This post lists the best towns and villages in the Scottish Borders that you must visit. The Scottish Borders is a lovely region in Scotland to explore.
Despite the Scottish Borders being in an ideal central location in the UK between Edinburgh and England. The area is often missed out by tourists.
Scottish Borders is a very easy place to reach from the capital city of Edinburgh. This area has everything that you need and bonus, you can avoid all the busy tourist traffic.
The Berwickshire coast is stunning and dramatic. Also, there is a tranquil vista of rolling hils in the countryside.
Some towns are villages in the Scottish Borders are so charming and beautiful. It is worth it to pay a visit.
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Peebles is a romantic town located on the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. This is an area which is surrounded by outstanding beauty. A wealth of medieval buildings from the 12th century make up the town.
The Cross Kirk is one of the medieval buildings, a Trinitarian priory founded by Alexander II in 1296. Traquair House is one of the greatest historic houses in Scotland.
A large map of Scotland known as the Great Polish Map is located nearby. This walk was made by a Polish soldier who was interested in Topography.
Learn about a well-known Scottish author at the John Buchan Story. Also, learn more about the history of Peebles and the surrounding area at Tweeddale Museum and Gallery.
Things to do in Peebles
- Cross Kirk
- Traquair House
- 1881 Gin Distillery & Microbrewery
- Neidpath Castle
- John Buchan story
- Tweeddale Museum & Gallery
- Great Polish Map
Lauder is a former Royal Burgh and the town has a long medieval High Street. Also, the town is close to the Lammermuir Hills.
Lauder is one of the stops on the Southern Upland Way. The Southern Upland Way is a long-distance walking route from Portpatrick on the west coast to Cockburnspath on the east.
Thirestane Castle is a 17th-century castle which was once the magnificent home to the Maitland family. The castle has wonderful plasterwork ceilings, fine furnishings and paintings.
There is a toy museum in the castle, tours are available during the summer months.
Things to do in Lauder
- Thirlestane Castle
- Southern Upland Way
In the 19th century, the textile industry was booming in Galashiels. Lots of mills were established in the area and the population increased.
You can learn more about the history and heritage on the Architectural Trail, and the Old Gala House. Also, make sure to pay a visit to The Great Tapestry of Scotland Gallery & Visitor Centre.
Galashiels is a stop on the Southern Uplands Way. Also, the Borders Railway stops here and you can join the National Cycle Network Route 1.
Things to do in Galashiels
- Borders Railway Line
- Great Tapestry of Scotland Gallery & Visitor Centre
- Old Gala House
- National Cycle Network Route 1
- Southern Uplands Way
Melrose is a small historic town located near the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders. The small town has a lovely selection of boutique shops and lovely restaurants.
Located at the foot of the Eildon Hills, this is the perfect place to base yourself to hike one of the three hills. Eildon Hill North is a relatively easy and quick hike.
Melrose has a long history, the Romans occupied the area. Melrose Abbey was the first Cistercian abbey to be established in Scotland. The abbey is famous for the brilliant medieval carving and as a burial place of two kings.
There are two historic gardens nearby. Priorwood features an apple orchard and Harmony Gardens has a stunning walled garden.
Also, the home of Sir Walter Scott – Abbotsford House is located three miles west on the banks of the River Tweed.
In 1883, Ned Haig a local butcher and rugby player discovered Rugby’s Sevens. Every spring, there is a carnival atmosphere when the international tournament – Melrose Sevens takes place.
Things to do in Melrose
- Melrose Abbey
- Eildon Hills
- Priorwood Gardens
- Harmony Gardens
Selkirk is one of the oldest Royal Burgh in Scotland. The town is located high above the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys in the heart of the Scottish Borders.
The town has strong links with Sir Walter Scott, as he served as the sheriff for 33 years. Halliwell’s House is Selkirk’s oldest building and is located in a narrow wynd.
There is a museum located in Halliwell’s House which explores the long history of the town. You can learn about William Wallace and the Battle of Flodden.
Bowhill House is a stunning Georgian house located on the outskirts of Selkirk.
The house is located in an enchanting glen and the heathery hills. There are outdoor walking trails, stunning gardens and lakes for fishing.
