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BORDERS EXPLORER

Welcome to the Scottish Borders.

With sensational scenery, wildlife and a rich history, it's a family-friendly getaway and a haven for walkers and cyclists. It's where Scotland meets England and visitors enjoy the best of both worlds.

The Borders are accessible too, just an hour south of Edinburgh airport and only a couple of hours north of Newcastle.

Tree top adventures, zip wires, grass sledging, wildlife safaris, climbing walls, safe off-road cycling, wild swimming, pony trekking: there's a lot going on for young visitors to the Scottish Borders.

Don't miss the annual haggis hunt: the elusive creatures are said to run wild in the local hills.

Otters

Visit the largest dark sky park in Europe and marvel at the full glory of the night skies. Fly birds of prey. Take a boat trip. Spend the day at Edinburgh zoo. Try your hand at fishing on the River Tweed.

Looking for something more energetic? Head out into the hills for a day's walking. Or test your skill - and nerves - on some of the world-class mountain biking trails on the doorstep. 

Kielder observatory

For more than 300 years during the Middle Ages, the Borders were a lawless place, at the mercy of ferocious clans of raiders known as the Border Reivers.

They rampaged back and forth across the border, killing, burning and stealing.

Today's visitors can learn more about life during those precarious times by visiting the fortified peel towers that sprang up across the region. Several museums also shed light on life during the time of the Reivers.

Jedburgh abbey

Take a look around some of the dramatic inhabited castles, visit a mediaeval jail, watch a reenactment of a trial at Sir Walter Scott's old courtroom or take a ride on a steam train on the Borders railway. 

Head north to Edinburgh - just an hour by road and rail - to see the castle, the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, the National Museum of Scotland and children's favourite Dynamic Earth. 

Or head south to see some of the best preserved parts of Hadrian's Wall. 

Smailholm Tower

The Scottish Borders is home to golden eagles - recently boosted by a reintroduction programme - along with ospreys, hen harriers, red squirrels, deer and otters. Several osprey watching centres offer virtually guaranteed sightings during the season, with cameras trained on regular nests.

Or head for the coast to see dolphins, seals, puffins and the occasional Minke whale.

Puffins
Owl
The Haining

The Scottish Borders offers some of the finest walking in Scotland over hills, though forests and along loch side paths and riverbanks.  

Several walks set out from the doorstep of The Five Turrets and head out into the local countryside. 

Venture a little further to tackle the Eildon Hills, the Cheviots and the Moffat Hills or tackle the highest peak in the region, the 2,756 ft high Broad Law. 

The Scottish Borders are a haven for road cyclists and mountain bikers alike. Download our Cycling Selkirk guide to the 10 best routes at the heart of the Borders.

The mountain bike trails are righty regarded as some of the best in the world and three of the famous 7 Stanes centres are within easy striking distance: Glentress, Innerleithen and Newcastleton.

Influencers and other Instagrammers will love the opportunities for fantastic shots provided by the Scottish Borders. The dramatic but accessible scenery makes a perfect backdrop to ensure your followers know you are in Scotland.

And don't forget the sheep. The sheep of Instagram are a thing: 3.5 million #sheep Instagram say so.

Sheep

The Scottish Borders is fertile ground for anyone with an interest in history, with Neolithic and Bronze Age burials, Iron Age forts, a rich Roman past, the Reivers and centuries of warfare between England and Scotland. 

William Wallace was appointed Guardian of Scotland in the Kirk o' the Forest in Selkirk - as depicted in the film Braveheart - and visitors to the town can still see the courtroom where the great Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott sat as sheriff.

We've teamed up with some of the best local businesses to provide guests with a range of exciting personalised packages.

Book a personal chef to cook for your group; arrange a gin tasting session in the property; get picked up from the doorstep for a personalised guided tour; learn archery in the garden or get in shape for the next Bake Off with a cake decorating lesson.

We're adding more partners all the time.

Join a yoga class, take part in a retreat or visit the Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery and Centre for World Peace and Health. 

Top quality local ingredients make the Scottish Borders a popular destination for foodies, with several restaurants making a focus of locally sourced seasonal ingredients. 

Look out for the locally-smoked Ettrick Valley salmon and handmade artisan cheeses.  

And don't miss out on the spirits coming out of the new Borders distilleries: Selkirk Distillers sell an unmissable gin based on the famous Selkirk Bannock fruit cake.

Independent book shops, traditional greengrocers, family butchers and plenty of places to pick up high quality textiles help keep the high streets of the Borders alive.

When it comes to handicrafts, the Borders is probably best know for its textiles and there are plenty of places to pick up high quality weaving. Combine a mill tour with a shopping expedition in Selkirk or Hawick.

Art thrives in the Scottish Borders, with the Selkirk WASPS studios particularly productive: meet the likes of Rob Hain and Moy Mackay at their exhibition days. 

There's no shortage of live music and the Selkirk String Jam Club continues to punch above its weight, with a regular programme featuring national and international artists. 

The Scottish Borders has some of the finest fly fishing in Scotland, with salmon, sea trout, trout and grayling.

The world-famous River Tweed gets most of the attention, but don't ignore the River Teviot, the Ettrick Water and the Yarrow Water, plus the loch and reservoir fishing.

Salmon, Philiphaugh cauld

From local golf clubs to Championship courses, the Scottish Borders has something for golfers of all abilities.

The Roxburghe and Cardrona courses are the best known but the local courses are all worth a visit.

 

We don't have a decent golf picture of our own. So here's a Birdie instead...

Tour guides, drivers, beauticians, hairdressers: it's the details that can make all the difference. Let us know if you want to be listed and we'll take a look at what you have to offer. 

Borders Explorer Google Maps.png

Click on the map to explore the best of the Borders in the Google Maps app on mobile devices.