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Borders Historic Route

The Borders Historic Route is a short and easy itinerary that can be explored en route to Edinburgh from England or as a standalone tour.

If you plan to visit Edinburgh as part of your Scottish holiday then, geographically, the Borders Historic Route is the perfect choice. Although only around 90 miles, there’s a lot to explore from the border with England to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.

The presence of the many fortified towers in the Scottish Borders is evidence of a tumultuous history and Gilnockie Tower on the Border Esk just north of Langholm, seat of the Armstrong Clan, is well worth a visit. A little further north is Hawick, still a mecca for cashmere and knitwear lovers, then between Selkirk and Galashiels you’ll find Abbotsford House, the home of prolific Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott. Carry on north and just outside Edinburgh you’ll find the majestic and atmospheric Rosslyn Chapel, with connections to the Knight’s Templar and made more famous by Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, the Da Vinci Code.

Sample Itinerary

Night 1: Starting in Carlisle, staying a night at the 3-star Crown and Mitre Hotel in Carlisle, B&B in a King Room

Drive from Carlisle, stopping in Longtown which is before the official start of the route. There is history abound in the local area, visit Arthuret Church, dating from the 12th century, and the nearby site of the Battle of Solway Moss fought in 1542. The route starts at Scotsdyke, right on the England/Scotland border where an earth banking was constructed in 1552 to separate the two nations. Little of this boundary is left so a stop to find this 3.5 mile section is worth the time. A little further north visit Gilnockie Tower (open from April to October) to explore a 16th century tower house, home to the much feared Amstrong Clan who ruled the this part of the borderland for many years. Stopping for a while to explore Langholm would be a good use of time, take a walk up to the Malcolm Monument, stopping at the Hugh MacDiarmid monument along the way. The views from the top of the hill, at the Malcolm Monument, take in much of the southern Borders and into England. Finish the day with a visit to the Borders Textile Towerhouse, educate yourself in the history of textile produce in the borders, dating back over 200 years. The building has a fascinating history too, dating back over 500 years!

Drive from Carlisle to Hawick: approx. 45 miles

Night 2: Staying a night at a 3-star Balcary House Hotel in Hawick, B&B in a Double Room

Start the day with some retail therapy, shop in one of the best known and most prestigious design houses in the Borders. Lochcarron of Scotland are based in Selkirk and have a mill tour and a fabulous café too. As you drive north from Selkirk you can visit Lindean Mill Glass (open May to December) where you can buy some sought after glass products and you can tour the mill and see the glass being blown too. Onwards north and the next stop is Abbotsford, once home to the famous Scottish writer and poet Sir Walter Scott. The house is open to the public as are the beautiful grounds and gardens, the Walled Garden was designed by Sir Walter Scott himself. From Abbotsford you can come off the main route to visit Floors Castle and Traquair House – both seats of famous Scottish dynasties and Floors Castle is Scotland’s largest inhabited castle, still the home of the Duke of Roxburghe. Head to Galashiels to get back on track and take the road to Edinburgh. Stopping at the National Mining Museum in Newtongrange is time well spent before heading off the route again to visit Rosslyn Chapel, founded back in the 15th century it is a must do. Next, Edinburgh awaits!

Drive from Hawick to Edinburgh: approx. 58 miles

Night 3: Staying a night at a 4-star Apex Waterloo Place Hotel in Edinburgh, B&B in a Double Room

Example prices start from £240 per person in low season.


Get in touch: 0131 243 8098 | [email protected]