We leave Edinburgh and journey south across the Lammermuir hills to the south east of the city. As we venture into the borders we first stop at Scotts View, a stunning lookout that was reputed to be one of Sir Walter Scott’s favourite views and one which gave him inspiration for his love of Scotland.
From here we travel to the home of Georgian Scots novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford House. Abbotsford was designed by William Atkinson and Edward Blore in the Scottish baronial style that became popular given its combination of historical theme with modern living and was constructed between 1817 and 1824. We’ll take the tour through the public areas of Abbotsford and learn about Scott’s life here.
From here we take the short journey to Melrose and Melrose Abbey a ruined Cistercian monastery built in the mid 12th century. Notably it is believed that the embalmed heart of Robert The Bruce’s heart is buried at Melrose although this claim has been challenged and remains a mystery to this day.
Floors Castle (option 1)
From Melrose we venture the short journey to Floors Castle by Kelso. Floors is more a country house than a fortified castle with extensive gardens and is the largest inhabited Castle in Scotland. It is the home to the Duke of Roxburghe and is an excellent example of a relatively modern 18th century mock castle overlooking the River Tweed. It is lavishly presented with rich interior finish, tapestry’s and and ornate decor.
Traquair House (option 2)
Alternatively (instead of Floors) we travel along the River Tweed to Innerleithen and the fantastic Traquair House. Scotland’s oldest continually inhabited property, the 15th century property and gardens are in as near an original state as any house in Scotland from the period. Traquair is full of interesting artefacts from the period including a library of more than 3,000 volumes and display of possessions of Mary Queen of Scots. Traquair also has its own microbrewery for those looking to pick up a souvenir or two!
Having travelled back towards Edinburgh and if time permits, we will visit the 15th century Rosslyn Chapel, made famous by its mysterious links to The Knights Templar and more recently the setting for the Dan Brown Novel The Da Vinci Code and the Tom Hanks film by the same name. The Chapel is adorned by incredibly intricate stonework and the apprentices pilar carries with it a gruesome story of jealousy and murder.
We return to Edinburgh after a fantastic day off the beaten path.