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The Hidden Scottish Borders

Timeless towns & landscapes of the Lowlands
 
Featuring tranquil walking and top-notch hospitality, this self-guided holiday – with luggage transfers included – explores the lesser-known landscapes of the Borders. As you walk, you uncover a fascinating past and wealth of local culture, and have the chance to visit Traquair House – Scotland’s oldest continuously inhabited home.
The Hidden Scottish Borders. 4 nights
The Hidden Scottish Borders. 4 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Scottish Borders

South of Edinburgh, a patchwork of softly rolling hills and sheep-grazed pastures are woven together by the tumbling, salmon-rich waters of the River Tweed. In this quiet countryside, between the lush vegetation of the riverbank and higher, heather-clad summits, the remains of Iron-Age hillforts and fortified tower houses can still be seen – reminders of the region’s long history, and the dramatic role it once played in the medieval wars between England and Scotland.
Heritage and tradition continue to be important in the Borders, and particularly in the two historic towns where you stay. Innerleithen is very little known outside the region, but is much deserving of closer inspection: its St Ronan’s Border Games are the oldest organised sports meeting in Scotland, and nearby Traquair House – which comes complete with a working 18th-century brewery – is the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited home. Peebles, meanwhile, still maintains its ancient tradition of ‘Riding the Marches’, where the townsfolk set out together on horseback to survey their boundaries.

In both Peebles and Innerleithen, you stay in delightful, owner-run accommodation where you enjoy generous hospitality and quality cuisine. Peebles’ Tontine Hotel is a fine Georgian building that has been welcoming guests since 1808, while a few minutes from the centre of Innerleithen Caddon View is an award-winning guesthouse set in well-kept gardens.
 

Book with confidence

We are accepting bookings for Scottish holidays. Our flexible booking arrangements, commitment to safety and financial protection mean that you can book with confidence.

What we’re doing so you can book and travel with confidence >
 
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Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    You should always be prepared for wet weather, whichever month you are travelling.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 3 4 6 9 12 15 17 16 13 10 6 4
    mm 149 101 116 74 89 82 89 116 132 141 134 140
  • Arrival in Peebles
    Night 1: at The Tontine Hotel (the first of 2 nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Circular route from Peebles: 12.5km (7.5 miles), 4.5hrs; ascent/descent 195m
    Infused with water and characterised by soft, rolling hills, the landscapes surrounding Peebles make for perfect walking country. Our route leads first through open parkland before following a rocky, riverside path upstream to Neidpath Castle. Framed by lush vegetation and offering splendid views, well-preserved Neidpath is a 14th-century fortified tower house which has hosted many a Scottish monarch, including Mary Queen of Scots and James VI. Today, the area is frequented by a good variety of birdlife, including dippers, herons and goosanders, which you may well spy as you continue alongside the river, passing the Neidpath Viaduct and entering a narrower, pastoral valley quietly grazed by sheep. The second half of the route offers an interesting cross-section of Borders scenery: wooded paths and ancient, stone-built bridges; fishermen thigh-deep in the Tweed; a reiver’s fortified tower house; and riverside meadows that merge gradually into parkland as you near the end of the walk.

    Peebles itself has much to offer: this ancient royal burgh hosts a yearly arts festival, and is home to the Tweeddale Museum and Gallery with its varied exhibitions on Borders life. There are many independent craft shops and cafés in the town, as well as the house where John Buchan – author of the celebrated adventure novel The Thirty-Nine Steps – often stayed as a boy. Should you wish, you can uncover Peebles’ illustrious history on a 6-kilometre town trail, which explores its historic backstreets and heads out to Neidpath Castle, also visited on our longer route.
    St Andrew's Tower
    Circular route from Peebles: 12.5km
  • Choice of routes from Peebles to Innerleithen: 12.5 or 17km (7.5 or 10.5 miles)

    Peebles to Innerleithen: 12.5km (7.5 miles), 4hrs; ascent/descent 75m
    Peebles and Innerleithen were once connected by train, but after the closure of the line in 1962 the tracks lay abandoned for over 50 years. Today, the former track beds carry a traffic-free tarmac path, which affords many opportunities to enjoy the beauty, tranquillity and plentiful wildlife of the Tweed Valley as it traces the course of the river between the two towns. Our route makes good use of the path, while also exploring a ‘community’ woodland – planted by a team of local volunteers – and passing ruined Horsburgh Castle, perched atop an Iron-Age hillfort. The last stop before Innerleithen is the small village of Cardrona, where you may like to pause for a coffee in the old station building before continuing to Innerleithen and Caddon View, your guesthouse for the final two nights.

