The Borders and the Southwest: Places to Explore


  • Castle Douglas

    A quaint town that sits beside Carlingwark Loch, Castle Douglas is a popular base for exploring the surrounding countryside. The loch sets off the city perfectly, reflecting its dramatic...

  • Coldstream

    Three miles west of Coldstream, the England–Scotland border comes down from the hills and runs beside the Tweed for the rest of its journey to the sea. Coldstream itself is still a small town,...

  • Dalbeattie

    Like the much larger Aberdeen far to the northeast, Dalbeattie contains buildings constructed with local gray granite from the town's quarry. The well-scrubbed gray glitter makes Dalbeattie...

  • Dumfries

    The River Nith meanders through Dumfries, and the pedestrian-only town center makes wandering and shopping a pleasure. Author J. M. Barrie (1860–1937) spent his childhood in Dumfries, and the...

  • Galashiels

    A busy gray-stone Borders town, Galashiels is still active with textile mills and knitwear factories.

  • Gatehouse of Fleet

    A peaceful, pleasant, backwoods sort of place, Gatehouse of Fleet has a castle guarding its southern approach.

  • Glen Trool

    The dramatic scenery here has a Highlands feel.

  • Gretna Green

    The town is best known for its history as a place for speedy weddings.

  • Hawick

    Hawick (pronounced hoyk) is a busy town at the center of the region's textile industry, commemorated in the interesting Borders Textile Towerhouse. The Victorian buildings along its High Street...

  • Innerleithen

    Innerleithen is one of the larger Borders towns; you'll feel like you've entered a hub of activity when you arrive. It's also dramatically beautiful. Surrounded by hills and glens, the town is...

  • Jedburgh

    The town of Jedburgh (-burgh is always pronounced burra in Scots) was for centuries the first major Scottish target of invading English armies. In more peaceful times it developed textile mills, most...

  • Kelso

    One of the most charming Borders burghs, Kelso is often described as having a continental flavor—some people think its broad, paved square makes it resemble a Belgian market town. The community...

  • Kirkcudbright

    Kirkcudbright (pronounced kir-coo-bray) is an 18th-century town of Georgian and Victorian houses, some of them washed in pastel shades and roofed with the blue slate of the district. In the early 20th...

  • Melrose

    Though it's small, there is nevertheless a bustle about Melrose, the perfect example of a prosperous Scottish market town and one of the loveliest in the Borders. It's set round a square lined...

  • Newton Stewart

    The bustling town of Newton Stewart is a good place to stop when touring the western region of Galloway.

  • Peebles

    Thanks to its excellent though pricey shopping, Peebles gives the impression of catering primarily to leisured country gentlefolk. Architecturally, the town is nothing out of the ordinary, just a...

  • Portpatrick

    The holiday town of Portpatrick lies across the Rhinns of Galloway from Stranraer. Once an Irish ferry port, Portpatrick's harbor eventually proved too small for larger vessels.

  • Ruthwell

    North of the upper Solway Firth the countryside is flat, fertile farmland. Progressing west, however, a pleasant landscape of low, round hills begins to take over. But there are historical...

  • Selkirk

    Selkirk is a hilly outpost with a smattering of antiques shops and an assortment of bakers selling Selkirk bannock (fruited sweet bread) and other cakes. It is the site of one of Scotland’s...

  • Stranraer

    Stranraer has a lovely garden and is also the main ferry port to Northern Ireland—if you make a purchase in one of its shops, you may wind up with some euro coins from Ireland in your change.

  • Whithorn

    Known for its early Christian settlement, Whithorn is full of history. The main street is notably wide, with cute pastel buildings nestled up against each other, their low doorways and small...

  • Wigtown

    More than 20 bookshops, mostly antiquarian and secondhand stores, have sprung up on the brightly painted main street of Wigtown, voted Scotland's national book town. The 10-day Wigtown Book...


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