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Scottish Border Towns – Things to do

The Scottish Borders has many towns each with their own history & character. We’ve only included a small selection here, so make sure you check out the links in the  ‘More…’ tab to get the best from your stay.

Dumfries (nicknamed Queen of the South) was home of the famous poet & lyricist Robbie Burns for a few years until his death in 1796.


Here’s a few ideas of places to consider visiting to help you plan your day:


  • Robbie Burns: visit the Robert Burns Centre, Robert Burns House & Ellisland Farm to find out more about the life of the poet & lyricist.


  • Dumfries Museum: whilst discovering more about the areas history, don’t forget to climb to the top floor & look through Camera Obscura for amazing views of the town & countryside.


  • Savings Bank Museum: housed in the building of the first savings bank in the world, this small museum just outside Dumfries has examples of early home savings boxes & documentation detailing the history of savings bank.

The town of Gretna (now famous for runaway weddings) is a planned town built during the second world war to house 30,000 employees of the biggest munitions factory in the world.


Here’s a few ideas of places to consider visiting to help you plan your day:


  • Devils Porridge Museum: visit the museum telling the story of how this quiet area of hamlets & farms was transformed into a town housing the biggest munitions factory in the world.


  • Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop: view memorabilia from couples who fled England to wed across the border or touch the famous anvil before visiting the small complex of shops.


  • Gretna Gateway: for a spot of retail therapy head for this shopping outlet which includes many popular high street stores.

The largest of the border towns, Hawick is famous worldwide for its fine quality knitwear with evidence of it still in the town today.


Here’s a few ideas of places to consider visiting to help you plan your day:


  • Hawick Cashmere Of Scotland: why not treat yourself to a little piece of cashmere luxury when you visit, the factory has been producing cashmere garments here since 1874.


  • The Borders Textile Towerhouse: part of the Heart of Hawick arts & heritage centre, explore the history of the Borders textile industry including hands-on exhibitions.


  • Hawick Museum & Gallery: set in a Victorian park, this museum tells the story of Hawick & houses 3 galleries that house temporary exhibitions.

Jedburgh is a picturesque market town only 10 miles from the English Border with lovely views at Carter Bar.


Here’s a few ideas of places to consider visiting to help you plan your day:


  • Jedburgh Abbey: explore one of the most impressive abbeys in the area, founded as a priory in 1138 by King David I the abbey has seen turbulent times during its history.


  • Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum: discover what life was like in a 19th century prison in this only remaining example of a Howard Reform prison in Scotland.


  • Mary Queen of Scots House: rumoured to have stayed here whilst seriously ill, this museum dedicated to the life of Mary displays some of her belongings including jewellery & paintings.

Kelso is a market town established in 1128 by King David I with interesting architecture & a range of independent shops.


Here’s a few ideas of places to consider visiting to help you plan your day:


  • Floors Castle: admire the elegant interior, impressive art collection & charming gardens of this largest inhabited castle in Scotland.


  • The Teviot Smokery & Water Gardens: with a gift shop including smoked products, restaurant & terraced water gardens by the riverbank this is a lovely spot to spend a relaxing couple of hours.


  • Kelso Races: if you enjoy horse racing, Kelso holds regular meetings during the National Hunt season.

Melrose is a pretty ancient town located on the south side of the River Tweed & home to the first Rugby Sevens tournament in 1883.


Here’s a few ideas of places to consider visiting to help you plan your day:


  • Melrose Abbey: overlooking Priorwood Gardens, the abbey is an impressive ruin on a grand scale.


  • Priorwood Gardens: with the abbey as a backdrop, you can explore the 3 areas of the walled gardens & discover historic varieties of apples being grown in the orchard.


  • Abbotsford The Home Of Sir Walter Scott: just outside Melrose you can have a day out at this historic house & see how Sir Walter Scott was inspired to write some of his best poems & novels.

Links to websites giving you more ideas on things to see & do in the area:

Scottish Borders

Dumfries & Galloway