    Over the hills: 17km (10.5 miles), 6.5hrs; ascent/descent 580m
    For a more strenuous walk – and to enjoy far-reaching views over the surrounding heather-clad hills – this second option initially takes you up through Glentress Forest, where ospreys and buzzards nest above Iron Age hillforts and well-signed mountain bike trails. After passing the tree-clad summit of Caresman Hill, you emerge onto open moorland with views opening up in all directions. From here, you follow a wall along a line of undulating hills (with some steep sections) all the way to the last hill, Pen Lee, which commands fine views along the Tweed Valley and down into Innerleithen. The wall makes for easy navigation, even in poor weather, but it’s the views that make this invigorating walk worth all the effort.

    Although firmly off the tourist trail, unassuming Innerleithen repays those who do take a closer look: as well as its vibrant high street, the town is home to St. Ronan’s Border Games – Scotland’s oldest organised sports meeting, which is held over ten days each July. Find out more on the town’s history walk (allow 1.5hrs), which pinpoints the key sights, including the gem of printing history that is Robert Smail’s Printing Works; St. Ronan’s Wells – a 19th-century pavilion where Victorian tourists came to bathe; and the Iron-Age hillfort of Pirn Hill with its contemporary carved cairns and outstanding vistas over the patchwork countryside.
    Glorious river views
    The community woodland between Peebles and Innerleithen
    Beside the River Tweed: 12.5km
    Over the Hills: 17km
  • Choice of routes from Innerleithen: 9.5 to 15.5km (6 to 9.5 miles)

    Circular route via Traquair House: 10.5km (6.5 miles), 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 100m
    The first of today’s options follows the widening Tweed to Walkerburn, passing the pools of the famous Upper Caberston salmon fishing beat en route. Crossing the river, your route now loops back upstream – where ospreys are known to hunt – to reach Traquair House, a large stately home which claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited house in Scotland. Traquair began life in 1107 as a royal hunting lodge, before becoming the seat of the Lairds of Traquair at the close of the 15th century. The family were staunch Catholics at a time when it was perilous to be so – you can still see the secret passageway built as a priests’ escape route – as well as strong supporters of their royal cousins, sheltering Mary Queen of Scots and hosting Bonnie Prince Charlie. Today, Traquair is also noted for its award-winning brewery and extensive hedged maze.

    Circular route via the Southern Upland Way: 15.5km (9.5 miles), 6hrs; ascent/descent 330m
    For a longer walk which still visits Traquair, we recommend heading to Walkerburn as above, then taking a higher path through deep forests to reach the Southern Upland Way. This long-distance walking trail is Scotland’s only official coast-to-coast route, and the section you follow is typically scenic, offering expansive panoramas as it descends to Traquair House.

    Circular route via Lee Pen: 9.5km (6 miles), 4hrs; ascent/descent 340m
    A third, more challenging option initially takes you west along the riverbank, before swinging away uphill. Walking between trees, you ascend Caerlee Hill, where the remains of an Iron-Age hill fort are still visible and from where you can continue climbing to reach the rocky, heather-clad summit of Lee Pen. At 502 metres, the views are fabulous: the Moorfoot Hills lie to the north with the Tweed Valley unfolding southwards in all its pastoral glory.
    Gentle riverside walking
    Circular route via Traquair House: 10.5km
    Approaching Traquair on the Southern Upland Way
    Circular route via the Southern Upland Way: 15.5km
    Views from Lee Pen
    Circular route via Lee Pen: 9.5km
 

Accommodation

You will enjoy generous hosting and quality cuisine at both of our charming bases.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 4 nights: 01 March 2021 - 31 October 2021 & 01 March 2022 - 31 October 2022

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 Mar - 30 Apr 2021 £375 £150
    1 May - 30 Sep 2021 £430 £165
    1 - 27 Oct 2021 £395 £160
    1 Mar - 30 Apr 2022 £395 £160
    1 May - 30 Sep 2022 £445 £175
    1 - 27 Oct 2022 £415 £170
    3rd & 4th person discount -£15
    Single traveller supplement £15
    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, and any connecting travel detailed below.

