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Things to do in Scottish Borders

Our most recommended things to do in Scottish Borders

Rosslyn Chapel & Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

1. Rosslyn Chapel & Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

Discover the myths and legends surrounding the Holy Grail and Rosslyn Chapel on this small-group tour. You'll also visit the beautiful Borders village of Melrose with its historic abbey. Departing at 9:45 AM, your tour takes you south to the world-famous Scott’s View, with stunning views over the Tweed Valley and the Eildon Hills. You will also get the opportunity to visit the original Wallace Monument. From here you travel to Melrose, including the chance to explore its great Border Abbey, founded by the Cistercians in the 12th Century.  The Cistercian monks had very close connections with the Knights Templar and Melrose Abbey is the burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart, brought back from the crusades in Moorish Spain. Following lunch in Melrose, you will make your way to the stunning 15th-century Rosslyn Chapel, immortalized in Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code”. Here, you can find out more about the myths and legends surrounding the whereabouts of the “Holy Grail”. From Melrose, you will return to Edinburgh, arriving at approximately 4:15 PM.

Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

2. Hadrian's Wall & Roman Britain 1-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Travel south from Edinburgh on the old Roman Dere Street that linked the supply ports in the south of England with the ancient city of York. Then go north past Hadrian’s Wall to the Roman settlements in Central Scotland. Your first stop on this tour will be in the border town of Jedburgh, a historic burgh that lies only 12 miles north of the Scotland-England border. Here you have time to take a short walk through the narrow streets that lead to the remains of the Augustinian Abbey, which has been a great symbol of power during its 900 year history. Continuing south you make a brief stop at scenic Carter Bar on the edge of the Cheviot Hills. This crossing point between Scotland and England runs close to the ancient Roman road and has formed the border between the 2 countries for the past 700 years. The tour continues through the magnificent forests of Northumberland National Park before turning west towards the remains of Hadrian’s Wall. Follow the road taking you along the south side of the wall, stopping at Steel Rigg where you come face-to-face with large sections of the wall’s remains. Here, you can visit the Vindolanda Roman Army Museum and experience the life of a Roman soldier for yourself. Take time to walk along the wall and experience the isolation that Roman foot soldiers would have experienced as they guarded their empire from the barbarians to the north. You continue your journey west along the wall towards the village of Lanercost, the western gateway to Hadrian’s Wall. After pausing for lunch you travel a short distance to Birdoswald, one of the best preserved of the 16 Roman forts along the length of Hadrian’s Wall. Enjoy time to explore this fascinating site and further sections of the wall before you turn north for the return journey. Traveling through the Galloway hills, stop in the Victorian spa town of Moffat before continuing through the Southern Uplands and Scottish Borders, and returning to Edinburgh.

From Edinburgh: Day Trip to Bamburgh and Alnwick Castle

3. From Edinburgh: Day Trip to Bamburgh and Alnwick Castle

Brace yourselves, we’re heading south into enemy territory! Passing gentle rolling hills and dramatic coastline, we’ll cross the border with England to explore Bamburgh - the laid-back seaside village in the heart of Northumberland. Don’t get deceived by its sleepy looks – the village and the mighty Bamburgh Castle was the seat of the early Kings of Northumbria in the 5th century. Run down to the beautiful beach to get some fresh air, imagine Viking longboats approaching the coast for a raid and try to keep up with the area’s turbulent history recounted by your Guide. In the afternoon, have your broomsticks at the ready as we’re off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family for over 700 years. A long, rich history and magnificent medieval architecture makes it a film lovers’ dream as seen in Downton Abbey. After a magical afternoon in Alnwick, we’ll make our way back over the border and into Scotland where we will regale you with tales of the turbulent past before arriving into Edinburgh in the early evening.

Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian's Wall Small Group Day Tour

4. Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian's Wall Small Group Day Tour

Visit intriguing Rosslyn Chapel, explore the town of Melrose, journey to the Scottish Borders, and see Hadrian’s Wall on this full-day tour from Edinburgh. Rosslyn Chapel has always been mysterious, and has achieved worldwide fame since the publication of The Da Vinci Code. This beautiful and highly ornate 15th-century chapel has long been the subject of speculation about its origins and the meanings of its famous stone carvings. Visit the charming town of Melrose for lunch, then cross the ancient Scotland/England border at Carter Bar. Follow in the footsteps of feuding clans and families, known as Border Reivers, who fought a series of violent raids here until the end of the 16th century. Then visit one of the world's most important Roman monuments: Hadrian’s Wall. Travel to Housesteads Fort (National Trust) in Northumberland National Park, the best preserved Roman fort along Hadrian’s Wall. Enjoy a free nature walk along one of the most dramatic and photographed stretches of the wall. Upon returning to Edinburgh, stop in the Border market town of Jedburgh to stretch your legs and take photos of the famous abbey.

From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour

5. From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour

Explore the borderlands of Scotland and England during this full-day tour from Edinburgh. Stop at the charming town of Kelso, where you can explore this handsome town and what is thought to be Scotland’s largest market square. You also see the ruins of Kelso Abbey, a reminder of the many ancient conflicts between Scotland and England. Cross the border and travel to thousand-year-old Alnwick Castle, one of the great castles of Northumberland (gardens closed June 8, 2023). Originally built to protect the north of England from Scottish Border Reivers and invaders, Alnwick Castle and its manicured gardens have found fame as one of the settings for the Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter series. After around 3 hours at Alnwick, travel north along the stunning Northumberland Coast. On the way back to Edinburgh, stop at one of the beautiful historic villages or castles that pepper the rolling landscapes of Southern Scotland.

