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The Borders and the Southwest Travel Guide

Plan Your The Borders and the Southwest Vacation

In the Borders region, south of Edinburgh, are more stately homes, fortified castles, and medieval abbeys than in any other part of Scotland. This is also Sir Walter Scott territory, including his pseudo-baronial home at Abbotsford. The area embraces the whole 90-mile course of one of Scotland's greatest rivers, the Tweed. Passing woodlands luxuriant with game birds, the river flows

in rushing torrents through this fertile land. To the west of the Borders is Dumfries and Galloway, a low-key area with gentle coastal and upland areas.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Ancient abbeys The great abbeys of the Border regions, and the Whithorn Priory and the wonderful Sweetheart Abbey in the Southwest, are in ruins, but they retain hints of their former grandeur.
  2. Outdoor activities You can walk, bicycle, or even ride horses across Galloway or through the Borders. Abandoned railway tracks make good paths, and there are forests and moorlands if you prefer wilder country. Most towns have bike-rental shops.
  3. Stately homes and castles The landed aristocracy still lives in these grand mansions, and most of the homes are open to visitors. Try Floors Castle or the wonderful Traquair House in the east. Threave, Drumnlarig, and the magical Caerlaverock Castle near Dumfries evoke grander times.
  4. Literary Scotland The Borders region has enough monuments dedicated to Sir Walter Scott that you could make him a theme of your visit. Abbotsford House, which he built for himself, is unmissable. The poet Robert Burns spent much of his working life in Dumfries.
  5. Shopping The sheep you see everywhere explain why so many locals became involved in textile production. Mill shops are abundant, and are well worth a visit for their wonderful woolens.

When To Go

When to Go

Because many lodgings and some sights are privately owned and shut down from early autumn until early April, the area is less suited to off-season tour...

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