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Scottish Borders

Castle & Palace Tours

Our most recommended Scottish Borders Castle & Palace Tours

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. Follow the ancient Roman Dere Street that connected Scottish Caledonia with Roman Britannia through the Scottish Borders. Stop at the charming town of Melrose, home to the remains of the Cistercian Abbey and the burial place of the heart of Scottish king Robert the Bruce. 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.

Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Tour from Edinburgh

2. 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’ll leave Edinburgh at 08:15 in the morning and head east to the Scottish Borders. Along the way, you’ll have views of gently rolling hills and dramatic coastlines. The first stop is the beautiful coastal town Bamburgh. Take a stroll to the stunning beach and view the dramatic 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 that have been filmed at the site, including Harry Potter. After spending time in Alnwick, you will make your way back over the border and in to Scotland. The final stop is the border town of Coldstream that 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.

Alnwick Castle & Holy Island Tour from Edinburgh

3. Alnwick Castle & Holy Island Tour from Edinburgh

On this full‐day tour you’ll journey south across the Scottish border into England. As you head south you’ll hear all about the historic rivalry between Scotland and England while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Borders. Your first stop will be at The Hirsel, a country house and estate where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some homemade treats. The tour continues with a 1-hour stop at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, a tidal island off the northeast coast of England. Lindisfarne is internationally known both for its medieval religious heritage and also its picturesque 16th-century castle. Alnwick Castle is the second-largest inhabited castle in the UK and has been home to the Percys, the Duke of Northumberland’s family, for over 700 years. In recent years it has also played starring roles in a number of film and television productions, featuring as Brancaster Castle in Downton Abbey’s 2014 Christmas special and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films. You’ll have approximately 2.5 hours at Alnwick to explore the castle and the gardens and to have lunch. You can explore a Downton Abbey exhibition, featuring photography, costumes, and props from the filming. Enjoy relaxing music on board during your enjoyable ride back to Edinburgh.

From Edinburgh: Alnwick Castle and Scottish Borders Day Tour

4. 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.

Edinburgh: Scottish Borders Tour from Scotland to England

5. 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.

Berwick: Anglo-Scottish Wars and Norham Castle Guided Tour

6. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Scottish Borders Castle & Palace Tours

What are other things to do than Castle & Palace Tours that are worth visiting in Scottish Borders?

The other unmissable things to do in Scottish Borders are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Scottish Borders

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What people are saying about Scottish Borders

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 108 reviews

Lovely experience driving through to east Lothian. Our guide Connor was friendly and helpful, gave us information about history as well as nice places to explore within the spots. We loved the scenic view of the beach in Bamburg and driving near the Northumbria coastline apart from Alnwick. Overall, a day well spent exploring.

A great trip with Pete as our guide. We visited Alnwick Castle and flew on a broomstick! A wonderful experience. Pete was very knowledgeable and we learned so much about the history of Scotland.

Beautiful countryside and Alnwick Castle is amazingingly beautiful. We enjoyed the Harry Potter information as well.

Willy was a wonderful guide and we had a great time learning about the history of the area

This was an informative and entertaining tour. Ally was a great guide!