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Places to Visit - Index Page


Bowhill House is the Scottish Borders home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, dating from 1812, set in magnificent scenery, there are walks, gardens, visitor centre and Newark Castle to see.

The home built by Sir Walter Scott on the banks of the river Tweed

Drumlanrig Castle is the Dumfries and Galloway residence of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch.

Dryhope Tower is a ruined Scottish peel tower in the valley of the Yarrow Water, in the historic county of Selkirkshire. The building has been restored to a certain extent and there is a modern spiral staircase inside allowing access to the roof.

Smailholm is another defensive tower, this time near Kelso. Inside the tower is a display of dolls, tapestries and paintings illustrating some of the Border ballads and Sir Walter Scott's association with the area.

Its tranquil, serene setting makes Dryburgh Abbey a most attractive place to visit. Founded in 1150 it was destroyed on a number of occasions by invading English armies and was finally abandoned after the Reformation. Sir Walter Scott the writer and Earl Haig the commander in chief of the British army in the First World War are both buried here.


In 1611 John Scott, one of the line of Buccleuch Scotts, and later Lord John Scott, acquired a tower built by the Inglis family and other lands in Fife. He renovated the tower, made additions to it and renamed it Scotstarvit.

A brief historical background to the Scottish Borders and the Borders today.

Main Scottish Borders towns of Melrose, Selkirk, Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso and Peebles.

Abbotsford, Bowhill House, Manderston, Kailzie Garden, Mellerstain House, Floors Castle, Kelso, Traquair House, Innerleithen and The Great Outdoors.

A monastery was established to the east of the present-day town of Melrose around 650AD. But it was King David I who invited Cistercian monks to create a new building. But like all the abbeys in the Scottish Borders it was frequently attacked and badly damaged over the centuries by invading English armies.

Located in the grounds of Bowhill House, about three miles west of Selkirk high above the south bank of the Yarrow Water. It is easily visible from the main A708 road and sits on a high mound above the steep banks of the river, providing a strong defensive position. Initially a royal hunting lodge for the Ettrick Forest and was a popular location with Scottish Kings, despite the lawless reputation of the local reivers - The royal arms are visible on the west gable.

The Augustinian priory on the banks of the Jed Water in 1138 (or possibly earlier) was founded by King David I. But soon after it was completed it was destroyed by English invaders. Due to the Reformation of the church it was never reconstructed.

Hermitage was on the front line between Scotland and England and the castle changed ownership several times.

Originally built in the 16th century, by which time castles no longer needed to be fortified to the same extent as before.  This trend was even more evident when it was remodelled in 1670 when its height was increased to six storeys. It was extended again in 1840 and the interior has been much altered too.

In a town not far from Edinburgh, Dalkeith was initially a castle but was later converted into a "Palace" modelled on William of Orange's Palace of Het Loo in the Netherlands.

The house in Jedburgh where Mary Queen of Scots recuperated after a riding accident while on a visit to Drumlanrig castle in the Scottish Borders. Now a museum with memorabilia relating to Mary.

Kelso abbey was established by King David I in 1128. The monks then started building the largest 13th century abbey in the Scottish Borders. The floor plan of the abbey in those days was in the shape of the cross of Lorraine - with two transepts or arms to the main building, a design  similar to that of abbeys on the river Rhine at that time, with solid looking turrets instead of a spire.

Background and illustrated history of the monument to the writer Sir Walter Scott in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

The view of the Eildon Hills and the river Tweed said to be a favourite of the writer Sir Walter Scott. Also located at the spot is an impressive 31 feet high statue of the Scottish patriot Sir William Wallace.

Lady Stair's House. This was built in 1622, just off the Lawnmarket (a stretch of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. It  has been turned into a Writers' Museum dedicated to three of Scotland's most famous writers - Robert Burns (who stayed in a house opposite during his first visit to Edinburgh in 1786), Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Richard Scott (whose line eventually became the Dukes of Buccleuch) had a younger brother, Michael Scott who moved to Fife near Kirkcaldy. His descendants established the Scotts of Balwearie line and occupied Balwearie Castle from the 13th century to the end of he 17th century.

Sir Walter Scott instigated the search in Edinburgh Castle in 1818 which led to the recovery of the Scottish Crown Jewels which had been hidden there in 1707.

The Scott Monument is not the only place in Edinburgh with links to Sir Walter. He was born in College Wynd and lived at 25 George Square (still standing) from 1794 to 1797. After marrying and having two children, he moved tin 1801 to a house that Scott had had built at 39 North Castle Street (also still standing). A spacious, three-story, gray-stone dwelling, this was Scott's Edinburgh home until financial disaster struck in 1826.

Historic rallying point of Clan Scott, west of Hawick.

First home of Clan Scott, west of Hawick near the Rankil Burn and Buccleuch Burn

Beside the entrance gates to Dalkeith palace, the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Dukes of Buccleuch are buried in the crypt of Buccleuch Memorial Chapel in St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Dalkeith.

The courtroom where Sir Walte worked as Depute-sheriff iss now a museum dedicated to the hisorical novelist and to other well-known local worthies.

The 5th Duke of Buccleuch, who owned land in the area beside Edinburgh and overlooking the sea, saw the opportunity to build a new harbour on part of the estate he owned,

The present House of Harden dates from the 17th century and succeded an earlier tower which was destroyed about 1590.

Recorded as belonging to the Hays in 1278 and 1375 it has had numerous owners, including the Scotts of Scotstarvit.

Aberdeenshire castle dating from about 1475. Owned for a time by David Scott, a Treasurer of the Bank of Scotland, who added a fine mansion.

Although he also had a home  for many years in Edinburgh, Sir Walter Scott spent his summers in the Scottish Borders in the Scottish Borders, particularly after becoming the Sheriff Depute for the county of Selkirk. Later, of course, he built his "conundrum castle at Abbotsford where he lived from 1826 until his death in 1832.

Tibbie Shiels was an historical Inn from 1823 until its closure in 2015. The inn, on the Southern Upland Way on a strip of land separating St Mary’s Loch and the Loch of the Lowes (the largest natural loch in the Scottish Borders). Sir Walter Scott helped spread word of its beauty and solitude and Scott any many other distinguished names appear in the visitors’ books including  James Hogg the poet, Robert Louis Stevenson,  historian Thomas Carlyle, the angler and poet Thomas Stoddart and a future prime minister, William Gladstone.

Massive sandstone grandfather clock rediscovered at Sir Walter Scott's former home at Abbotsford needs restoration. Illustrated article on the clock and the appeal for funding the restoration

In 1420 half of the lands at Branxholme were exchanged between Robert Scott, Lord of Murthockston and the Inglises for Murthockston in Lanarkshire. In 1446 the other half of the estate was granted to Sir Walter Scott and his son Sir David and Branxholme castle rather than Buccleuch castle became the Scott home for over 400 years.

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