Bag the Big Houses in the Scottish Borders

16th Apr 2019

1c1de6120c8bac8dae7cb8d9f7e62058To mark the release of a new updated illustrative map of the Big Houses in the Scottish Borders, a new ‘Bag the Big Houses’ scheme is being launched for visitors.

The Big Houses in the Scottish Borders Group, which is made up of 11 of the region’s greatest historic homes and castles, is launching this scheme to encourage visitors to enjoy several properties and extend their time in the area. A stamp will be issued at each house and once the visitor has collected at least six then they can collect an exclusive Big Houses tote bag as a souvenir of their time in the Borders. It is hoped that this will encourage visitors to see a wider range of the properties and increase visitor numbers at each of the Houses.

The map was initially produced by the Group in 2017 to highlight their stunning properties and promote what the region has to offer. The updated map now includes: Traquair, Abbotsford, Thirlestane Castle, Floors Castle, Gunsgreen House, Bowhill House and Grounds, Mellerstain House, Monteviot House, Neidpath Castle, Paxton House and Manderston. An online version is available at

The map has been designed by Galashiels graphic designer, Winnie Stewart, and illustrator, Diane Lumley, also from the Scottish Borders. It combines illustrations of the grand houses and castles with a custom scale map of the region showing exact locations of each house, road numbers, the Borders railway and stations, cycle and footpaths and other places of interest. It also includes visitor information for each of the houses and castles featured.

The Big Houses in the Scottish Borders is a non-profit organisation that was formed in 2012, to enable these visitor attractions to work collaboratively and to share ideas, fundraising opportunities and marketing activity.

Gillian Steele, Chair of the group said: “We know that we have a stunning collection of properties for visitors to experience across the Scottish Borders and we want to encourage people to visit as many as they can, and spend more time here in the beautiful Scottish Borders. We hope it won’t be long before we are celebrating issuing the first of our unique tote bags.”

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Paula Ward said: “This is an exciting project bringing together all of these beautiful buildings in the Scottish Borders. The launch of this new initiative is a great example of attractions working together to attract more visitors to delve into the past and discover some of the hidden gems and fascinating stories that the Scottish Borders is famous for. I hope visitors from near and far will be encouraged to ‘bag’ this unique souvenir of their trip to the region.”

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