    Deduct £28pp in 2021; £30pp in 2022 if arriving at Caddon View on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday (restaurant closed)

    Included travel: transfer Innerleithen-Peebles (if driving)

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    The Tontine Hotel, Peebles
    Classic: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2021 £10
    Classic: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £12
    Caddon View, Innerleithen
    Superior: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    Superior: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £15

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Caddon View, Innerleithen (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Mar - 31 Oct 2021 £50 £115
    01 Mar - 31 Oct 2022 £52 £120
  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options via Tweedbank

    Outward route Price per person Latest arrival time
    taxi Tweedbank station to hotel (0h40) £15 in 2021; £16 in 2022 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest departure time
    taxi hotel to Tweedbank station (0h30) £10 in 2021; £12 in 2022 flexible

    Connecting travel options via Edinburgh

    Outward route Price per person Latest arrival time
    taxi Edinburgh airport to hotel (0h50) £20 in 2021; £22 in 2022 flexible
    taxi Edinburgh Waverley station to hotel (1h15) £20 in 2021; £22 in 2022 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest departure time
    taxi hotel to Tweedbank station (0h30), rail Tweedbank to Edinburgh Waverley (1hr, pay locally) £10 in 2021; £12 in 2022 flexible
    taxi hotel to Tweedbank station (0h30), rail Tweedbank to Edinburgh Waverley (1hr, pay locally), taxi Edinburgh Waverley to city centre (0h15, pay locally) £10 in 2021; £12 in 2022 flexible
What is included
  • 4 nights
  • 2 dinners
    4 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • taxi to collect car (if driving)
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • If your holiday plans go awry because of Coronavirus, rest assured that we’ll do right by you. Since the start of the pandemic, our flexible booking policy and prompt issuing of refunds to customers who prefer not to defer their holiday have earned us high praise in the national press.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – walking holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety, not least taking tests before and after your holiday for many destinations.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
    Entry requirements for non-UK destinations & for re-entering the UK >
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • Yes, absolutely. Over the years, we have arranged a great many walking holidays in the UK for customers living in the USA, Canada, Australia and beyond.

    If you've never travelled with us before, it's worth reading the web pages which explain how we can cater for customers who live outside the UK. The main thing to bear in mind is that our tour operator's licence doesn't allow us to book flights that originate outside the UK, and nor are we able to book rail travel in the UK, so we can't make travel arrangements for you, other than pre-arranging taxis between the local railway station and the accommodation – see the ‘prices & travel’ section for the options available.

    For practical information about travelling to the UK, see the 'what do I need to know about travelling to England, Scotland and Wales?' question.
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to take out our recommended travel insurance policy (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
  • Unfortunately not. The Inntravel team includes many dog owners, but the extra considerations – such as whether taxi firms accept dogs for transfers to the start of walks, whether routes cross private land on which dogs are not allowed, and proximity to a vet’s – would add another layer of complexity to what are already quite complex holidays.
  • As a minimum, you will need a passport to enter the UK; requirements vary according to your nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. You’ll need to check requirements on the website of your own country’s government or that of the British government. Our essential travel information page provides links to websites where you can find out about the applicable requirements, along with general official travel advice.
     
    English is the most widely spoken of several official languages; in Wales, for example, Welsh has equal status. The currency is the British pound (Scotland issues its own bank notes, but Bank of England notes can be used in Scotland and vice versa). The UK follows Greenwich Mean Time during autumn and winter, but switches to British Summer Time (GMT + 1) from late March until late October.
Last fetch time is : 9/28/2021 6:11:05 PM