Planning Your Time
The Borders Railway has opened the route between Edinburgh and the Borders, running from Edinburgh's Waverley Station to Tweedbank, in the heart of the Borders. Its 30-mile journey passes through Galashiels (for connections to Traquair House) and ends at Tweedbank, which is near Melrose and Walter Scott's home at Abbotsford. Beyond the Borders Railway, it is still more convenient to explore by car. If you're driving north along the A1 toward Edinburgh, it's easy to take a tour around the prosperous Borders towns. Turn onto the A698 at Berwick-upon-Tweed, which will take you along the Scottish–English border toward Kelso, Jedburgh, Dryburgh, and Melrose. It's 36 miles from Jedburgh to Peebles, a good place to stay overnight. Another day might begin with a visit to Walter Scott’s lovely Abbotsford House, and then some shopping in any of these prosperous towns.
To the west, Dumfries and Galloway beckon. If you're traveling north toward Glasgow on the M6/A74, take the A70 west toward Dumfries. From the A1, on the east coast, travel west on the A708 to Moffat and pick up the A70 there. From Glasgow take the A74 south to Beattock and pick up the A701 there. Two days would give you time to explore Burns sites and more in Dumfries. From Dumfries you can visit Sweetheart Abbey (8 miles away), Caerlaverock Castle (9 miles away), and Threave Castle and Gardens (20 miles away). Castle Douglas is a good place to stop for lunch. The A710 and A711 take you along the dramatic coastline of the Solway Firth. Farther west along the A75 are the towns of Newton Stewart and Portpatrick, and on the A714, Glen Trool. The region does not have good rail links but there is good bus service, and by car it is a charming and compact region.