Getting Oriented

Once a battleground region separating Scotland and England, today the Borders area is a bridge between the two countries. This is a place of upland moors and hills, farmland, and forested river valleys. Yet it also embraces the rugged coastline between Edinburgh and Berwick. It's rustic and peaceful, with textile mills, abbeys, castles, and gardens. The area is a big draw for hikers and walking enthusiasts, too. The Borders region is steeped in history, with Mary, Queen of Scots, a powerful presence despite the relatively short time she spent here.

The Borders. Borders towns cluster around and between two rivers—the Tweed and its tributary, the Teviot. These are mostly textile towns with plenty of personality, where residents take pride in their local municipalities, The cut-down version of rugby (the Sevens), where teams consist of 7 rather than 15 players, brings the Borders towns into fierce (but friendly) rivalry. The Common Ridings, too, are unique, as local people ride through the towns to commemorate a history of defending their local boundaries. The area's top attractions include Jedburgh Abbey, Floors Castle in Kelso, and Abbotsford House just outside Melrose.

Dumfries and Galloway. Easygoing and peaceful, towns in this southwestern region are usually very attractive, with wide streets and colorful buildings. The Solway Firth is a vast nature preserve, and the climate of the west sustains the surprising tropical plants at the Logan Botanic Gardens and the gardens at Threave Castle.

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