20th October 2020

With many of us planning to holiday on our home turf this year, we share inspiration for your staycation in Scotland. Alongwith VisitScotland, we have handpicked some of the best things to see and do in the Scottish Borders and near Abbotsford - no matter what type of staycation you’re looking for.

As part of your planning and before setting off, we encourage you to check the latest guidelines and restrictions in Scotland.

For the landmark enthusiast

If you’re a fan of history and someone who loves to step back in time, you’ve come to the right place. Abbotsford, once the home of famous novelist Sir Walter Scott, is a treasure trove of stunning artefacts, Baronial architecture and intriguing objects that inspired Scott’s writing.

Why not spend the day exploring Abbotsford’s house, gardens, exhibition, shop and cafe? Be in awe of the library room, that contains Scott’s lifelong collection of books and rare manuscripts. Then, pay a visit to his private study and see the desk where he penned his later novels. Once you’ve explored the secrets of the house, head outside and walk through the stunning grounds or pay a visit to the historic chapel, where St John Henry Newman celebrated Mass and his vestments are on display...

Want to stay a bit longer? Book a stay at the Hope Scott Wing and experience our luxurious self-catering accommodation. We’d be delighted to arrange a bespoke itinerary to suit your needs, such as a banquet in Scott’s dining room or guided tours.

For the curious traveller

The rolling landscape of the Scottish Borders makes it the perfect place to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Curious travellers can explore the many walking trails to their heart’s content, discovering new places and hidden gems along the way. The John Buchan Way, named after prolific writer John Buchan (1875 – 1940), is a 13-mile walking route that passes through the valleys of Tweeddale and towns including Melrose, Peebles, Kelso and Coldstream. As well as historic towns, you’ll pass the ancient Stobo Kirk - a church dating back to the 13th century. You can follow as much or as little of the route as you want, enjoying the sights and points of interest along the way.

For the adventure seeker

Looking for adventurous things to do in the Scottish Borders? No adventure-filled holiday in Scotland is complete without a thrilling visit to Glentress Forest near Peebles.

Got a thirst for adrenaline-pumping activities? Glentress is known for having over 50 miles of mountain biking trails. You don’t have to be an experienced mountain biker to enjoy the ride, there are routes to suit all ages and abilities.

Fancy getting a treetop view of the forest? Visit Go Ape Peebles! Soar high above the trees on the zip-wire and master the challenging obstacle course. You’re guaranteed a fun and exhilarating experience for all the family, just don’t look down if you’re scared of heights.

Prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground? The forest boasts five scenic walking trails where visitors can enjoy spotting the local wildlife and following in the historic footsteps of Iron Age dwellers.

For food-loving culturalists

The Scottish Borders is home to a stunning natural larder, meaning the restaurants and eateries are brimming with fresh, local produce. There are many food and drink experiences to choose from, but here are just a few of our favourites.

Our very own Ochiltree's Cafe in the grounds of Abbotsford is a must-visit. Made with only the freshest ingredients, our modern Scottish cuisine ranges from light lunch to stylish afternoon tea.

Want to stock up on local produce? Be sure to visit one of the Borders' farmer markets.

One of the larger markets is held on the fourth Saturday of the month in Kelso town square. You’ll find a range of local producers selling traditional cheese, milk, poultry, wild game, organic meat, smoked fish, jam, honey and much more. There are also markets held in Selkirk, Jedburgh, and Peebles - find out more here.

Fancy a tipple? Visit The Borders Distillery in Hawick, which prides itself on bringing whisky-making back to the area. You can enjoy a tour of the distillery, where you’ll be guided by the makers themself before finishing up with a tasting session in the distillery bar.

Or, if you have the kids in tow, take a trip to Border Berries near Kelso, and pick your own farm full of fresh Scottish berries. We’re sure you’ll agree that everything tastes better when picked by your own hand! Why not make your own traditional Scottish Cranachan, or try your hand at making jam?

For the outdoor lover

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’re in luck! Abbotsford's estate is ideally placed on the banks of the River Tweed and surrounded by stunning open landscapes. Get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy the peace and tranquility that the Scottish Borders offers. How about taking to the Eildon Hills to enjoy the exceptional scenery? The triple peaks of the Eildon Hills are the most distinctive single landmark in the Scottish Borders. You can even head to Scott’s view, to take in one of Sir Walter Scott’s favourite views of the River Tweed and Eildon Hills. It is said that the horse pulling the hearse that was taking him to his final resting place at Dryburgh Abbey stopped at this spot.

Ready for a staycation to remember? Plan your visit with us now.