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The Tweed & the Scottish Borders

Tradition and beauty in the Lowlands
 
The hills and valleys of the Borders have always fired the passions – inspiring both bitter battles and great literary works. Our relaxed hotel-to-hotel walk explores the heart of this now tranquil region, revealing romantic ruins, timeless towns and famous Abbotsford – home of Sir Walter Scott.
The Tweed & the Scottish Borders. 6 nights
The Tweed & the Scottish Borders. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Scottish Borders

Dark, tumbling and bristling with salmon, the waters of the Tweed seam through the Scottish Borders, twisting through a neatly ordered patchwork of water-fed valleys, sheep-grazed pastures and low, rolling hills. Dippers and goosanders frequent the riverbank, and it’s not uncommon to glimpse ospreys hunting nearby or to catch the striking flash of a kingfisher.

Bucolic as they are today, it’s hard to believe that centuries ago these benign borderlands were the bitterest of battlegrounds, scene of ceaseless skirmishing between England and Scotland and home to the plundering Border ‘reivers’. As you walk, you’ll soon discover traces of this turbulent past: the many fortified tower houses that were built to keep out the raiders; and magnificent Melrose Abbey, scarred by the attacks of an English king.
And though they may lack the plunging drama of the Highlands, the understated Borders’ landscapes have inspired many an artist, including The Thirty-Nine Steps author, John Buchan, and the great Sir Walter Scott, who harboured a life-long love of Border history and folklore. Scott made his home in the region, and imposing Abbotsford with its splendid formal gardens is just one of the must-see sights on this holiday. Another is Traquair House, Scotland’s oldest inhabited home and one-time refuge of Mary Queen of Scots, while the site of the Roman fort complex of Trimontium is remarkable as much for its scope as its spectacular setting amid the Eildon Hills.

Our relaxed routes make occasional use of the long-distance trails which criss-cross the area and otherwise follow the natural course of the Tweed as it winds its way downstream through restful countryside, unassuming Peebles and Innerleithen, eventually reaching the classic Border town of Melrose. Each location is steeped in local history, with Innerleithen’s annual games the oldest in Scotland, and Peebles and Melrose continuing the medieval tradition of ‘Riding the Marches’, setting out together on horseback to survey their historic boundaries. The towns may be distinct in character, but all three pride themselves on their warm hospitality, which you will experience first-hand at each of our chosen hotels.
 

Book now for 2021

Our flexible booking arrangements, commitment to safety and financial protection mean that you can book with confidence. We are also keeping our prices the same next year, so you can book for summer 2021 at 2020 prices.

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

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.
    Circular route from Peebles: 12.5km
    St Andrew's Tower
  • 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 next two nights.

    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.
    Peebles to Innerleithen: 12.5km
    Glorious river views
  • Choice of routes from Innerleithen: 9.5 to 15.5km (6-9.5 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.
    Circular route via Traquair House: 10.5km
    Gentle riverside walking
    Circular route via the Southern Upland Way: 15.5km
    Approaching Traquair on the Southern Upland Way
    Circular route via Lee Pen: 9.5km
    Views from Lee Pen
  • Innerleithen to Melrose: 12km (7.5 miles), 4hrs; ascent 80m/descent 100m
    Today’s walk begins with a short taxi transfer to the historic, three-arch Yair Bridge, from where you follow the Tweed east, progressing past fly fishermen seeking that elusive salmon and through landscapes which are increasingly arable. At the main road bridge, opt to detour to Abbotsford (add 1.2km/30 mins), home of Sir Walter Scott and one of the most famous houses in the world, or save your visit until the following day and continue along the flower-strewn riverbank to Melrose, at one point crossing over the Chain Bridge, an impressive suspension footbridge built in 1826.

    Before checking into your hotel – the centrally located Burt’s, where you stay two nights – we highly recommend visiting Melrose Abbey. This magnificent monastic ruin dates from the 12th century, though most of the superb carvings you see today, from angels and demons to a pig playing the bagpipes, were installed after 1385, the year the abbey suffered a devasting attack from England’s Richard II. As well as its carvings, the abbey is famed as the burial place of the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce, and for its two adjacent gardens – Priorwood, where 70 varieties of heritage apples are grown, and Harmony, a pristine walled garden with colourful flowerbeds, wide lawns and a lovely setting beneath the Eildon Hills.
    Innerleithen to Melrose: 12km
    Abbotsford House
  • Choice of routes from Melrose: 11km to 14km (7 to 9 miles)

    Circular route via Trimontium and the Eildon Hills: 11km (7 miles), 4hrs; ascent/descent 185m
    Framed by the Eildon Hills and their distinctive peaks, the town of Melrose is set amid some of the most glorious scenery of the Scottish Borders. Our first route offers the option to climb two of these heather-clad hills (add 3km/1.5hrs), after first following the valley to Newstead, believed to be Scotland’s oldest inhabited village. Other highlights include a visit to the site of the remarkable Roman fort complex of Trimontium; to Leaderfoot Viaduct, which majestically spans the Tweed; and to the Old Melrose Tea Room, where you can browse antiques and enjoy a tasty homemade lunch. The final section of the route merges with St. Cuthbert’s Way, the 62-mile-long trail which begins in Melrose and culminates on the Northumberland Coast at Lindisfarne.

