The Scottish Borders

The Borders Railway opens up Scotland’s south-east corner, helping you discover its rich history and serene landscapes.

Rolling hills, open moorland and gentle valleys signal that you’ve reached Sir Walter Scott country, as you travel on the longest stretch of new passenger rail track to be built in the UK in over 100 years. Your destination is Tweedbank, a large village between Galashields and Melrose, and the most southerly stop on the Borders Railway.

But taking a trip into the Scottish Borders isn’t just about the scenery. There are plenty of stops you can make along the 30-mile route, with things to do and see for children and grown-ups. You can take in the 19th century Baronial grandeur of Abbotsford house, home to Sir Walter Scott. If you prefer something a little more energetic, why not test your mettle on the 4 Abbeys cycle route, which takes in 55 miles of glorious Borders countryside.

Round off the trip by sampling some of the region’s outstanding local produce, washed down with a distinctive ale or craft beer from a Borders brewery.

Getting to and from Tweedbank by train

Discover the Scottish Borders with ScotRail

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One or two days in the Scottish Borders

Your Borders adventure begins at Edinburgh’s Waverley station with trains departing every 30 minutes during peak times.

Make your first stop at Eskbank where you can catch the bus to Roslin for the Rosslyn Chapel. It’s a must visit for fans of The Da Vinci Code. Even if you’re not, you won’t fail to be impressed by the chapel’s unique architecture and rich history.

Or get off at Newtongrange for the bus to Edinburgh Butterfly World. Younger children will love the daily events – if they’re brave enough to hold a tarantula, snake or giant millipede.

Take the railway to its most southerly stop at Tweedbank and you’ll find yourself in the heart of Borders country. Nearby Melrose is the home of rugby sevens, and the town takes on a carnival atmosphere in spring each year when the Melrose Sevens takes place.

A short bus ride south on the A7 will take you to historic Selkirk, where William Wallace was proclaimed Overlord of Scotland and Sir Walter Scott once served as Sheriff. The Selkirk Common Riding involves over 400 riders and is one of the oldest Border festivals, dating back to the Battle of Flodden in 1513.

You could get off the train one stop before Tweedbank at Galashiels, a boom town during the 19th century when the textile industry took off in the area. It’s a joining point for National Cycle Network Route 1 – west to Innerleithen and Peebles, or east to Melrose, Newton St Boswells or Kelso. Alternatively, join the 4 Abbeys cycle route and visit the Scottish Borders’ four famous abbeys: Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh.

Days out on the Borders Railway

Take the train to Eskbank station then hop on the bus for the short trip to Dalkeith Country Park. Give them some time to explore the magical turreted treehouses, suspension bridges, slides, climbing walls and secret tunnels before you all enjoy the seasonal, locally-sourced menu of the Restoration Café.

Start from Tweedbank and follow the 4 Abbeys cycle route to visit Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh Abbeys. All four were established in the 12th century and are steeped in the history of the area.

Abbotsford is less than two miles from Tweedbank station – you can catch the Borders Weaver bus at the station. Discover the house and extensive formal gardens and explore the 120-acre estate. Pop in to the award-winning visitor centre learn about the life and times of Sir Walter Scott and round off your visit with a spot of lunch or a picnic in the grounds.

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Bus and taxi connections

Want to make the most of your trip to the Borders? Local buses and taxis connect the Borders Railway with towns and attractions.

  • Border Weaver: Hop-on/hop-off bus route connecting Galashiels and Tweedbank stations with Abbotsford House and Melrose Abbey
  • Lothian buses: Services in and around the Scottish Borders including Eskbank to Roslin for the Rosslyn Chapel
  • Local taxis: Dalkeith Taxis - 0131 654 1212, Midlothian Taxi Hire Company - 0131 440 2985, Aerial ABW Cabs - 0131 663 2000

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