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Things to do in

Scottish Borders

Our most recommended things to do in Scottish Borders

From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour

1. 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. Originally built to protect the north of England from Scottish Border Reivers and invaders, more recently Alnwick Castle and its perfectly manicured gardens have found fame as one of the settings for the fictional Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter movie series. After around 3 hours at Alnwick, travel north along the stunning Northumberland Coast. You stop on your way back to Edinburgh at one of the beautiful historic villages or castles that pepper the rolling landscapes of Southern Scotland.

Rosslyn Chapel & Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

2. 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.

Edinburgh: Rosslyn Chapel, Scottish Borders and Abbotsford

3. Edinburgh: Rosslyn Chapel, Scottish Borders and Abbotsford

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, as 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 home of Sir Walter Scott - Abbotsford House.

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.

Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

5. 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.  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: Scottish Borders Full-Day Private Tour

6. 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 tour route at a relaxed pace, as there is no rush to bring you back from this amazing tour unless you have to leave. Do not forget that during the tour you are not led, you lead and the tour is yours. 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, Cheers,

From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Day Tour

7. 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: 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 NB Distillery. This gin producer launched in 2013 with a mission to develop the perfect gin. Taste it yourself and find out whether they have accomplished their goal. 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.

Berwick: Anglo-Scottish Wars and Norham Castle Guided Tour

9. Berwick: Anglo-Scottish Wars and Norham Castle Guided Tour

England and Scotland have a bloody history of warfare, conflict, and battles! This warfare exists right back into the early medieval period when the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, the Scots and the Picts duelled it out to see who would rule in Northern Britain. Following the Norman conquest, the thrones of England and Scotland continued to battle to decide where the border would finally be set. During this tour we will explore the English and Scottish borders, travelling to Carham, an Anglo-Saxon battle site where the Border moved from Lothian to the river Tweed. From there we will move on to Norham Castle – one of the most fought over Castles in the region. After Norham Castle we will head to Berwick for lunch. Berwick itself was a fortress city with an incredibly bloody and contested history and its impressive walls are still visible and able to be walked upon today. Finally, we finish the tour by heading to Flodden Battlefield – one of the greatest victories that the English had over the Scots and the largest battle between the two nations.

Edinburgh: Scottish Borders Tour from Scotland to England

10. Edinburgh: Scottish Borders Tour from Scotland to England

Begin the tour by visiting the Rosslyn Chapel, which dates back to the 14th Century and was made famous by the Da Vinci Code. After a brief drive, arrive in the beautiful countryside of the Scottish Borders. Next on the agenda is Melrose Abbey. Have the opportunity to visit this magnificent ruin. The heart of Robert the Bruce one of the most famous Scots is also buried here. Then, give your senses an overload and take in one of the most magnificent views in Scotland at Scott's View. You may choose to have a dram or two to honor Sir Walter Scott as you take in the view. Floors Castle is next on the itinerary, the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and the family home of the Duke of Roxburghe. Built for the first Duke of Roxburghe in 1721, what you see is an evolving story of a house and gardens and outstanding views. Later, head to Abbotsford House, home to the literary genius Sir Walter Scott. Today, the house serves as a museum and monument to its famous occupant.

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What people are saying about Scottish Borders

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 648 reviews

Our tour was with Ally and Stuart. Ally is amazing, his vast knowledge off history, being a great dj as well and his funny jokes made it an experience to never forget!! Stuart will be a great guide as well. Thanks so much for a wonderful day, definitely recommend to book.

Truly beautiful church. Guided presentation was superb and staff was both knowledgeable and friendly. My family and I truly enjoyed the tour. Roslyn castle ruins is a wee 8 minute walk down from the church. Maybe a little difficult for those with mobility issues.

Lovely day out in the Scottish Borders with a very experienced snd knowledgable driver - with plenty of historical tales.

Great tour and guide. You can see so much more territory on a tour like this than on your own. Worth every penny.

Stephen was a wealth of knowledge with a great sense of humor. And he drove the coast route and made it speciL.