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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold Award

Borders & South

The serene rolling landscape and peaceful ambience of the Borders belies its turbulent past.

The first stopping-off place for marauding English in centuries past, The Borders bore the brunt of numerous bloody battles and raids. Now visitors come in peace and are delighted to discover this region of undulating hills, picturesque rivers and traditional market towns. Flowing some 90 miles through the region, the River Tweed is one of Scotland’s great rivers. Famous the world over for salmon and trout fishing, anglers have been flocking to its banks since the 17th century. This is great walking, cycling and driving country wherever you choose to wander. The Borders Railway – Scotland’s newest scenic rail track – was opened in 2015 by HRH The Queen. Re-connecting this region to the capital, Edinburgh, the track follows the original Waverley route almost 50 years after it was closed.

Top Tips for your Borders and South Holiday

Visit Jedburgh Abbey. Founded in 1138, the Abbey stands high on the banks of Jed Water and was often targeted by invaders.

Once owned by the kings of Scotland, Traquair House is the oldest continually inhabited house in the country. There's a brewery in the stables, too!

The Jim Clark Museum in the pretty town of Duns pays homage to local boy Clark’s distinguished motor racing career, from amateur to F1 world champion.

Savour some rich Cream o' Galloway ice cream at its home near Gatehouse of Fleet.

Explore the attractive harbour town of Kircudbright, famous for its myriad art and craft shops.

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Things To See & Do

Abbotsford House offers an ideal introduction to the life of the area’s most famous son, Sir Walter Scott. This splendid house, formal gardens and visitor centre contain a treasure trove of intriguing objects and unusual artefacts which inspired Scott’s greatest poems and novels. Conveying a sense of drama and romance, Melrose Abbey is a magnificent ruin. The graceful architecture is also, apparently, the burial place of Robert the Bruce’s embalmed heart, and is marked with a commemorative stone plaque.

For a more up-to-date insight visit the Borders Textile Towerhouse in Hawick. The textile industry is long-established here producing tartan, tweed, wool and cashmere which grace some of the world’s finest fashion houses. In fact, the whole area is well-known for exceptional artisan design and craft businesses including jewellers, furniture-makers and contemporary sculptors.

Further afield, put your walking boots on for a day out at St Mary’s Loch, the largest natural loch in the region and a great place for hillwalkers and botanists. You’ll also find a rich collection of some of southern Scotland’s rarest upland plants. Look out, too, for Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall which cascades from Loch Skeen into the Moffat Water Valley from a rocky precipice 60m above.

Head further west to Dumfries and Galloway, with pretty market towns and some spectacular scenery – the Dalveen Pass is reminiscent of a mini Glencoe, while the coast around the Mull of Galloway includes Scotland’s most southerly point and is one of Britain’s best kept secrets – especially if you are looking for peace and tranquillity.