Edinburgh: Rosslyn Chapel, Borders & Glenkinchie Distillery

6. Edinburgh: Rosslyn Chapel, Borders & Glenkinchie Distillery

Travel through the Scottish Lowlands and Borders on an enjoyable day-tour. See the varied natural wonders that make this section of Scotland famous. See historic sites and sample real Scottish whisky as you travel with a friendly and knowledgeable guide! Your tour will head out from Edinburgh Castle to the lovely village of Roslin. There, you will have the opportunity to visit Rosslyn Chapel. Dating back to 1445, the chapel gained worldwide fame thanks to the increasing interest in Freemasonry and the Knights Templar. See the intricate “musical” boxes and green men carved throughout the chapel. Leave Roslin and continue your journey into the heart of the Scottish Borders in the eastern part of the Scottish Uplands. This area is rich in hills, valleys, rivers, and moorland, and is also the traditional home of Scottish rugby. Travel to the historic town of Melrose, the birthplace of the game of Rugby Sevens and home to of Melrose Abbey. The Abbey, founded in 1136, is one of the most beautiful religious ruins in the United Kingdom, containing many intricate carved sculptures. It is also said to be the burial place of the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce. Enjoy a tasty lunch in Melrose and have plenty of free time to explore the town and the abbey. Before heading back to Edinburgh you will have to option to explore the lowland distillery of Glenkinchie, now owned by Johnnie Walker. Join a tour to learn how whisky is made and taste some of their most popular single malt.

Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

7. Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

On this 9.5-hour excursion from Edinburgh you’ll visit the picturesque town of Coldsream and the inspiring Bamburgh Castle. But it’s Alnwick Castle that’s the main destination of the day. It’s been a key filming location for Harry Potter and Downton Abbey and is a historic location in its own right. You will leave Edinburgh in the morning and head east to the Scottish Borders. Enjoy the views of gently rolling hills and dramatic coastlines along the way.  The first stop is the beautiful coastal town of Bamburgh. Take a stroll to the stunning beach and view the picturesque 5th-century Bamburgh Castle sitting on a natural throne of volcanic dolerite. In the afternoon you’ll visit Alnwick Castle. Admire the large stately rooms and the stunning architecture or learn a little about all the popular films and TV shows filmed at the site, including Harry Potter. After spending time in Alnwick, you will return over the border and into Scotland. Entry to Alnwick Castle is optional and can be selected at time of booking. The final stop is Coldstream's border town, which lies on the north side of the River Tweed. Hear about the turbulent past of this charming town before your journey ends in Edinburgh in the early evening.

From Edinburgh: The Whiskies and Gins of East Lothian

8. From Edinburgh: The Whiskies and Gins of East Lothian

Depart from Edinburgh in the morning and travel to Buck and Birch, a family owned gin and spirit producer focused on creating the best tasting drinks possible using locally sourced botanical ingredients. The tour continues up the east coast to North Berwick, one of the most beautiful seaside villages of East Lothian. Browse the artisan shops in the village and enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants. Leave the coastline and arrive at Glenkinchie Distillery, nestled in a peaceful glen. Founded in 1825, the distillery languished in obscurity for over 150 years before becoming an international brand at the end of the 1980s. Find out how the distillery became such a success and sample their Malt Whiskies. From here, it's a short drive back to Edinburgh, through golden wheat and barley fields.

From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Day Tour

9. From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Day Tour

Your full-day tour begins in Edinburgh and continues further south through the Scottish Borders, where you’ll stop at Melrose Abbey. This is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful ruins in Europe. The heart of Robert the Bruce is said to be buried at the Abbey, which is also the final resting place of a number of other Scottish Kings. From here it's on to England, where you'll have lots of time to explore the tour’s main attraction, Alnwick Castle. Alnwick is the 2nd-largest inhabited castle in England, having been lived in for over 700 years. It’s filled with fascinating things to see and mysteries to uncover. You may recognize it as a location from some of the Harry Potter films.

From Edinburgh: Scottish Borders Full-Day Private Tour

10. From Edinburgh: Scottish Borders Full-Day Private Tour

The Scottish Borders are loved for its rolling hills with stunning views, where every turn will take your breath away. Travel on the this tour route at a relaxed pace, as there is not a long distance to be covered, meaning you have more time to explore. This is a flexible tour, which can be adapted and changed according to your interests. If you can’t look at another castle during the trip, skip one attraction to see another. If you want to stay in one place for longer, it is completely up to you. We are a small tour company and although we have guides who speak Portuguese, Italian, Polish and other languages, we do not have an army of them, but we have very few. So before you book please contact us regarding our availability to guide you in your language. If you contact us before you book, we will be able to confirm that we have or have not a guide which speaks your language for the date you wish to book. So please do not book before checking with us to avoid disappointment. Cheers,

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What people are saying about Scottish Borders

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 739 reviews

Andy was the best guide we’ve had the entire time we’ve been in Scotland! He made the trip so lovely and personable and we’re so glad the tour wasn’t cancelled even though there was only two of us. Everything was beautiful and exciting and we’d recommend this tour.

Excellent day trip. Nice small group and incredible and engaging guide. Plenty of stops for tours and pictures Had the perfect amount of time at all the sites was never rushed but also not sitting around waiting to leave. Cannot recommend this tour enough!

Smaller group on the day. Well organized, good pace, insights, and the main attractions were great. Highly recommend this company.

Great day trip! Guide was informative, trio was smooth, sights were amazing! Definitely recommend!

Great tour with comfortable bus. Excellent tour of distillery