    Circular route via Abbotsford: 11.5km (7 miles), 4hrs; ascent/descent 100m
    Alternatively, if you didn’t visit Abbotsford on the previous day’s walk, it’s well worth calling there today. Our route will take you alongside the river and through the village of Tweedbank, southern terminus of the recently reinstated and very scenic Borders railway line, which connects the region with Edinburgh Waverley. Abbotsford is famous the world over as the home of prolific Scots author Sir Walter Scott, who, through his works, almost single-handedly shaped the image of modern Scotland. The house is the manifestation of his literary success, as well as the prototype of Scottish Baronial architecture, with its striking clusters of turrets and gables. Inside, you will find a wealth of Scott memorabilia, and can visit the study where he penned some of his greatest works. The gardens are superb, too, and include a beautiful walled section, extensive woodland and a very good café.

    Whichever walk you choose, be sure to spend some time exploring Melrose itself – this pretty town is well known for its fine array of independent shops. Should you wish, there is a 3.5-kilometre town trail to follow, which takes in many of the sites described above, including the historic abbey, chain suspension bridge and delightful Harmony Gardens.
    Circular route via Trimontium and the Eildon Hills: 11km
    Heather-clad hills
    Circular route via Abbotsford: 11.5km
    Melrose's bucolic surroundings
 

Accommodation

Your three excellent hotels each have a long heritage, as well as a shared commitment to personal service and great cuisine.

Occasionally, due to availability, we may offer an alternative hotel, as shown below. You will be informed of any change to the usual hotel (along with any price implication) prior to us confirming your holiday to you.

Whichever Melrose hotel you stay in, we recommend an extra night in this pretty town: to enjoy both of our recommended routes; pay a longer visit to Walter Scott’s home, Abbotsford; or take a day trip to Edinburgh by train.
 

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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  • 6 nights: 15 September 2020 - 31 October 2020 & 01 March 2021 - 31 October 2021

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

    Starting Price Single room
    15 - 30 Sep 2020 £695 £210
    1 - 25 Oct 2020 £640 £190
    1 - 31 Mar 2021 £620 £190
    1 - 30 Apr 2021 £640 £190
    1 - 31 May 2021 £675 £205
    1 Jun - 30 Sep 2021 £695 £210
    1 - 25 Oct 2021 £640 £190
    3rd & 4th person discount -£35
    Single traveller supplement £35

    Please note: dogs are not permitted on Inntravel holidays

    Deduct £28pp if staying at Caddon View on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday (restaurant closed)

    Included travel: transfer Melrose-Peebles to collect car OR from/to Tweedbank railway station
    For more details, and for options from/to Edinburgh, please see 'Connecting Travel' below

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    The Tontine Hotel, Peebles
    Classic: 15 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £10
    Classic: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2021 £10
    Caddon View, Innerleithen
    Superior: 15 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £14
    Superior: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2021 £14
    Burt's Hotel, Melrose
    Superior: 15 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £6
    Superior: 01 Mar - 31 Oct 2021 £6

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

    Caddon View, Innerleithen (B&B) Double room Single room
    15 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £50 £115
    01 Mar - 31 Oct 2021 £50 £115
    Burt's Hotel, Melrose (B&B) Double room Single room
    15 Sep - 31 Oct 2020 £92 £184
    01 Mar - 31 Oct 2021 £92 £184
  • 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 (0h30) included flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest departure time
    taxi hotel to Tweedbank station (0h10) included flexible

    Connecting travel options via Edinburgh

    Outward route Price per person Latest arrival time
    taxi Edinburgh airport to hotel (0h50) £12 flexible
    taxi Edinburgh Waverley station to hotel (1h15) £12 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest departure time
    taxi hotel to Edinburgh airport (1h) £32 flexible
    taxi hotel to Edinburgh Waverley station (1h45) £32 flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 3 dinners
    6 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • taxi to/from local railway station or to collect car
  • transfer on day 4
 
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.
  • 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.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
  • 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, 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 options’ section for the options available.

    As regards entry requirements, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. Our essential travel information page provides links to websites where you can find out about the applicable requirements, along with general official travel advice.
  • 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 Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for residents of the UK and Europe, but not Switzerland), 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.
Last fetch time is : 12/5/2020 8:38:44 AM