy a relaxing walk and explore the beautiful Yarrow Valley around the Border's largest natural loch. The loch is right at the historic hunting ground Ettrick Forest, a place where William Wallace would rally his allies to come together to raid the nearby English settlements. It is also a perfect setting for a day trip and take part in activities such as cycling, walking, sailing, watersports and fishing.
The area is well known for its natural beauty, picturesque views and history, a popular place for literary figures such as James Hogg and Sir Walter Scott.
You can also explore the ruins of the old Pele towers which were used to protect people against Border attacks, the Ettrick Valley statue where James Hogg is buried and also St Mary's Kirkyard, a historic location where William Wallace was named Guardian of Scotland.
Abbotsford House : 2.8 miles away
Abbotsford is the ancestral home of Sir Walter Scott, the 19th century novelist and poet of "Waverley", "Ivanhoe", and "Lady of the Lake".
Woodlands house was designed by the same architect as Abbotsford, which is the home of 19th century novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott, is one of the most famous houses in the world. Constructed on the ample proceeds of a literary career without parallel, it is an enduring monument to the tastes, talents and achievements of its creator, the ‘Great Scott’ who popularised tartan, saved the Scottish banknote and rediscovered his country’s Crown Jewels.
Wander through Scott’s study, where his books changed the world, marvel at his magnificent library with its richly carved ceiling, and admire his eclectic and world-class collection of arms, armour and curiosities, aided by a free audio tour.
Learn about Scott's life in the free exhibition, browse Abbotsford’s gift shop, enjoy seasonal food in Ochiltree’s café or simply relax in Scott’s beautiful Regency Walled Gardens and tranquil woodlands.
Regency Walled Gardens
Relax in Abbotsford’s Regency Walled Gardens designed by Sir Walter Scott with advice from artists, architects and friends. They provide a harmonious transition between the luxury and comfort of the interiors of the house with wonders of nature in the wider estate through a series of secluded, richly detailed and sheltered ‘rooms’.
Rosslyn Chapel : 30 miles away
Founded in 1446, as the Collegiate Church of St Matthew, Rosslyn Chapel today attracts visitors from far and wide, drawn by its unique and mysterious carvings and the beauty of its setting.
The chapel took some 40 years to build and its ornate stonework and mysterious symbolism have inspired - and intrigued – artists and visitors ever since. Today, there are countless theories, myths and legends associated with the Chapel, many of which are impossible to prove or disprove conclusively.
The Chapel, is open throughout the year (closing only on 24 and 25 December and 1 January). Advance booking is now necessary for a timed visit, with each timeslot lasting for an hour and a half.
Almost every surface of the Chapel boasts carved stonework, with many of the carvings telling Biblical stories, moral messages or celebrating nature.
The Chapel is in the village of Roslin, Midlothian, and is easily reached from Edinburgh or the Borders. There is free parking on site.
A new state-of-the-art visitor centre tells the Chapel’s story – from its 15th century origins, through the Reformation, to the Da Vinci Code – and has an attractive coffee shop and gift shop.
No photography is allowed in the Chapel as this can distract and inconvenience other visitors. There are no restrictions on outside photography for personal use.
Rosslyn Chapel is a working church and may occasionally be closed for weddings, funerals and other events.
Scott's View : 8.1 miles
The scenic view of Scott's View can be accessed by car from the B6404 on the road from St Boswells to Kelso and then turning off towards Dryburgh Abbey. It is said to be the best view in the Scottish borders.
You will be able to come to the viewpoint from Melrose and St Boswells to admire the stunning view of the River Tweed and Eildon Hills. The hills serve as a reminder of the volcanic activity that once took place in the area. The lookout was known to be one of Sir Walter Scott's favourite places to come and reflect.
The flat piece of land that lies within a loop in the river was once the site of the first Melrose Abbey, of which nothing remains today.