Things to do in Selkirk
- Bowhill House
- Halliwells House
Hawick is the largest town in the Scottish Borders with a population of 13,586. There is a nice selection of shops and restaurants, particularly many selling fine knitwear.
Located in the prime area for the textile industry, it is the perfect place to learn about Scotland’s knitwear and tweed story.
Borders Textile Townhouse is located in a 16th century tower house and offers insights into the textile industry. Also, Hawick is part of the Textile Trail.
Wilton Lodge Park is located on the banks of the River Teviot. Here, you can explore the 107 acres of riverside and tree-lined walks, and a walled garden.
View excellent exhibitions regarding the town’s history and culture at the Hawick Museum and Scott Gallery. In addition, the Border’s Distillery has been producing whisky in this area since 1837.
Things to do in Hawick
- Borders Textile Towerhouse
- Borders Taxtile Townhouse
- Textile Trail
- Wilton Park Lodge
Jedburgh is the most southern town on this list and is located just 10 miles north of the English Border, due to the proximity and closeness to the border between Scotland and England. Up to the 17th century, Jedburgh was a frontier town.
Full-blown and ruthless battles are thankfully a thing of the past. Now, this area of the Borders is peaceful with a nice selection of shops, cafes, restaurants and walking trails.
Jedburgh has many historical attractions. The Mary Queen of Scots Visitor Centre is based in the house where the queen stayed on a visit to Edinburgh in 1566.
Jedburgh Abbey is one of the four Border Abbeys founded in the 12th century for Augustinian canons. Explore the abbey, the visitor centre and the surrounding herb garden which features aromatic plants and a stone display.
At the Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum, you can learn what life was like for the prisoners in the 19th century. Also, the old Jailer’s house now has displays of the town’s rich history, traditions and industries.
Ale Water Valley is located between the historic towns of Selkirk, Hawick and Jedburgh. This is a nice place to stretch your legs and has many outdoor activities to participate in.
Things to do in Jedburgh
- Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum
- Jedburgh Abbey
- Mary Queen of Scots Visitor Centre
Kelso is a historic market town, located on the junction of the River Tweed and River Teviot. The town square is said to be the largest city square in Scotland.
On the cobbles, the old rings where the cattle were tethered on market days still exist. Around the square, there is a lovely array of shops, cafes and restaurants.
Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited house, is in the distance in the parkland overlooking the River Tweed. The interiors of the exquisite 18th-century mansion feature tapestries, grand rooms and superb views.
Kelso Abbey dates back to the 12th century and features the best of Romanesque architecture. Kelso Abbey is one of the finest of the Border’s Abbey.
Beirhope Alpacas is set in a stunning setting, nestled in the Cheviot Hills. Experience the cuteness of the Alpacas on a short trek or during feeding time.
Things to do in Kelso
- Kelso Abbey
- Floors Castle
- Beirhope Alpacas
This lovely historic fishing town is located five minutes north of the border with England. Eyemouth has a natural harbour and fishing dates back to the 13th century.
Walk along the windswept coast and discover the hidden coves and unusually narrow harbour. Or, walk along the coast to Eyemouth Fort.
Gunsgreen House is a famous mansion house located on the south side. This was the centre of the illicit trade of wine, tobacco, spirits and tea in the 18th century.
In the 18th century, smuggling with rife in the underground tunnels, narrow wynds and caves. Follow in the footsteps of the smugglers on the Smugglers Trail.
Things to do in Eyemouth
- Eyemouth Fort
- Smugglers Trail
- Gunsgreen House
Coldingham is the smallest populated settlement on this list. This small village has a population of 512.
It is an attractive village on the east of the Berwickshire coast, only a few miles north of Eyemouth.
At the heart of the village are the ruins of Coldingham Priory. Coldingham Priory was once the wealthiest and most important monasteries in medieval Scotland.
Coldingham Sands is Scotland’s answer to Australia’s Brighton Beach. Decorated beach huts line the back of the beach, it is the perfect photo opportunity.
In the summer this beach is very popular. Coldingham Bay is a popular surfing destination.
For those who enjoy walking, the Berwickshire Coastal Path has great views.
Things to do in Coldingham
- Coldingham Priory
- Coldingham Sands
- Berwickshire Coastal Path
Saint Abbs is a beautiful coastal fishing village north of Eyemouth and close to Coldingham. This small village is surrounded by a rugged setting, with jagged cliffs and is lined with old fishermen’s cottages.
Recently, St Abbs has increased in popularity. The town has been featured in the Avengers movie franchise.
Also, Saint Abbs has been the filming location for Harry Style’s music video – Adore You.
St Abbs’s Head National Nature Reserve involves 200 acres of wild, rugged coastline and dramatic jagged cliffs. It is a hub for sea birds and other wildlife.
Walk to Pettico Wick Bay, north of St Abbs where you can see the 400 million-year-old pink and purple volcanic lava of the Pettico Wick fault.
St Abbs Lighthouse is a stunning landmark surrounded by great scenic views and wildlife. Also, Saint Abbs is a thriving hub for scuba divers.
Things to do in St Abbs
- St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve
- St Abbs Head Lighthouse
Duns features a lovely quiet market square, where you can try and imagine all the events that have occurred here throughout the centuries. In previous times, this was the main trade market area for the townspeople.
Formula 1 legend Jim Clark grew up on a farm near Duns. Sadly, at the age of 32, the spot claimed his life.
A strong legacy has been left in the town and the wider area.
You can visit the museum that displays how life work and career. There are displays with racing cars, trophies, fantastic photographs and audio recordings from people that knew him well.
In addition, Duns is the birthplace of John Duns Scotus, the great medieval philosopher. In the 14th century, Duns Scotus taught at the University of Paris. There is a bronze statue of Duns Scotus in the public park.
Duns Castle is a 14th-century castle which is a popular wedding venue. The grounds of Dun Castle is now a park and bird sanctuary.
Take the short and easy trek up Duns Law. At the 700 foot summit, there are remains of an Iron Age Hill Fort and 17th century forts.
Things to do in Duns:
- Duns Law
- Jim Clark Motorsport Museum
- Duns Castle Nature Reserve
- Duns Castle Estate
- Manderston House
What town are on the border of Scotland?
Gretna is a town in Dumfries and Galloway which is on the border of Scotland. The border runs along the River Sark next to Gretna.
Which is the nicest town in the Scottish Borders?
According to the Sunday Times, Melrose is ‘The Best Place to Live in Scotland’. This is hard to disagree with as Melrose is a picturesque tranquil town with tonnes of character.
What is the closest village to the Scottish Borders?
The settlement of Coldstream lies just north of the Scotland/England Border on the River Tweed. Gretna is a small town in Dumfries and Galloway which overlooks the Scotland/England Border on the River Sark.
Coldstream and Gretna were two popular destinations for runaway marriages in the 18th and 19th centuries.
What towns are on the border of England and Scotland?
Gretna is a town in Dumfries and Galloway which is next to the River Sark. The River Sark marks the western part of the Scotland/ England Border making Gretna extremely close to the border.
Coldstream is a small settlement in the Scottish Borders which is located right next to the River Tweed which marks the Scotland/England Border.
The Scottish Borders is perhaps the easiest destination to reach. Dumfries and Galloway to the west, Edinburgh and the Lothians to the north and Northumberland and northern England to the south.
Explore the ruined historical abbeys, grand stately homes, rolling hills and the spectacular countryside.
Best of all, the little towns and villages in the Scottish Borders, filled with character and culture. On top of this, the locals are extremely welcoming.
Many of the towns and villages in the Scottish Borders follow the typical market town set-up. Others are small picturesque fishing villages or medieval Royal Burghs.
All the towns are close by, a short drive away from each another and most are accessible by public transport.
You can combine a few towns and villages in the Scottish Borders to create a great day trip. Eyemouth, St Abbs and Coldingham are lovely coastal towns which will make a lovely afternoon out exploring.
Also, Kelso, Jedburgh, Hawick, Selkirk and Melrose are often completed together on a road trip. This route is called the Borders Abbey Way.
There is so much history to learn about and gorgeous views to soak in. As one of the least visited and undermined areas of Scotland, I recommend heading here for your next trip.